A prominent and wealthy African Businessman once wrote, “everything important, I ever learnt about business, I learnt from the Bible. What could be more practical than the lessons taken from the Master himself”.
What did the Bible teach this great Businessman? Here is the story of Jethro teaching Moses on organizational structure.
Exodus 18: 13 – 26
The next day Moses was settling disputes among the people, and he was kept busy from morning till night. When Jethro saw everything that Moses had to do, he asked, “What is all this that you are doing for people? Why are you doing this all alone, with people standing here from morning till night to consult you?”
Moses answered, “I must do this because the people come to me to learn God’s will. When two people have a dispute they come to me, and I decide which one of them is right, and I tell them God’s commands and laws.”
Then Jethro said, “You are not doing it the right way. You will wear yourself out and these people as well. This is too much for you to do alone. Now let me give you some advice, and God will be with you. It is right for you to represent the people before God and explain to them how they should live and what they should do.
“But in addition, you should choose some capable men and appoint them as leaders of the people: leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties, and tens. They must be God-fearing men who can be trusted and who cannot be bribed.
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“Let them serve as judges for the people on a permanent basis. They can bring all difficult cases to you, but they themselves can decide all the smaller disputes. That will make it easier for you, as they share your burden. If you do this, as God commands, you will not wear yourself out, and all these people can go home with their disputes settled.”
Moses took Jethro’s advice and chose capable men from among all the Israelites. He appointed them as leaders of thousands, hundreds, fifties and tens. They served as judges for the people on a permanent basis, bringing the difficult cases to Moses but deciding the smaller disputes themselves.
END OF BIBLE LESSON
To build a successful business organization requires the effort of more than one person. If you try to do it by yourself, the business will probably never take off, and you are most likely to remain a self-employed person, rather than transitioning to a Business owner. Worst of all, the business will be a one generational business, that dies with the founder(s).
As an Entrepreneur, you can conceive the right ideas, but you cannot be all things, just as you cannot be in different places, doing different things at the same time. You therefore need the right people around you, to provide a broader base upon which the business empire will be built. When you have assembled the right team, you should also be able to trust your team, and delegate authority to them and allow them to thrive.
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How often do we see that in Nigeria in particular and around the world in general. The highly successful parents pass away, the children take over the booming business, and all goes to burst in a short time. I have seen and heard all kinds of reasons why the business collapsed, the most used reason being that the children were irresponsible, with no knowledge of how difficult it is to make money because they were born with a golden spoon.
More often than not, a critical analysis of such events can pin the failure of such enterprises to two major reasons; the business had no organization supporting it but rather hinged on one person, or those that inherited the business did not understand the business philosophy whereas they thought they did.
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I would go as far as to say that had the business organization been in place, the second reason would be irrelevant as with time the inheritors will key into the workings of the organization and advance its growth with a dose of their own creativity and thinking.