Taking the time to write out what I have learned at one job as I roll into the next job, or even just reflecting on the things I’m learning in my current job–this has been a great exercise for me over the years.
Here are #6-10 on things I learned that have helped me to be effective at marketing (#6-10 here)–
6. No is also a powerful word: Pastors also have the challenge to help people know how to say, “No.” No to the cultural message that “you can have whatever you want.” No to the “new car purchase that buries you deeper in debt and anxiety.”
Marketing—true marketing—doesn’t appeal to the lowest view of human desire, but to the higher view of the human person. It is aspirational and lends a helping hand to help people by addressing their fears and worries, for example.
Especially in my work at a financial advisory firm, we develop marketing messages that develop wisdom, and don’t play on people’s greed to earn better returns than our competitors.
Instead we tell our clients, “No, no one can guarantee you higher returns. But we can help you choose the right strategy that is aligned to your goals.” No is powerful and it is a key to marketing with integrity.
7. Your job is an assignment, not your identity: Pastors have to resist the challenge to see themselves defined by the work they do, that their identify as a person is more than their job. Frankly, we all do well to see ourselves first as a brother or sister, son or daughter, husband or wife, friend, etc, than by our role and title at work.
How much easier it is to do marketing when I don’t wrap my identity up in being the VP of Marketing at a successful firm.
8. Servant leadership is the best approach: As a pastor, I discovered Robert Greenleaf’s Servant as Leader essay. And later (like many of you) I found wisdom in Jim Collins’ Level 5 leader profile, a modern version of Greenleaf’s leader.
As I transitioned eventually from pastor, eventually to head of marketing positions in the for-profit world, I discovered that the servant leader model is just as powerful as in the church and non-profit setting. These servant leader principles have guided my approach in leading marketing teams: listening, empathy, awareness, stewardship, commitment to the growth of people, building community, etc. I look for leadership teams who are practicing this approach, or who at least are open to this specific leadership model.
9. Core values are the language of the heart: As a pastor, the Bible provides a grid for core values, and importantly it’s the living out of those core values that is the heart of the matter. From this experience, I have learned that people need to live for a higher purpose than just their paycheck. What specifically is that higher purpose?
That’s where transcendent notions become a part of each day: integrity, service excellence, love, freedom, responsibility, learning, collaboration, sharing, giving, courage, innovation, diversity, humility, and many other possibilities.
Look closely at your organization’s DNA–you’ll see your core values embedded right there.
10. It’s not about me: As a pastor, I knew it wasn’t about me. God’s agenda, the people’s needs and hopes and dreams–that part was easy. Well, maybe not easy, but at least straightforward. The tough part was in keeping an eye on my motivations. Self awareness is what the leadership and management gurus call it.
I call it the “It’s-not-about-you” principle of leadership. In this environment, good things grow: honesty, authenticity, kindness, generosity, friendship, and…yep, profit. Self awareness and humility are also good for the bottom line.