Taking Your Business & Yourself to the Next Level

A chance meeting happened in the crowded courtyard restaurant of an Italian palace where a man waiting for his tab allowed us to share his table.

We spoke.  The man is an architect.  We both had watched the show “Grand Designs.” I told him of my grandfather, who was the first municipal architect of Tel Aviv. When he asked about my work, I explained   “people ask to speak with me.”

Without further prompt, he told me that he wanted to take his business to the next level and we exchanged contact information.

How am I to frame the conversation we just agreed to have?  I see framing it as my responsibility given that he has already asked his question.

Here, then, is the first step of taking your business to the next level.

Typically when a client asks for help moving up to the next level, they are thinking of strategies and tactics: e.g. “To reach my goal of having a business of “x” size what do I have to do vis a vis staffing, marketing, offerings to clients? How do I fund these new activities? Where do I start?”

While these business questions matter and will be answered, they can often be a distraction from the type of inquiry needed to foster true growth.  The art of consulting is to cast aside the cafeteria line of cookie cutter solutions and to skillfully draw forth the fullest expression of self that your client can muster.  Understanding the self is core.

As professional observer, it’s already clear that this man in the Italian palace sees “more” but doesn’t know how to attain it.  He has at least an intuitive sense that he’s missing something.

What he might not yet know is that his current business is the manifestation of him.  It’s impossible for his business to be anything other than him.  If he pays attention to something and acts upon it then he has already realized it.  His hiring and managing of staff, it comes from how he interacts with people.  Much of this is probably innate.  Same for his marketing and how he deals with regulations and regulators.  We could think of his business as the sum total of his habits.

This man asks a near stranger to help him take his business to the next level.  As receiver of his question, I know that to realize his goals he has to look inside.  My role is to help him take that look.  I help him understand his habits.

It matters very much how this man came to feel that there is “something more.”   Where did he get the idea that there is a next level for his business?  Such an idea can be inspired by another’s business but his next level cannot be borrowed.  It must come from him.

Along the way to the next level, I will help this man prepare the way not only for the challenges and joys that change will bring to him but also for the effects of his changes on his family, his employees, customers and competitors.

Many an attempt at moving to the next level has crashed into the resistance of these important others.  To ensure successful change, all stakeholders must be a respected part of the process. My role with this business owner and visionary is to help him lead his change with as much grace as possible.

But, moving up is not all about grace.  It takes guts.  It takes passion to play on a bigger stage. As consultant, I help you honor your passion.

This has been an introduction to the mindset required for managing a change up to the next level.

Understanding yourself drives a robust change process that is centered on your vision.

Jonathan Magidovitch works in the US, Europe and Israel as a coach/consultant for individuals, families and family businesses. He is the principal of Yosef Meged Consulting.

Knowledge & Wisdom Transition in Family & Business

Knowledge & Wisdom Transition in Family & Business

by Jonathan Roth Magidovitch

First, this note of caution: a poorly handled transition of knowledge and wisdom will set loose tsunami waves of disruption

We have an archetype of such a broken transition in Hebrew Scriptures.  From his death bed Jacob (Yisrael) the Patriarch gathers his children and shares key information with them:

Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come. … Your father’s blessings are greater than the blessings of the ancient mountains, than the bounty of the age-old hills.” Genesis 49

Jacob acts with best intentions, but the result is fraught with difficulty:

When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father was dead, they said, “What if Joseph holds a grudge against us and pays us back for all the wrongs we did to him?” Genesis 50

This Biblical “uh-oh” moment is something many family businesses experience. Faulty transitions lead to infighting which is costly to the value of the business and to the cohesion among the family. Therefore, diving into the subject of transitions is of high value.

Our subject is transition of knowledge & wisdom in family business.  We make the parallel to elders blessing their children to provide a framework for understanding transitions.

Transitions are often thought of as final, definite acts by the patriarchal leader or his proxy. Given this compression into a single, final moment, such transitions tend to be dramatic, emotional and subject to a variety of disruptions.

There is little time and huge potential for interference making it difficult to validate the transition, contextualize it or stabilize it within the successor generation.

