CORPORATE MAKEOVER SERMON SERIES
THERE’S NO BUSINESS LIKE YOUR BUSINESS
Interviewing For Success
SEPTEMBER 6, 1998
Over the last five weeks I have been in a series called CORPORATE MAKEOVER, Changing The Way You Look At Work. The response has been overwhelming because we have hit on hot topics like “finding fulfillment in the marketplace”, “discovering the wonderful world of work”, “when your profession becomes an obsession”. We talked about “how to deal with difficult people” and also “how to avoid the trap of temptation”.
If you come to Fellowship Church very often, you know the drill goes something like this. During the message segment of the service, I talk and you listen. Well, on this Labor Day weekend, we decided to sort of reverse the rolls. You are going to talk and I will do a lot of listening. Now some of you might be saying to yourself, wait a minute, you mean this skinny pastor is going to call up everybody in this house onto the stage and they will articulate how they feel about their various forms of human labor? No, not exactly.
A couple of weeks ago we handpicked six people and they will share from their heart concerning this process of Corporate Makeover. I have heard a little bit of what they have said so far and I am going to tell you something. I believe their openness, authenticity and vulnerability will help all of us get a better read on this gift called work. I am going to start on my right and allow this young man to introduce himself and then we will go down the line.
Paul Herchman: Good morning. I am Paul Herchman and I have been married for almost 19 years. I have two wonderful children and live in Trophy Club. I am CEO of a company called Medical Alliance.
Ed: Paul, that shirt looks great on a Labor Day weekend.
Vicki Ingram: I am Vicki Ingram. My husband, Ron, and I have been married for 29 years. We have three children. I am a homemaker and we are moving from Irving to Flower Mound, TX next Friday.
Ed: Next Friday. So if anyone wants to help you move….
Brad Chasteen: Good morning. I am Brad Chasteen. I am the head basketball coach at Coppell High School. I have been married to this beautiful young lady for 15 years this week. And I don’t have as soothing a voice as Vicki.
Ed: She has a great voice, doesn’t she? But he has the quintessential coach’s voice. How many Coppell Cowboys do we have in the house? Now you won’t believe this. Brad’s wife Kathy is also a coach, and you coach…?
Kathy Chasteen: Volleyball, basketball and track.
Ed: And you have four children. I cannot wait to talk to these folks.
John Wright: Good morning. I am John Wright and I am single, live in the Oak Cliff neighborhood and work for Bank One in downtown Dallas. I do strategic planning and analysis there.
Ed: I like the emphasis on his being single.
John: Just following what the others have said.
Anita Vanetti: I am Anita Vanetti and I am a TV reporter and work for Channel 8 News. I live in Irving and I am single, too.
Ed: The thing about Anita, I have a hard time understanding what she is saying. If she could only articulate her words a little better!
Ed: Paul, I want to start with you. I have talked about work and the wonderful world of it. You happen to be the CEO of publicly traded company. With that comes the ups and downs of leadership, placing certain people in their best skill set positions. How do you view your role and what is your most important function as a CEO?
Paul: I would say that there have been a lot of downs here over the last year, but the most important thing that I can do is ask myself the question, can I impact people for Christ while fulfilling my job as a CEO. For a long time I would sit back and wait on God to direct me and tell me what He had in store for me in the future. I just knew there would be something great that I would do once I got through what I was doing at present. Then it dawned on me that I have something that God has granted me today, and that is the platform of my company. It is not insignificant. When I thought about all the employees who are my team members, the people that supply products to us, and I think about the physician customers that utilize our services, I realize that I can have some impact on 10,000 people. Even though I might not impact them directly, they can be impacted by someone who works for my company, someone following a dictate of the company. That is where the rubber really meets the road. I try to put myself through a test at the end of each day. I review how well I did, whether a conversation I had or trying to determine a contract obligation or what my employees and the other company’s employees expect me to do. I try to make sure at the end of each day where I have succeeded and where I have failed. Then if I did fail, I try to determine if I can repair it or just learn from it and move forward to do a better job.
Ed: You know, Paul, I firmly believe that if you are truly a Christ follower, and we have many here who have made that decision, although we have many here still seeking, you have come to the realization through this series that ultimately you work for God. I work for Him. Thus, everything I do, everything Paul does is an act of love and worship to God. And I sincerely know that once we get to heaven, we are going to look back on our lives and we will not believe the people that we have impacted. I think we underestimate our influence as human beings. I think a lot of us will be saying, you mean this person was checking out my language, that person was watching me, seeing how I handled my money, or whatever.
