Don’t Be a Sell Out to Culture- Be a Culture Shaper!
Being in the marketplace for ten years, I’ve seen my fair share of challenging enviroments for young leaders and learned first hand how difficult it can be to stand out against the masses and be a person of influence. It’s easy to be the one who is influenced, much more difficult to be the one who does the influencing. We have much to learn from life experience and from others! Regardless of your faith background, the Bible also has much to offer in the area of leadership. These four tips are drawn straight from the Old Testament book of Daniel, Chapter 1. Even in Babylon, an ancient civilization famous for its power, materialism & cruelty, Daniel stood his ground & was an incredible example of a Culture Shaper!
1. Be available. You don’t need me to tell you that there are some wild environments in the marketplace, business world & other workplaces! Corporate scandals, office politics, selfish motives, the list could go on… The craziness of these environments may just be the very reason you are needed there! You can’t make an impact there, if you are not there! Be available to go when the time is right.
Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael and Azariah were four of the young men chosen. Daniel 1:6 Yes, Daniel was a slave in Babylon and didn’t have many choices, but he answered the call nonetheless! He was available.
2. Be yourself; don’t compromise. Being in an environment doesn’t mean you have to sell out to everything that environment holds valuable. Stand firm to your beliefs and don’t be a sell out! Spend some time identifying your values and then ask yourself where these values conflict with those of your work environment. Real leaders know who they are and what they believe in. Be yourself and don’t compromise!
Daniel was determined not to defile himself by eating the food and wine given to them by the king. Daniel 1:8 Daniel did not compromise!
3. Be respectful to authority. In a world that generally disrespects authority, be different. When others are slandering the boss or leadership, don’t give in. Lead up! If you disagree with something, respect authority by talking with them about the issue. Most people choose instead to talk about their boss. Be different and respect authority. You will earn their respect and the respect of others in the process.
He asked the chief of staff for permission not to eat these unacceptable foods. Daniel 1:8 Daniel showed the ultimate respect by asking for an exemption from something that would violate his customs. He showed respect!
4. Seek the help of God. If you truly seek God, he will not only give you the ability to be strong to be in a crazy environment, be he may give you the wisdom needed to contribute significantly to that environment. Your ability to ask and discern this wisdom is crucial. Ask with the right intention and he will give what he sees fit to give. If your heart is in the right place, you may be the next difference maker in your workplace, and on your way to becoming a Culture Shaper in 2010!
God gave these four young men an unusual aptitude for understanding every aspect of literature and wisdom. Daniel 1:17 I’m not saying that God will always do this; I’m just saying that he can! God gave Daniel unusual wisdom that he used to help his leader.
For the full context of these verses, read through Chapter 1 of the Book of Daniel. What are some other ways you can be a Culture Shaper this year?? What is difficult for you with these fours tips?? It’s not always a time to stay where you are. Occasionally, it may be time to go. Check out this great read from Scott Williams entitled, “10 Signs it Might Be Time to Move On.”