How Will You Use Yours To Transform the World?
As a marketplace leader, you have power, authority and influence. Recently I enjoyed a fascinating discussion with a tremendous Christian leader on this topic. She’s not an ordained pastor in charge of an organized church. She’s a Christ follower, who was leading a secular organization much like you and I. She was responsible for 1,500 people, so she had ample opportunity to explore the domains of power, authority and influence.
Early in our conversation she shared a concept with massive implications for Christian business leaders. She said, “When I accepted leadership over the organization, I asked for God’s guidance. I clearly heard Him say: ‘Wherever you have physical authority, you also have spiritual authority.’ So I began to exercise my God-given spiritual authority over everything I was in charge of, and it transformed every aspect of our operation.”
How about YOU? Where do you have physical authority? Are you fully exercising your spiritual authority in those domains as well?
Before we explore some thoughts on how you might fully exercise spiritual authority in your spheres of leadership, let’s clarify three interrelated and often confused terms - power, authority and influence.
• Power. Power is the capacity to act or to produce an effect. It’s the energized ability to achieve change and generate results. It’s the potential to extend, exert or enforce our will and desires over other people, our surroundings and ourselves. Power can be used properly for good and desirable purposes, or improperly for evil. Power can be applied and exercised gently and gracefully, or forcefully and abruptly.
Understanding where you have power, the extent of that power and where you don’t have power is an essential leadership consideration. This can eliminate much wasted energy, emotion and frustration. Take a minute and make note of areas you have power and where you don’t. Evaluate why that’s the case.
Since power is understood as the capacity to produce an effect, it is at the core of authority and influence.
• Authority. Authority is a granted right to enforce laws, exact obedience, command, determine or judge. “Author” is the root word, so authority flows from a declarative and definitive word that legitimizes and provides for the use of power.
God gave Jesus all authority, and Jesus delegated His authority on earth to you and me. Jesus specifically said: “I have been given all authority in heaven and on earth. Whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.”
Authority is not only delegated and granted downward, it is also granted upward. Followers choose to follow, or not. Sometimes they choose to follow grudgingly, unwillingly and fearfully because of the power held by the leader. Sometimes they choose not to obey or follow the leader and are willing to risk the consequences.
Sometimes they grant authority, obey and follow out of respect for the position the leader holds. Sometimes they follow because of the leader’s influence.
Authority can be rightfully exercised in any of these situations. Where do you have authority? What is the source of your authority in each area where you lead? In what parts of your life don’t you have much or any authority?
Power-based and position-based leadership may have their time and purpose, but they are not sustainable long-term approaches. Used consistently, these approaches result in covert and overt resistance. Eventually, rebellion can be expected. In your efforts to lead and to produce change, where are you defaulting too frequently to power and position-
• Influence. Influence is the power to have an effect, either directly or indirectly, on someone or something based on the leader’s character, prestige, capabilities and trustworthiness. People are compelled, induced or persuaded to follow, because they trust the leader and want to follow, not because they are commanded to obey. They believe that following will produce positive and attractive outcomes.
Discipleship, reconciliation, mediation, intercession, and Great Commission initiatives are leadership acts that all require the exercise of influence.
Most people would probably agree that leading through influence is the highest and most desirable form of leadership. It’s the most advanced evidence of true power...but it’s also the most challenging way to lead. Where are you influential, and why do people follow you in this domain? In what areas is your influence weak?
Your Spiritual Authority. Understanding and mastering the interworking of power, authority and influence is critical for all leaders. For a moment, let’s take a closer look at authority, specifically the spiritual authority you’ve been granted as a Christ follower - spiritual authority to teach the Truth, to bring people to Christ, to teach them how to follow Him, and to baptize them in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
You’ve been authorized to heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse disease and drive out demons in Jesus’ name. You’ve been authorized to engage in spiritual battles against the dark powers of the world and against the spiritual forces of evil. And you’ve been given the power to do all this through Christ’s delegated authority and the gift of the Holy Spirit.
You also have physical authority in the workplace that was delegated, granted and made possible by God. At this point, many business owners get their feathers ruffled. They say something like, “Wait a minute. It’s my talent and skill that made this business possible. I did it.” But truth is found in Deuteronomy 8: “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”
Where you have physical authority, you also have spiritual authority. With authority comes power, opportunity and responsibility. In other words, much is expected of those who have been given much.