Paul, getting a little bit specific here, what are some of the good things, example-wise that you feel you have done and maybe what are some of the bad ones that you have done over the last season.
Paul: Well the interesting thing is that when Ed warned me that he was going to ask this question, the failures were easier to find and there were many more from which to choose. Recently,I was playing in a golf scramble with a number of my employees. My team was great. They let me know that they didn’t expect too much from me, just a few good shots. We got on the 17th tee box and I had yet to chip in my four good shots. They all had messed up and all I had to do to redeem myself was one good drive. I shot it off the side, slammed my club down and expressed my frustration with a single, no too bad, word. I realized that that was not good in front of some many of my employees.
From the success standpoint, I look back and see that I try to risk my position. It started by having my leaders over to eat at my home. There I would start off the meal with a prayer. It made a statement to them. It opened up the possibility of discussions with them in the future, by revealing myself. It never fails that I would get a call from someone later whether a senior person in the company or a brand new person in the mailroom and they say it was great and that they appreciated what I did. That encouragement really fuels the fire and makes me realize that I should risk myself more often.
Ed: Paul, I am telling you that you have had a great influence. You know when people think of a series like this, CORPORATE MAKEOVER, I think their knee-jerk reaction is of a dark paneled boardroom or some company or whatever, yet Vicki, I think, is in one of the most complex and demanding fields of labor. It happens to be that of the homemaker. Now, how would you describe your pilgrimage from the beginning until now sitting on this stage in front of a lot of people on this Labor Day weekend.
Vicki: When Ron and I married 29 years ago, we made the decision that for our particular situation, it would be in the best interest of our family if I stayed home and raised the kids. I really felt that God had called me to be a mother. It was difficult at times. Believe me, there were days when I would have loved to have left the stress of the home and found a job in the marketplace. And then, of course, the extra money would have been appreciated. But I really felt like God had placed me in the home to provide a foundation for our children.
Ed: I know you have struggled with the priority thing. Tell us about your priorities and how you have tried to live those out.
Vicki: Well, of course, my first priority has to be God. I have to make sure that I am well-grounded in that relationship through prayer and Bible study. The activities here at Fellowship Church have helped to strengthen my relationship with God. Then my second priority has been my spouse, Ron. We have been married for 29 years. Last weekend was our anniversary. It is very important that the marriage be strong. As our children are now beginning to leave the nest and go out and live their own lives, it has made me realize that the marriage is the foundation and is the most important. Children are just with us for a season, but the marriage is there forever.
Ed: I agree. In talking to a lot of young families, they oftentimes say that children and the spouse are the second priority after God. Well, children are important. Lisa and I have four. But I truly believe that God wants us to place Him first and our spouse second. After that it should be our children. Oftentimes we have to fight for the priority of the spouse. Sometimes the children are sick or whatever and you need to change for awhile. But, if you do not put the spouse under God, here is what will happen. You may so immerse yourself in your children’s lives that when they go off and leave that nest, you will find yourself as a couple, strangers. That is why we encourage a date night, getting away regularly just to restore and replenish the most important relationship. Because, so goes the marriage, so goes the family. So you say first God, then Ron and then the children. Anything else you want to add?
Vicki: Well, the church, of course. We have found a wonderful church family here. I have received so much help and support from the other women in this church who are in my profession, which is being a Mom. We are able to share a lot of the same frustrations and the trials and tribulations that come with motherhood and being a wife. It has been beneficial to rely on these other women who can identify with the situations that I am going through.
ED: I think that being a homemaker or even a CEO leaves you feeling like you are on an island if you don’t have relational connections. You feel that there is no one going through what you are going through. But if you do what Vicki and Ron and their children have done, get involved in the local church, you can meet people that come from similar backgrounds, who share similar problems. All of us are fellow strugglers in the faith. That is one of the things that I love about a large church. God is not concerned about size. If a church is composed of 20 people, the church should try to reach the 20 people, if around 200,000, it should try to reach 200,000. One of the benefits, though, of a large church is that it gives you great relational range. You can find anything and everything here. So I want to encourage and challenge many to get off the bench, so to speak, and into the game, to connect with our small groups, our men’s and women’s Bible studies, our Connection Classes.
Let me tell you something about Vicki. I have known Vicki and Ron for a long time. She is Italian and she makes the greatest lasagna that I have ever had. Lisa and I have told her that she could open up an Italian restaurant. It would be neat. I would be there.