Key modes of understanding transition include:

  • magical
    • The elder manipulates forces (tools) which bestow upon the younger capabilities the elder deems core to running the business.  This transfer may not actually include training or information. Think here of the Wizard of Oz who bestows brains, heart and courage.
  • mystical
    • The elder invokes a metaphysical force which bestows upon the younger the rights and capacities of leadership.  This is akin to coronation in bringing to the younger a “divine right of kings” type leadership
  • informational
    • The elder turns over access to e.g. the CRM database, the location of skeletons, relationships with service providers; in sum, all the skills and knowledge to run the business.

Each mode comes from a mindset, a culture of the family.  Often, more than one mode is used though there is a dominant mode.

In the “magical mode” the most notable attribute is manipulation.  There is an actor, a decider, a doer.  And there are objects of action, receivers who are not given control, who are corralled into passivity and in whom there is a build-up of resentments.

A business might choose this magical mode with the belief that the competition it sets up among the owner-employees serves to hone the skills of each.

In the “mystical mode” there is a sense that this business is “bigger than each and all of us.” There are values here that the patriarch has been stewarding and now is passing that stewardship on to the next patriarch.

A business would choose this mystical mode with the belief that the business’ core values are broadly accepted as valuable and that broad acceptance sustains the business and unifies the owner-employees.  Typical of this mode is Subaru which promotes the values of sustainability and of multiculturalism.  These values are demonstrably present in their products and are central all the way from design through marketing.

The “informational mode” is marked by beliefs about adherence to best practices.  Emotion is allowed a place in the process but it does not drive the process.  Quantifiables are the drivers.  In this mode, there may be a patriarch, but this person would have powers limited by documented procedures.  Transition also would be delineated by those procedures.  This compares to the Kings of Ancient Israel who ascended to the throne only after having handwritten for their future reference a copy of Scripture and this text was kept handy on a shelf built into the seat of their throne.

A business would choose this informational mode with the belief that it provides stability by limiting capricious action.  This stability however is directly related to the quality of the core management document and its inherent procedures.

Timing is everything. The above modes matter, but as much or more, timing matters.

Returning to the image of a parent blessing their child, if a parent were to place their hands on their child’s head and say words of blessing, beautiful well-considered words, this would seem to be good.  But, if every day prior to that act of blessing the parent said and did things to and around that child that were difficult or damaging, it would be near impossible for that child to receive the blessing outside that context.

Therefore, rather than thinking of blessing as a final and definite act, consider blessing to be the sum total of all the energy that has ever been directed by the parent to the child.  Blessing begins at the child’s birth and continues 24/7 even if you don’t think the child hears and even if the child is not in the room at that moment.  This is not magical or mystical.  This is because actions come from somewhere inside.  If we hold a belief and only say it behind someone’s back, that belief still influences how we act and they still pick it up; they still feel its shadows and repercussions.

Similarly, business transitions of knowledge and wisdom are not effective if thought of as some final act. Transitions of knowledge and wisdom must be part of the ongoing consciousness and work of the business. From the moment of taking the helm, a leader must actively be preparing for their own retirement and for healthy succession.

The leader must consider ongoing that the future transition must be perceived as valid by the stakeholders of the business. The leader must create a context for transition and must be explicit about this context.  That is, transitional constructs cannot be hidden in hints and parables. The leader must stabilize transitions by creating a culture that supports transitions.

Don’t wait.  That is the central advice about transition of knowledge and wisdom.  As a family or business leader make transition an ongoing part of your work.

Jonathan Roth Magidovitch works in the US and Israel as a coach/consultant for individuals, families and family businesses. He is the principal of Yosef Meged Consulting.

Leadership Best Practices: Respecting Multiple Perspectives

Leadership Best Practices:  Respecting Multiple Perspectives
January 2015
by Jonathan Roth Magidovitch

The best leaders do more listening and less telling.

But to what do they listen?

We all are accustomed to hearing multiple accounts of the same events.  What parent hasn’t heard, “But, Mommy, he started it.” What CEO hasn’t heard that the problem comes from another department.

