Inc.'s editor-in-chief reviews a new management book and offers comments on a certain style of management.
When business books appear featuring the managerial wisdom of Winnie the Pooh, Don Shula, and Star Trek captain Jean-Luc Picard, is it any surprise that readers would look to the Lord for salvation? Now, hot on the heels of Jesus, CEO, comes The Management Methods of Jesus, by Bob Briner (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1996). It can be summed up in two words: miraculously lame. Perusing this thin volume, I find it hard to say which body of thought is more trivialized, religious thinking or managerial know-how. Is Briner serious when he speculates about how the Lord would deal with issues of telephone etiquette? "Nowhere . . . do we find Jesus telling someone to wait. He never put anyone on hold."
Don't get me wrong. Some CEOs do have Jesus-like attributes: they spend a lot of time on the "vision thing," believe God talks directly to them, and like to travel with an entourage. But, speaking as a Christian, I have to say that Jesus himself would have made a terrible CEO. For one thing, he never grasped the concept of sales; he insisted on giving everything away. He was lousy at dealing with capital markets. And he refused to do anything until he checked with a higher authority. On the other hand, he could never be accused of short-term thinking.