Next we go to the couple I can’t wait to hear from, the Chasteens. I have talked about workaholism often in this series. The reason I have talked about it is because I struggle with this issue. I think many of you have, whether you are a pastor, a banker or a coach, keeping the profession from becoming an obsession is difficult. I would think it is especially hard for coaches because you have so many people pulling on you, asking for your advice. It is almost like you are never off. You are on in the school, at a restaurant, when on a family outing. Talk to me about some of the struggles and some of the things you face regarding the issue of workaholism.
BRAD: I love my wife and children dearly, of course. But I also have a huge passion for coaching. It is easy to become consumed with the job. I have to make a conscious effort, somehow, some way to link family with the profession. Kathy can cover that. But I would lie if I didn’t say that this issue is a weekly struggle.
ED: Wouldn’t you say, too, Brad that coaching now is not just a seasonal thing. In High School it is practically year around with the basketball camps, with practices now.
BRAD: Yes, I have seen some of the Daddies in the audience who have helped me coach fall league, spring league, summer league. It is pretty much nonstop if you want to run a program correctly. There is no time off for the head guy, so to speak.
ED: Kathy, how about you. Working outside the home and within the home, I know that must be a major struggle. How do you feel after doing all the coaching, counseling and talking with all of the students, all the parents, all the teachers, all the administration, when you come home? It is relief or what? You have four children.
KATHY: No, my biggest job starts when the paying job ends. I get the kids to all of their activities and hopefully some food inside of them before the end of the day. I love the Middle School age. I love coaching and doing what I do. But there is one thing I hate and it happens every year. I hate having to tell 7th and 8th graders, and most of the times their Moms and Dads too, that they didn’t make the team.
ED: Talk about being cut from a team, how many of you have ever been cut from an athletic team? Lift your hands. Come on, be honest. Many people have been cut and that is not fun. Talk about cutting, that is a pressurized thing. You are dealing with the lives of the students and their families. I know that Paul, being a CEO, you have dealt with having to cut people before. That is not fun, is it? And John, in the banking business. Anyway, how do you, Kathy, keep the balance, how do you try to involve your children into things and spend time with them?
KATHY: I have known all of our lives together that Brad has been driven and obsessed with his work. Our family time revolves around sporting events. We go to all of his basketball games during the season. Since Tuesday is a school night it usually means a concession stand supper. The kids think that is just great. On Friday nights, after the game we will include Brad and go out to eat. During holiday tournaments where are times when we can stay in a hotel with the team. So the kids look at that as a vacation.
ED: One of the things I have learned from my research is that successful companies, churches, schools, etc. have now and then an open house for families. I think it is important to include your children in what you do. My Dad and Mom did that for my brothers and me and it really, really helped. What I would challenge you to do in this season of life when it is so tempting to have your profession become an obsession, is to think about what Christ did. If you study the ministry of Christ, every time he had an IMA, intensive ministry activity, He would take a break. He would go fishing. He would make breakfast. He would take two- or three-hour long walks with His friends. He would draw away. The Bible tells us to stop working each week after six days and start worshipping. We are wired for work, we are made for it but it is so easy for our professions to become obsessions. We have to draw away to have time and to keep balance in our lives.
Do you have much time for other activities? What else are you involved in?
KATHY: Well, our kids are all sports fanatics, too. We attend all of their sporting activities. It is pretty much sports.
BRAD: What breaks the week is the Fellowship Church. The kids love the youth programs here. If we don’t get up when the alarm clock goes off, they are in there shaking us, wanting us to get moving. They won’t let us miss.
ED: Talking to you folks and seeing all the responsibilities that you have, very few of us have an excuse not to be involved in the church. If the Chasteens can be involved, we all can. It all has to do with priorities. Thank you both for being here. We hope that the Coppell Cowboys take the state.
Next we have the single, John Wright. Now John and I have something in common. We love the greatest sport on the planet, professional wrestling. John, happens to be a true professional wrestling historian. And I firmly believe that the greatest athletes in the world walk into the squared circle for professional wrestling. It is not the Cowboys, not the Cardinals, it is professional wrestling. Kidding, of course.
You have a very interesting occupation with a bank. One of the things that we have hit on is dealing with difficult people. No matter what you do, you are going to deal with difficult people and the Bible deals a lot with this issue. John, describe some difficult people that you deal with and how God has helped you through some of these situations.