To deal with multiple accounts of the same event, there are tools to guide parents, CEO’s and all leaders.

One such guide is probably already in your house.  Open the family Bible.  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the four Gospels, are each telling the same story.  They are each biographies of the life of Jesus and they are not the same. Each disciple has his own take.

You might expect that we would be hearing a lot of sermons about which Gospel gets it right, but that doesn’t happen.  Instead all four perspectives stand as authoritative and worthy of respect.

From a Jewish perspective, we have the adage “two Jews, three opinions.”  It is part of the culture to disagree, often vociferously, on everything, and at the end of the day, everyone is still part of the family.

As leaders, it is our job to hear out various perspectives and process the entirety into an overall understanding.

There is a caveat:  this processing is not just about facts.  The leader’s job is not as simple as determining who is correct.  Perceptions and feelings and agenda are significant parts of the picture.  As leaders we understand that each perspective represents some element of the target population for whatever product or service our business is offering.  As parents we understand that each perspective is part of the unified vision for our family.  We may personally differ with what we hear, but choosing to hear it anyway makes our decisions robust.

The leader’s job is to hear multiple perspectives and understand from them how to proceed with real actions in the real world.

The leader responds to each voice with respect and gratitude.  Having been part of the conversation is what matters about the team members.  The leader is ultimately responsible for making the decision.  That decision being correct or not accrues to the leader having properly understood the various inputs.

Furthermore, it is the work of a good leader to make sure that the voices around the table do actually represent crucial aspects of the target population.  Ten voices saying one thing could signal unanimity in the target population. However it could also mean that there is something wrong with the team or the management processes. That is, “Is dissension allowed?  Have people with various perspectives been brought to the table?”

Going back to Scripture, there are actually more than four Gospels.  The others did not make it into the Bible. Instead they are found elsewhere in New Testament as apocrypha or pseudepigrapha.

These other Gospels did not pass whatever review.  And, perhaps there are yet other gospels that did not pass muster even to the level of being preserved at all.

Not all voices get heard and that is an issue.  It may be a moral issue or a validity issue.  And, there are procedural issues here as well.

Who gets to speak at our table?  That is the question. A fact of human capacity is that we don’t have time or treasure enough to hear all the possible voices.  How we determine who gets to our table matters.

Here are some considerations:

  1. Is someone knocking on our door?  If someone has expressed a desire to speak in our group why have we declined them?  If it’s racism or sexism or any other “ism” this is a moral failure which will lead to a business failure.
  2. Have we searched for team members broadly enough?  In business we have a sense of our target audience.  It is important that audience is represented in the thought process of our business.  To assume we know people’s thoughts and preferences especially across cultural lines is taking on unnecessary risk.   ***   Furthermore, have we understood our target audience?  Maybe people in addition to those we’ve already identified could be in our target population.  Find ways to discover new segments.  For example, look at your sales records for outliers and find out who they are.  Or, talk with other leaders or experts.
  3.  Are we listening only at certain times and in certain places?  Being a leader is 24/7 work.  Listening at meetings matters but it also matters that off chance of hearing something in a song lyric or in a phrase caught from the conversation of passers-by.

Wherever we stand as leader, be it home or office, a key part of our role is processing correctly multiple understandings of events.  Each input represents some part of the picture.  The points presented here will increase your clarity in deciding the right thing to do.

Jonathan Roth Magidovitch works in the US and Israel as a coach/consultant for individuals, families and family businesses. He is the principal of Yosef Meged Consulting.

The Second Hatching of Children: A Metaphor for Parents and Values Educators

The Second Hatching of Children: A Metaphor for Parents and Values Educators
By Jonathan Roth Magidovitch and Gadi Raviv
December 23, 2014

Many years ago during a lunch meeting of our Interfaith Clergy Association, we were bemoaning the disappearance of our youth immediately after their Bnai Mitzvah/Confirmation.

We of each faith group had somehow thought it was only our kids who left. We shared surprise and then shared this joke: “We had a rat problem at our church. Expert after expert would rid of us rats but they always came back. Finally, a professional came who rounded up every rat they could and Confirmed them. We never saw those rats again.”