Here’s the question again: In the places you hold physical authority (home, business, community, church, and school), are you fully exercising your spiritual authority? Beyond what you may currently be doing, what else is possible? What else might be necessary, and even imperative?
As you reflect on this, the implications are enormous. Let’s look at just one aspect of exercising your spiritual authority: getting rid of evil spirits; commanding them in the name of Jesus to vacate the spaces over which you have authority. About now, many people will balk. They’ll say, “Evil spirits? That’s just weird and crazy talk. It’s not even an appropriate “business” topic. Besides, there are no evil spirits. That’s just an irrelevant old Bible myth.”
But consider this: In any place where you have leadership and physical authority (family, business, community, church), do you ever encounter a spirit of dissention? A spirit of disunity? Of confusion? Of greed? Of envy? Of fear? Of hatred? Of pride? Of bitterness? Of gossip? Of criticism or condemnation? Of selfishness? Are those things consistent with the character and spirit of God? No. Are they desirable in the domains over which you have authority? No. Thus, they are not “good” spirits, they are “evil” spirits.
Not everyone will agree. It’s easy to get hung up on terminology. It’s tempting to argue religious technicalities. Some will deny their authority so they can avoid the corresponding responsibility. Meanwhile, spirits of dissension and confusion reign, and the rest of the “spirits” have a field day. But you are the leader. You decide. Do you want this negative spiritual energy in your space or not? How long will you continue to tolerate it?
What if you went for it and exercised your spiritual authority right now, came against things that are not consistent with the character of God and dispelled them in the name of Jesus? You can cleanse your mental, physical and spirtual environment, cleanse your negotiations, cleanse your sales and marketing, cleanse your communications, cleanse your business dealings, and cleanse your relationships. But here’s the true issue: Are you willing?
You have the authority and Holy Spirit power to do so. You don’t ask or beg evil spirits to leave. You don’t “influence” evil spirits to leave. You command them to leave. They don’t go willingly. They go because they must go, because they are under Jesus’ authority. When you and I do this, everything gets better. When we effectively exercise our spiritual authority in the places where we have physical authority, we transform our world.
Eight Defensive Strategies to Protect Your Business and Family From Current Marketplace Challenges.
Whatever we call it: a war, a battle, a storm, a crisis, a challenge, a purging, a pruning, or a season of trial, as business owners we are clearly in an extremely difficult time, facing severe challenges on multiple fronts: health concerns, government restrictions, economic depression and social division. It’s likely we’re going to be dealing with these challenges for a long time, perhaps for years. So, for the purposes of this article, let’s call this a war. It’s not a skirmish. It’s not a scuffle. It’s not a battle. It’s a war on four fronts that is going to take an extended period to conclude. All of us will take hits and experience losses.
Many people are still shell-shocked and immobilized by all that has happened so rapidly and circumstances that continually change on a daily basis. Regardless, if you haven’t felt the sting of battle yet, get ready. You will. No one is exempt, because we are in the early stages of a war that is going to be very bloody.
Some of you may not yet feel like you’re in combat. Maybe you had a backlog of orders, or you were in a business the government deemed essential, or like some of my clients, you’re in a business that is in hot demand right now, like information technologies.
Some of you may not agree that we are in a war. Complacency is an issue. In the moment, it’s comfortable there on the couch. People are living in denial everwhere, but it doesn’t change hard realities.
Think back to the not so distant past. Remember February 2020? That was just a few months ago. If you’re like me and most of my clients, you had the best year ever in 2019 and you entered 2020 strong and full of confidence. Many of us had our best month EVER in February 2020. Possibly you did too. In any event, I bet you were feeling very optimistic earlier this year.
Then we hit the wall. And everything changed. Now we are in a war. It’s a fight for your business, for the livelihoods of your employees, and for the well-being of the customers you serve. It’s a fight for your home and family…and yes, we are in a war for our country and for the principles on which it was formed.
That does not mean we should panic. It does not mean we should retreat or give up. It does not mean we should even be in a bad mood. We have been in training all our lives for a time like this. Extreme levels of leadership are required of each of us. We are the generals on our own battlefields. In any war, there are two main things for generals to attend to: Defense and Offense. Defense is required because we must be able to withstand the inevitable attacks in order to fight another day.
