If you want success, look at those who have succeeded. Unlike other churches, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' leadership doesn't come through the ranks of full time clergy. There are no paid local leaders, so church leaders are also leaders in business, education, military, and all other walks of life. Therefore, not only can they provide spiritual guidance but good advice for running your start-up.
If you were on Twitter over the weekend, you might have seen #ldsconf trending and for good reason. This past weekend was the semi-annual LDS General Conference, held in Salt Lake City, Utah, and broadcast all over the world. In 12 hours of meetings, Mormon leaders taught principles that can bring happiness and success in life--and business.
Here are some ideas that can be implemented in your life and at your work to make things better.
"May we be a little more thoughtful, and a little kinder," President Thomas S. Monson. President Monson is the President and Prophet of the LDS Church, and is well known for his focus on taking care of others. Sometimes as the boss, it's easier to just scream and yell at our employees so that they know we mean business and they better get it done, but research shows that a little kindness goes a long way. Remember, that's another human you're talking too.
"We must never think that our choices affect only us," Elder Larry S. Kacher, of the Second Quorum of the Seventy. If you run your business based only on what will be the best for you and your pocket book, you may do great for a time. But, if you want to keep good employees and you want long term success, you need to not only look at how your choices affect you, but how they affect everyone else. Remember that your employees gave up other opportunities to work for you, so make choices that are their best interest as well.
"Are we prepared to leave our comfort zones to reach a better place?" Elder Carlos A. Godoy, of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Entrepreneurs know this one backwards and forwards. If everything we do is easy for us, it's time to try something new.
"It's time to take the cover off our hatchets and go to work," Elder Allan F. Packer, of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Sometimes we sit in meetings and more meetings and then we have meetings to discuss what has happened since our last meeting, which is generally nothing because all we've done is meet. Stop meeting, start doing.
"Some trials come through your own disobedience or negligence," Elder Jrg Klebingat, of the First Quorum of the Seventy. Let's face it, just because you're the boss, it doesn't mean you're perfect. Sometimes the problems your business faces are a direct result of your bad choices. Be willing to change, and to accept criticism. Additionally, be willing to hand off responsibility for things you don't have time to do, to someone else. Don't neglect the important things.
"Though we may disagree, we should not be disagreeable," Elder Dallin H. Oaks of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. As a former Utah State Supreme Court Justice, Elder Oaks knows a lot about disagreements. In your business, you're going to naturally run into conflicts. The COO and the CIO and the CEO may disagree, often, but that doesn't mean that there should be anger and resentment. Having difference of opinions doesn't mean that the other person is a bad person.
"I don't want to be that woman, but how do I change?" Sister Neill F. Marriott, Second Counselor in the Young Women's General Presidency. You need to evaluate yourself and if you're happy with who you are, fine, but if you're not? You need to change and you need to figure out how to do that. Keeping on the same path will result in the same problems. Change is critical for success.
"Resenting the law of gravity won't keep a person from falling if he steps off cliff," Elder D. Todd Christofferson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles. You're not immune from the laws of the universe. Realize that not only as you run your business, but as you step into the voting booth. There are consequences to every thing you do, so make sure you think through those consequences before you act.
Note: An earlier version identified the fourth quote as being from President Boyd K. Packer, who is Elder Packer's father. I apologize for mixing the two up and thanks to my readers for bringing it to my attention.