This essay is to suggest a new metaphor, a new way of looking at how we work with our youth in their transition to adulthood.

Yesterday, a colleague got my attention. He said, “Children are little chicks. They hatch. They come out of their shell open and playful. “By first grade they start to build a new shell, and in their early teens they begin to break out of this shell.”

Why do those pre-first-graders build themselves a shell? As with Adam and Eve, shame and embarrassment are factors, perhaps generated or enhanced by elementary school or socialization in general. In particular, “children have begun to feel that peers are watching them.” They retreat behind a barrier of their own creation. Fear is not the major motivator for children building their second shell.

We believe children instinctively understand that they have a lot to learn about being with their peers. Observation, seeing, is by far the strongest learning tool we have. Intuitively, children understand that an unseen observer gets cleaner information than a participant observer does. The presence of the observer alters the thing being observed. This is the reason children build their own shell. It’s their duck blind. It’s their one-way mirror.

And, why do they as pre-adolescents begin to peck apart their shell? Their need to connect with peers overpowers their need to hide. Its biology; preservation of the species. The clock has ticked. Time has arrived to put knowledge into practice.

As their adults, it is our goal to provide them tools for breaking out, and this is where faith educators come in heavy with tools, conceptions and expectations for specific outcomes.

My colleague asserted that these kids are not interested in Bible, or Judaism (Christianity) or in performing, but they put huge effort into their Bnai Mitzvah studies because “They are proving themselves as adults.”

At this point, we add that so much of religious education feels like an imposition. Educators and parents feel pressure to inject stuff into our kids. It’s invasive.

Could we instead “go with” the urge to adulthood of our children?

With peers as witness, our kids need to prove themselves as adults. We want them to be adults and independent, but we want them to have the tools by which to live that life in the best way possible.

We are not neutral in what is “best.” And, broadly speaking, our children have already accepted the values we are trying to convey. That is, the vast majority of our children believe that the world is a better place if we all respect each other’s property and lives. Simply put, somehow our kids have already gotten the values. Now it’s about implementation.

What we have is a methodological problem. We tend to impose, restrict, manage and boss our children at the exact moment when they need to be self-directing.

We present them with tools and with myriad directions for how to use these tools.

Maybe when you were a kid, your dad put you on his lap as he drove the car. That was great and empowering when you were five. As a teen, it would be both creepy and dangerous.

Similarly, we need to put tools into our kids’ hands, the tools they need to live by their values. Further, we need to allow that our children might find tools of their own.

An example of that is social media. Values are developed and refined in their online communities. Those communities are generally pleasant places to be. They do have bad actors in them, trolls, and adult presence is important but best as supportive and background. Like driving the car, it’s unhelpful when adults take control in the spaces where kids need to be exercising their adulthood.

As for that joke about Confirming the rats, clearly our children are not rats. Also clearly, we do not really want them hanging around our houses as adults. We want them to go out into the world and find their life and build their home.

The home we built and raised them in was their “first shell.” They must hatch from it, be free of it.
Speaking of spiritual homes, Temple, Church or Synagogue, those were for our children “first shells.” We cannot expect them to take up residence in those spaces. In fact such expectation they will read as overbearing.

At the very least, if we want our children to inhabit the places of spirit and of values that we built, we have to give over our tools to them and the deeds to our buildings and give them our blessing to remodel the places to their needs.

Good if they choose to remodel, but just as good if they choose a complete rebuild. It’s their world, their life, and we do best if we trust them.

We are part of the shell they broke free of. There was a moment when we could see ourselves as their leaders. While they are still very young, it is best if we become their cheerleaders.

Performing rites of passage at the time of their transition to adulthood is instrumental in providing children and their adults with a textual and ceremonial platform to celebrate and exercise their “second hatching. The ritual here is vital because it acknowledges what is already happening.

Gadi Raviv is a Reform Rabbi in Karmiel, Israel and a 3rd generation kibbutz member. He creates life-cycle and holy day ceremonies for secular Israelis by mixing traditional and modern Judaism with Israeli popular culture, kibbutz heritage and humanistic psychology.