JOHN: The department that I manage does strategic planning and financial analysis. You can do all the planning in the world but if you don’t go back and see how you are performing against those plans, you haven’t really done the shareholder or the corporation any good. So we see how we are performing against some targets, some budgets, etc. Our incentive award programs are tied to that performance. The analysis that my department does often effects people’s pocketbooks. A lot of times the analysis we do, the presentations we make to management, lead to what the annual bonus will be. When we get into those conversations, as you can imagine, they get very personal. We are talking about a very personal thing here even though it is under the guise of business. It can get really ugly at times. I have got to look out for the best interests of the management team that I support, the executive I support and the shareholder. I need to make sure that we are making rational decisions that are in the best interest of the company. The other people are looking out for themselves. They can get angry. A lot of people in this room know that I have got a sharp tongue. I can mix it up with the best of them.
ED: John, that is so tempting too. When you get in those situations you can want to mud sling with the other person. What have you done to help you through the process because we all have that tendency.
JOHN: The Holy Spirit has instructed me that it is not in the best interest of my profession, of the job I am trying to do, to get personal like that and it certainly, and more importantly, not in the best interest of my witness. I am known in my corporation as a Christ follower, someone who is active in this church. If I mix it up with them and get the profanity going right back, that doesn’t serve any purpose. So, I have learned some techniques over time like taking some deep breaths before responding, lowering my tone of voice.
ED: That is Biblical, too, John. Proverbs 15:1 says that an angry word or a harsh word stirs up a lot of hostility.
Also, I just try to speak more slowly. I try to choose my words carefully and stay cool.
ED: What are some of the difficult people you have handled?
JOHN: There is the “chest-thumper”, the kind of person who is all about self-promotion. The business community encourages us to promote ourselves and talk about what we have accomplished. Then there is the “intimidator”, the kind of person who will try to bully you around. They will yell at you a lot and use a lot of profanity. I had an interaction with one guy who used profane phrases that I had to have explained to me. I didn’t even understand them. He was also quite a bit older than me and tried to use that fact to intimidate me into backing off what I knew was right.
Then there is the “politician”, the person who appears to be looking after someone else’s best interest, maybe their employees, maybe their management, but they really have an angle on how this is in their best interest. You have to have discernment to see through that as well.
ED: That’s great. The Holy Spirit enters your life the moment that you become a Christ follower. The first thing after you say that you are going to turn from your sinfulness and ask Christ into your life, the very first thing He does, is put the Holy Spirit within you. It is the Holy Spirit’s occupation, His labor of love, so to speak, to do an inside job on us selfish people and to help change us. And John, it sounds like it is happening in your life with those difficult people. Thanks for sharing that with us.
Last, but not least, Anita Vanetti. Anita, you work for Channel 8. You are in the secular media world, dog eat dog arena. We have talked about temptation and I can just imagine the temptations that you have to deal with. Talk about some of them that you are dealing with now.
ANITA: One problem I have is that every single day I have to deal with issue of putting God as a priority, because work becomes a priority with deadline, deadline, deadline. I am doing live shots, running here and there, getting interviews all over the place, all of the time. Pressure, pressure, pressure. It is really hard to keep God in perspective in that. I find myself inserting little prayers but then going on with something else. By the time the day is over I may feel that I have forgotten about God. Then I have to reflect about that.
The other issue has to do with sensationalizing stories. There are a lot more choices out there. People have cable and you can turn in to all different kinds of things. So it is much more competitive today and the temptation is there to kind of soup up a story, make it more significant than it was. A brutal murder, a gruesome murder…. I fight that every day. But a murder is a murder. What I try to do to solve that problem is remember the truth of the story and apply that truth while leaving out the adjectives unless there is something that does enhance the story in a positive way or helps to explain it better. At Channel 8 we try hard to not soup it up. For example, the recent airplane crash. We tell you the news about it, but we also feel an obligation to give you a solution or some kind of conclusion to it so that it doesn’t just leave you with the deaths. For instance, here is a number to call to find out if it was someone you knew, or if you are upset and would like to talk to a counselor. Or we say, this is the reason for the crash and this is what the FAA is doing about it and this is why you don’t have to be afraid or paranoid when flying. So we try to get back around to giving a solution instead of scaring everybody to death.
ED: Being a single woman, Anita, what are the things that you are dealing with out there on a daily basis.
ANITA: As a woman, I am also a target. I am on television a lot in the mornings, at noon and at 5 PM and people see me. I guess because they have a remote control in their hand, they are watching me with a telescope there, just like I watch you when trying to get both sides of the story and struggling to get interviews. There is always a predator element out there that is watching me. I am also a target of some of these predators and it can be sexual predators. I have a stalker. He calls me and tells me that he is going to rape me. It is hard.
