Friday, September 27, 2013

Encouragement: Oxygen to the Soul

At a recent board meeting, the CEO asked a provocative question:
“How can you tell if a guy 
(or gal) needs encouragement?”

Answer: “He’s breathing!”

I’m using that one in a PowerPoint next week. It’s brilliant and profound! 

Not every CEO, not every board member, has the spiritual gift of encouragement—but every CEO and board member needs encouragement!

So effective boards are always looking for potential board members who are encouragers. According to Bruce Bugbee, the spiritual gift of encouragement is “the divine enablement to present truth so as to strengthen, comfort or urge to action those who are discouraged or wavering in their faith.”

Today, for a moment, let’s just set aside the dozens of demands that boards and CEOs are facing—and just remind ourselves that a little encouragement goes a long ways.  My friend Bob Kelly included these gems on encouragement in his handsome coffee table book, The Best of Success: A Treasury of Inspiration.  Share them at your next board meeting:

• “We should seize every opportunity to give encouragement. Encouragement is oxygen to the soul. The days are always dark enough. There is no need for us to emphasize the fact by spreading further gloom.” (George Matthew Adams)

• “People have a way of becoming what you encourage them to be—not what you nag them to be.” (Scudder N. Parker)

 “A pat on the back is only a few vertebrae removed from a kick in the pants, but is miles ahead in results.” (Ella Wheeler Wilcox)

There are dozens of ways to encourage your CEO and your board members: birthday cards, notes to spouses, Starbucks gift cards, phone calls, completing assignments early, arriving at meetings early to leverage relational time, answering emails within 24 hours, prayer, high fives for faithfulness. (You can add to the list.)

A friend of mine just blessed-the-socks-off a pastor and his wife by giving them a week's vacation in Hawaii, including airfare. Wow! That's encouragement!

Not every person appreciates the same kind of encouragement—so become a student of your CEO and your board members and bless them with customized encouragement.  

“So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you’ll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you’re already doing this; just keep on doing it.” (I Thessalonians 5:11, The Message)

QUESTION: How can your board be more intentional about encouraging your CEO?

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