Jonathan Roth Magidovitch works in the US and Israel as a coach/consultant for individuals, families and family businesses. He is the principal of Yosef Meged Consulting and the Rabbi of Kehillat Ohel Moed.

The Weight of Honor: Coming to Terms with a Dishonorable Parent

The Weight of Honor: Coming to Terms with a Dishonorable Parent

Jonathan Roth Magidovitch

November 2014

In my student years, I worked at a mental health center as a therapist in training.  The program was based in the psychology department of a Midwestern university.

Early in my training, a new client came in very agitated.  He was sure he was going to hell because he did not honor his father.  Honoring parents, he knew, was one of the Ten Commandments.  He could not honor his father because the man came home drunk most nights and beat up his wife, the client’s mother.

I told the client that he was working with a bad translation of Commandment Five.  The King James version reads: “Honor thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

In the original Hebrew, the word translated here as “honor” is “kabed” כבד.  The basic or root meaning of kabed is “weight.”

I guided the client to understand that obeying Commandment Five was not about giving honor to a drunken, violent father.

For the son, obeying the commandment then was about seeing who his father was and how his father’s actions impacted him.  That is, obeying Commandment Five is acknowledging the weight of parents in our lives.

Obeying the commandment would call on this son to understand who he came from, and should he become a husband and father, to be careful not to reenact the dramas played out before him by his father.

Breaking the commandment would be to say, “my father was a wife-beating drunk and that has had no effect on me.” Such a misbelief would lead to inadequate preparation for the potential fallout of his father’s influence in his life.  And so it would go on until someone said, “enough.” (*See Susan Jones reference below.)

That client successfully met his treatment objectives.  While I do not know if he turned away from his religion or stayed “churched”, many people do turn away from religion because of this mistranslation of Commandment Five. They feel damned for doing something they know is right, for NOT honoring dishonorable parents.

It is a mistake to see religion as protecting power whether or not that power is right.

In our particular circumstance, turning away from religion would have been yet more fallout caused by the dishonorable actions of a parent to their child.  Primary damage is the bad influence of the parent’s actions; secondary damage is the child’s loss of connection with a social and values system that provides positive models of behavior.

Religion is at core a radical rejection of power, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit.” (Zechariah 4:6) Religion’s central assertion is that material and any power derived from material is no match for Spirit (God).

Spirit is not subject to corruption but religion is highly subject to corruption.

In the name of religion people buy buildings and hire staff and with that comes all the obligations and risks of material life. In this way, religion becomes an easy target for dismissal.

The most direct protection from the potential corruptions of religion is careful and constant questioning of Spirit itself, “What does Spirit want of us?”

WWJD, “what would Jesus do” is an example of questioning of Spirit.

In Genesis is another example of questioning Spirit.  When Abraham and God were discussing the fate of the wicked cities of Sodom and Gomorrah, God revealed to Abraham His plan to destroy the cities.  Abraham started a negotiation with God.  Would the presence within of ten righteous people be enough to save to the cities? Even ten were not to be found so the few righteous were exited and the cities destroyed.  But, in the negotiation, the man Abraham challenges God, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” (Genesis 18:25)

In questioning Spirit we come upon something we can sink our “therapeutic” teeth into.

Religion creates a context through which we can relate with Spirit and this human-Spirit relationship is the model by which we test and mend our other relationships.  We ask Spirit what is expected of us and we tell our expectations. We question the justness of the other, even when that other is Spirit itself.

When religion is working correctly, it frames our relationship with Spirit as a healthy relationship, healthy because it allows for questioning; healthy because it allows us to be human.

That client who could not respect his father came in anxious because he knew what he needed to do and it was not to honor his father.

Given the new translation of Commandment Five, the client understood that his job was not to honor his dishonorable father.  His job was to understand the impact of his father’s actions on him and to make sure that negative effects did not infect his other (future) relationships.

Ideally, the client and his father would work on their relationship in a safe environment, best in a counseling setting. However, if the client did not feel able or safe to do that work, he could (and did) work on the “kabed,” the weightiness in his upbringing in order to safeguard his own future.