ED: You mentioned last night at our Saturday night service that people sometimes try to use you because they believe that they have a great story.
ANITA: They have a story and they believe in it and they want to use me for that story and they don’t like it when I get the other side of that story. I have to really search for the truth because a lot of people are motivated to have a certain kind of story and they don’t like it when I just tell the facts. They want their side and only their side to be aired. So we have to be real careful to balance that out. Also, there are problems with sexual harassment. Being a woman, I find that men who realize we have to use them for an interview will say something very inappropriate to me or approach me in an inappropriate ways, touch me in inappropriate ways. But it is a power thing. Either they think they can or they use my vulnerability of needing that interview to act that way. But, conversely, because I am a woman of faith, I can turn it aside. Jesus teaches us all about forgiveness. And if He can forgive people for hanging Him on the cross, I can certainly forgive somebody for being weak or powerless or trying to push my buttons. When I go home at the end of the day, I can ask myself how much it effected my life, and then choose to balance out my life. I pray about it. Too many people, I think, think that reporters are immoral people. I am a Christian. I try to live a Christ-like life. I think a lot of reporters, especially in this Dallas market, are Christ-loving and worshipful people.
ED: It is surprising to me how many media men and women attend our church.
ANITA: And not just in television, but in radio and newspaper. We can’t always insert faith statements in what we do, we can express our faith by being truthful and honest, by being complete, by being balanced and trying to stay away from inflammatory and unhealthy things. We can get our ideas in there about how to get along with people. But with all the death, doom and destruction, and other things entailed in my work, I really need to go to church. I always leave refreshed and renewed. It is a balancing factor.
ED: In talking to people after the service, many say that they didn’t really want to come but then add that they are so glad they did. God has something that He wants to say specific to me even though I am the primary teacher. He has something that He wants to say to all of us. That is why church attendance is so important. I love what you said, Anita, about the solution thing, that you not only report the facts and the truth but that you also give solutions.
I want to play off that a little bit and tie this up and give you some solutions in the areas that we talked about. Remember Paul, the CEO, Tiger Woods Jr. Paul talked about impact and he also talked about reviewing what he did and how he handled people every day. That is my challenge to you and also to myself. Every night before you go to bed review how you treated people, the words that you used, the attitudes that you displayed. The Psalmist said, search me and know my heart. Once we begin to do that, it will help us begin the next day relying on the Holy Spirit to a greater and greater degree. If you are a believer, you are the only Jesus that many people will ever see. So do that evaluation daily.
We talked to Vicki Ingram about her vocation. Whatever you do, whether you are a homemaker or a CEO, on a construction site or a basketball court, you were put there by God Himself. Everything we do should be an act of worship. And for it to be an act of worship, we should think about priorities. What are your priorities and what are you doing to hold them high and true and to keep them in line with the Bible. God, spouse if it applies, children if you have them, work and church.
Then we move over to the coaches and the issue of workalcholism. A lot of us are dealing with this. That is why we should stop working and start worshipping regularly. That is why we should get involved in the local church. That is why we should have a regular date night, a time when we draw away. Maybe some of us need to include our children more in what we do.
Maybe you deal with difficult people regularly, like John. Maybe you are dealing with someone right now who is wearing you out. Maybe the person is a jerk or an igmo that we talked about. Proverbs 15:1, watch you tone and remember too that God often puts difficult people in our paths as a test, as a character builder. If you know John very well, you know that John is a man of great character, not flawless but great character. And one of the reasons is that he is seeing dealing with difficult people through the eyes of God.
And finally, Anita, the solution to temptation. Temptation is real. The Bible says that temptation is not the sin, it is the trap of temptation. You face many temptations that we will not face, yet you regularly think about God’s take on it, you regularly know that you need to avoid the traps. It is much more difficult to live the Christian life. Christianity is not an easy thing. It is far easier to say, well if it feels good, do it. Yet, once we know Christ, He will give us the strength to do it. When we talk about temptation, we know that the Evil One’s power is second only to the power of Christ. We have the greatest One in our lives. But the Evil One is real, powerful and wants all of us to take a swan dive into the cesspool of sin.
I really believe these words have been challenging to us. And you can see from these on the stage that they are living out what is being taught from the Bible weekly here. So it is my prayer that you can find someone on stage that you can connect with, say hi and thank them for their words. And think about those things that we have discussed over the last five week. I guarantee you something. The next five weeks will even be better than the previous five as we continue to do this great process called CORPORATE MAKEOVER.