Your Defensive Strategy. For any situation in which you lead (family, business, church, nonprofit, school), you need a defensive strategy. It’s a bit like the airline instructions: “In the event of loss of air pressure, put on your own oxygen mask first; then you can attend to the needs of others.” So, let’s systematically note each of the defensive elements, specifically for your household and your business for you to consider in building your strategy.
You may or may not have had military training. Regardless, the defensive strategies of military units are worthy of consideration and adaptation for your personal and business situation.
As an ex-Army Ranger Captain, I’m able to bring a unique perspective, now as a business leader, to the topic of personal and business defensive strategies, which can’t be based just on hoping things will turn out alright, any more than that would be a sound military strategy.
Hope is Not a Strategy. The Art of War, written about 7,000 years ago, is perhaps the world’s finest treatise on military operations. It’s author, Sun Tzu wrote:
“Thus we may know that there are five essentials for victory: (1) He will win who knows when to fight and when not to fight. (2) He will win who knows how to handle both superior and inferior forces. (3) He will win whose army is animated by the same spirit throughout all its ranks. (4) He will win who, prepared himself, waits to take the enemy unprepared. (5) He will win who has military capacity and is not interfered with by the sovereign."
"Hence the saying: If you know the enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles. If you know yourself but not the enemy, for every victory gained you will also suffer a defeat. If you know neither the enemy nor yourself, you will succumb in every battle.”
The main elements of a good defense are: intelligence, risk assessment, vigilance, fortification, logistics, reinforcements, a response plan and a fallback plan. Let’s briefly look at each in turn and begin the evaluation of your personal and business situation.
1. Battlefield Intelligence. The word “intelligence” in this context does not refer to degrees of smartness. Military intelligence relates to the battlefield and enemy information collected, upon which leaders can make decisions. The Art of War, puts great emphasis on strategy: “Now the general who wins a battle makes many calculations before the battle is fought. The general who loses a battle makes but few calculations beforehand.” Ask yourself, “What do I need to know protect my household and business?”
2. Risk Assessment. Risk assessment involves four components: Identification, Probability, Magnitude and Response. Ask yourself, “What risks am I facing, and what is my plan to deal with them?”
3. Vigilance (keeping watch). Every good defensive position involves keeping watch for potential enemies and threats. What tools will you use and what systems will you put in place to alert you to potential problems?
4. Fortification (building protective boundaries). Although it’s unlikely you’ll be sandbagging your office and setting claymore mines in the parking lot, you can, and should put protective boundaries and fortifications in place to defend against the things that might harm your family or business. What fortifications do you have?
5. Logistical Support (staying supplied for the battle). There’s an old saying that an army runs on its stomach. Build stockpiles for times of shortage. Establish your sources for the supplies you’ll need to assure you can care for your family and keep your business running, no matter what.
6. Reinforcements (allies to come to your assistance). One of the key considerations in setting up a defensive military position is lining up reinforcements in advance. Where can you get reinforcements and allies to support your household and your business? Who can you reinforce?
7. Response Plan. When attacked, our options are limited. You can Fight, Flee, Freeze, Negotiate, or Surrender. That’s about it. Freezing and Surrendering are the responses of the unprepared. So, when your home or business is threatened, how will you respond?
8. Fall-Back Plan. Sometimes even the strongest position gets overrun. Sometimes even the best prepared team is overpowered. Sometimes you lose. That’s life and war. There may come a time when it happens to you…a time when the forces arrayed against you are simply too strong to withstand. There are many households and businesses in that position right now. Chaotic, terror-filled retreats rarely turn out well. Prepare now. What is your fall-back plan?
Conclusion. Businesses and families are in a season of unprecedented “attack.” The health, economic, social and governmental challenges are serious and unpredictable enough that unless leaders are well prepared, their businesses can be crushed, and their families broken. Don’t be a casualty. Stay alive to fight another day. Take time to think through the eight points above and set sound strategies in place to protect yourself and those you lead and care for.
Michael Sipe is an ex-Army Ranger Captain, black belt martial artist, best selling author, mergers and acquisitions advisor, and executive coach to top CEOs and business owners. Learn more and view the full Defensive Strategies webinar at: www.MichaelKSipe.com
The AVADA Blog provides real-world insights into issues of faith in the marketplace. Many are derived from discussions in 10x Catalyst Groups, which are comprised of Christian CEOs and entrepreneurs. Please check out a past blog or two and if you find the content relevant to your business and faith, please subscribe on the Contact Page. Contact