He fulfilled the mandate of Commandment Five, “Honor (Acknowledge the weight of thy father and thy mother (in your life), that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”

In future, we will prepare a related article on the subject of “The Disrespectful Child.”

Yosef Meged is a business and personal coach working with individuals, families and businesses. Yosef lives and works in the United States and Israel.  You can reach him at yosefmeged18@gmail.com.  In the USA, Yosef works under his American name:  Jonathan Roth Magidovitch.

*For research on intergenerational transmission of behaviors and a therapeutic intervention model see:  Jones, Susan, MSW.  “The Dynamics of Intergenerational Behavior and Forgiveness Therapy. Presented at: North American Association of Christians in Social Work NACSW Convention, October 2012.  St. Louis, MO.


How to be CEO of your own career (and life)

How to be CEO of your own career (and life)

By Dan Greenberger and Jonathan Roth Magidovitch on October 13th, 2014

Perhaps you aspire to the corner office, or you want to develop leadership skills that will help advance your career. You can begin to learn what it takes to be CEO by becoming CEO of your own career.

As CEO, here are six responsibilities you must oversee as you lead the enterprise (the business of advancing your career).

1. Focus on your brand

Yes, you are a brand, whether you realize it or not. To act like a brand, consider the following questions:

  • What is it that you could do better than anyone else on the planet? (borrowed and paraphrased from Jim Collins’ book “Good to Great”)
  • What is your purpose?
  • What are you values?
  • What gift do you provide to your colleagues (how do help them achieve their goals)?

As CEO, you will want to understand these elements of your brand and focus your look, your message and your actions to reinforce them.

2. Determine your goals

Good CEOs don’t operate with a vague set of goals hoping for opportunity to knock. They know that the right opportunities are more likely to appear when you’re on a path to a defined set of goal.

To explore your goals, complete this statement: “It would be great if (what)…”

Then ask, “What else would be great?”

Try to generate 10 to 20 potential goal statements. Think big! Then for each statement, ask, “Why would that be great?”

In reviewing your answers, you’ll see all your aspirations and the reasons why you want to achieve them. Pick the three to five most-compelling statements as your primary goals; then, determine what success looks like and how you will measure your progress.

3. Recruit a board of directors

Who will hold you accountable for achieving your goals? Who might help you solve problems and open doors? Who will provide needed encouragement? Your board of directors might include a spouse, significant other or family members. It might be made up of industry experts and professionals from other industries. You might enlist a mentor or group of colleagues.

Make a plan to meet with your board on a regular basis to report progress, celebrate successes and work to overcome new obstacles that might have appeared since you last met.

4. Develop your strategies

Take a look at your primary goals and ask the question, “What’s stopping me from achieving this?” Now answer this question in the form of a question. For example, if your ability to reach a goal depends on your presentation skills and you are a frightened presenter, ask, “How can I become a better presenter?”

Then ask that same question in as many ways as possible: “How can I learn how to present?” “How can I get practice presenting?” “How can I get over my fear of presenting?” etc.

As you generate these problem statements, ideas for solving them begin to bubble up. Pick the most important statements to address and consider them your strategies for achieving each goal. Then generate the ideas to solve those problem statements.

5. Hold yourself accountable

Take all of your ideas and assign a near-term, midterm or long-term date for each. Share this action plan with your board of directors so they can support your progress.

6. Keep your eye on the prize

As CEO, you need to focus on changing conditions as they may affect your long-term goals. Work with your board of directors to adapt short-term tactics to overcome new challenges and take advantage of new opportunities as they come.

As the CEO of your own career, you will gain invaluable leadership experience. Along the way, you will become more proactive in your personal advancement.

And, for those of you who are already CEOs, you might want to encourage others in your organization to go through this exercise. This type of career development leads to a deeper engagement, which ultimately only makes your business stronger.

Dan Greenberger is a facilitator/trainer who helps organizations innovate and grow by applying creative principles to strategy, branding and other business activities. Dan lives in Highland Park, IL. You can contact Greenberger at dan@gpscreative.com. He blogs at www.gpscreative.com.

