eyes open

eyes open
"know thyself" is the cure, the answer, the process, the goal, the result


Smaller Barns, Better Velocity, or "Jesus Wants Me to Invest More in my Business"

Well. It has now "officially" been summer in the Smith house. My kids have completed yet again that very "mid-west"-y sort of tradition--vacation 'bible' camp. Although, as we live in the Bay Area, it is called nothing quite so gauche--rather, "vacation kids academy"--and put on by the Episcopalians (the most non-offensive folks I could find). You gotta love these people--the kids' themes have been "Star Wars", "Narnia", and "The Incredibles" over the past few years. I'm a little worried, however, as next year's theme will be "Peter Pan." (Sorry, that's just a little Catholic angst showing through!)

Anyway, for the first year we got roped into actually attending the "quasi-mandatory" Sunday worship service after the close of the camp set up for the parents. I figured it was alright to go just this once. Anyway, there was an upside (I don't go in anymore for arm-waving to hymns--if I must sing, my arms stay firmly at my sides), I got to hear an old, familiar story during the (refreshingly short) sermon: the parable of the successful corporate farmer and his capacity problems.

Never heard of it? Well, the upshot is that the Deity apparently looked unkindly upon the smug farmer who, when confronted with bigger-than-expected harvests, decided to tear down his old barns and build new ones. The problem is the farmer died the night after making this (rather reasonable) decision and it was all moot. Really!; I never could get my mind around this parable. Until now.

It finally dawned on me (and this is something that has been sticking in my craw since I was in short pants) that the Deity doesn't really care one whit whether or not I build smaller or bigger barns. Neither is s/he apparently averse to investment--I do seem to recall other parables about risk-friendly servants being repaid for their savvy risk-friendly schemes (remember the whole "10 talents" bit?). Anyway, I now have it: the Deity doesn't want me to sit back and let my excess capacity go to waste, he wants me to invest it back into the business.

Well. Don't groan. I think this is a fairly astute principle, especially considering the state of management theory in the "aughts" of the Common Era. Bottom line: rather than build up more storage space (or cyber-capacity as the case may be), I should be focusing on how to get either my profits or my excess "product" (be is beans, nuts or bits) out the door and back into the marketplace where it can grow. A reasonable proposition I confess, and none too hair-raising, but one that bears remembering.

Tune in next summer when I try to figure out some business application of the gospel as told through a Disney movie featuring a character who is an eternal boy wearing green tights. That will be a doozy.

Have a nice Monday.

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