Yosef Meged is a business and personal coach working with individuals, families and businesses. Meged lives in the United States and Israel. You can reach him at yosefmeged18@gmail.com. He blogs at yosefmeged.wordpress.com.  In the USA, Yosef works under his American name:  Jonathan Roth Magidovitch.


Faith Based Consulting: An Introduction

Faith Based Consulting: An Introduction

by Jonathan Roth Magidovitch

I am a rabbi and I have a priest.  She keeps my head on straight.  She is Episcopalian.  I say, “everybody needs a Rabbi and every Rabbi needs a Priest.”

I work as a coach, mentor, consultant for businesses and nonprofits, individuals and families. Most of my clients are Christian.  Some do not adhere to any faith.  In Faith Based Consulting, the faith or lack of faith of the client does not matter except that they are open to having faith in themselves.

Faith Based Consulting is not religious even though the language comes from that world.  Faith Based Consulting is not judgmental.

Faith Based Consulting is practical.

The tools of faith based consulting include Hebrew Scripture and New Testament.  The stories in these books contain key guidance for a broad range of business and family situations.  Below are examples of how these stories work as guidance.

Other Faith Based Consulting tools include rituals from various faiths.  Mikvah, Jewish ritual immersion, (related to Baptism) is a powerful way to mark having finished with something in the past and gotten ready for a new start.  Lighting a candle appears in Catholic, Protestant and Jewish ritual.  The act of lighting a candle can bind your business, your family or you personally to a departed person’s vision and values that you want to maintain.

Also among the tools of Faith Based Consulting are the practices: “speaking truth to power” and “speaking truth to habits.”  Truth to power means we will tell a leader who only has “yes” people around them what that actually costs in lost perspective and competitiveness.  And, we will likewise speak truth to habits.  Doing something today because it was done yesterday is poor practice. We will encourage more well thought out management process.

Here are examples of some scriptural tools at work:

Example One

Your goal is to find a good woman to marry and raise a family with her.  Then, don’t date married women.  Not just because its against commandment seven of the Ten Commandments.  Don’t date a married woman because the woman you do want to marry will “see” that part of your personality even if you manage to cover your tracks and that “right woman” will avoid you.

This is the same for how you do business.  If you want good companies to do business with you then be a good company.  Operate by the practices of the companies you respect.

Example Two  

You are the head of a family business.  You determine compensation and you say, “blood is thicker than water,” so you pay blood relatives twice as much as in-laws.  This results in stress in every employee and their family.  This reduces their sense of shared purpose at work.  This opens your business to a world of risk.

Jesus’ first miracle, at Cana, was to turn water into wine. And, at the Last Supper He announced, “this wine is my blood.”  Water becomes wine which becomes blood.  Water and blood can become the other.  Stranger can become family.  Family can become stranger.  Each and all are to be valued for what they are and for what they have made of themselves.

Compensation, therefore, is not to be determined by blood relationship.  It is determined by skill and effort suited to the job.  There are other tools for distributing money among family.  Do not make the mistake of mixing family and business, especially in a family business.

Example Three

Your business’ leader is approaching retirement.  Time has come to determine a successor.  From which pool of candidates might the successor come?  Is your business going to be most successful as a dynasty or as a “best person gets the job” kind of business.

Moses’ son did not succeed him as leader.  David’s son did succeed him.  And, Zelophehad’s daughters succeeded him.  Each of these stories is rich with detail that gives insight to your succession planning.

In Faith Based Consulting identifying goals focuses the work.  The work includes:

  • finding assets and deficits
  • developing strategy and tactics to meet goals
  • implementation
  • assessment

In every step, the tools of Faith Based Consulting are applied.

We are usually called in at a point of transition.  Perhaps this is the death of a key figure or the failure of a project.  These are moments when you may have lost faith in yourself or your business.  We help you restore that faith.

Yosef Meged is a business and personal coach working with individuals, families and businesses. Yosef lives and works in the United States and Israel.  You can reach him at yosefmeged18@gmail.com.  In the USA, Yosef works under his American name:  Jonathan Roth Magidovitch.


How good parenting skills translate to good leadership skills

How good parenting skills translate to good leadership skills.

by Dan Greenberger and Jonathan Roth Magidovitch

Supportive parenting study provides insight for a turbulent business environment

In a recent article in The Atlantic entitled, How Supportive Parenting Protects the Brain, author, Olga Khazan reports on research showing that children with mothers who smile and offer frequent support during early childhood development were healthier physically, emotionally and cognitively than children with mothers who were focusing on their own stress, insecurity or distraction during their child’s formative years.

In a workplace, business leaders might take a lesson from Khazan’s article. As leader, cue yourself to focus on the development of others in order to help them engage and your company to thrive.

Supportive leadership and the care and nurturing of new ideas.

Supportive leadership comes from your deep seated understanding that your team is the driver of all your innovation; they are literally the future of your business.

Even with the promise of revitalization and transformation, a newborn idea is often so fragile and helpless that it never survives its first formative moments. It’s no wonder; creativity is intuitive and messy. Rarely does a powerful new idea come out as a perfectly formed solution. In fact, when asked about his creative process, Albert Einstein responded, “How do I work? I grope.”

Yet, how many times have you been in meetings when a self-proclaimed expert mows down every new idea with a reason why it can’t be done? And while good critical thinking is certainly valuable, it’s best applied after an idea has had a chance to breathe and mature.

In other words, you aren’t the smartest person in the room just because you know why something won’t work. The smartest person sees if there is a workable element in an idea and helps the team bring that forward so the idea can work.

Two easy tools for raising healthy and productive ideas

Tool One:   When you hear any new idea, say: What I like about your idea is…

Do this before you mention any of the idea‘s weaknesses—even if the idea doesn’t seem to be immediately workable. Look for value in the purpose or intention of the idea. Or focus on a aspect of the idea that intrigues you. Or consider how the idea might change the way you look at the issue.

Here are three reasons why dismissing a new idea without first considering its merits is so limiting:

  1. Your initial reaction might be fraught with faulty assumptions, a narrow frame of reference or incomplete knowledge of the situation. By looking for what’s right about an idea, you are opening yourself to something new.
  2. Fundamental to creativity is forging new connections between previously unrelated ideas. By looking for what’s right with an idea, you might make connections that lead your team in unimagined directions.
  3. Who wants to offer new ideas to Dr. No? People want to work with those who help them be successful. They look for visionaries, not obstructionists and know-it-alls.

Tool Two:  After you’ve said what you like about an idea, then turn any remaining issues into problems to solve.

For example, the next time you’re tempted to say something like, we can’t do that because we can’t fund it, turn that issue into a problem to solve:

Ask, instead, how might we fund this initiative?

But don’t stop there, keep the discussion moving by asking the same question in a variety of ways and allow time for solutions to bubble up:

  • In what ways might we reduce the cost?
  • How might we make it affordable?
  • How can we find the money to pay for it?
  • What might be ways we get it for free?
  • How can we find a partner to pay for it?

Here’s what happens when you pose your issues with an idea as problems to solve.

  • You encourage discussion among your team.  Maybe you will discover that while you might be missing a key piece of information or insight to make the idea workable, someone else on your team might have that key.
  • You find your questions lead to breakthrough thinking your team would never have explored otherwise.

Of course, after all this, you and your team still might determine that the idea wasn’t workable, but, as a supportive leader, you will have shown respect for the person who offered it, and left open an inviting door for future ideas.  This is key to a healthy, innovative workplace.

In the end, supportive leadership, like supportive parenting, requires a shift from a “me focus” to a “you focus” with colleagues and their ideas. And much like a proud parent, you’ll be able to enjoy your colleagues’ achievements and the thriving growth of your business.

Dan Greenberger is a creativity and innovation facilitator and trainer who lives in Highland Park, IL. You can contact Dan at dan@gpscreative.com.

Yosef Meged is a business and personal coach working with individuals, families and businesses.  Yosef lives in the United States and Israel.  You can reach him at yosefmeged18@gmail.comIn the USA, Yosef works under his American name:  Jonathan Roth Magidovitch.

(1)  http://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2014/06/how-supportive-parenting-protects-the-brain/373496/