Powerful Christian Business Strategies

Join us in talking to Tom Kereszti, former CEO, author, and founder of Leadership Disciples. He’s also a leadership coach that helps people apply servant leadership principles from a Biblical Foundation.

We will specifically be talking about how following Jesus can teach us valuable Christian business leadership skills that we can use in our career. These principles are especially valuable in pertaining to starting or managing a business, as Tom will discuss the importance of managing people through the perspective of servant leadership.

We’ll also dive into Tom’s latest book “C-Suite and Beyond”. He talks about an example in his book that references how people are always watching our actions. Even if we don’t realize it, we ARE LEADING PEOPLE!

Christian Business Strategies Conversation Transcript:

Brent: When you look at the message that Jesus put out.

Man, what an amazing marketing tactic. It’s wild, right? I This was something that took place without Twitter, without Facebook, without telephones, without TV. ,

And from a marketing standpoint, that is just a really profound thing to happen.

Tom Kereszti: I’ll even take it a step further for you. If you use that marketing analogy. He was the first, quote unquote door to door salesman with a sampling technique. So if you basically think about Jesus, right? How did he get his his business plan off the ground? So he came out with a vision statement and then the other thing he came out was, he didn’t start and spent a lot of money on advertising.

Brent: Welcome to the Jesus Taught Me That Podcast. Today we’re talking to Tom Kereszti, former CEO, author, and founder of Leadership Disciples. He’s also a leadership coach that helps people apply servant leadership principles from a biblical foundation.

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Tom welcome. One thing that I really enjoy learning about people, is just what makes them, them and how you got to where you are. And I believe a lot of that for you is based upon a biblical foundation. And so I want to dive a little bit deeper into how that has influenced you in very specific ways and really want to understand how you think about that in terms of leadership.

Tom Kereszti: So look the great thing about biblical foundation is what I call absolute truths. So biblical. Scripture is what I refer to as absolute truth, so that there’s, No gray area in the Bible. As opposed to today’s society, everything becomes gray and everybody, but it’s the truth is in the eyes of the beholder.

So if I think it’s true and it’s my truth, which may be different than your truth, then we have a debate about, what is true, it’s, it doesn’t have that common ground that we need to say, okay, This is right, and this is wrong. And that’s defined in the Bible, right?

So for example, in in businesses we can say I’m not really dishonest, I’m just cheating a little bit. I’m just, leaving some facts out I’m not really giving all the truth about this particular product to my customers. I, or I’m misleading the customers a little bit about what my product will do as I’m lying to the customers.

If you go by biblical truths there’s a lot of scripture that basically says about dishonest scales for example. There’s, a lot of biblical truth about, not lying but having the integrity and doing what you would say, a lot of stuff in Proverbs that you can read.

It guides your behavior, it guides your characteristics if you believe in absolute truth. And what I would say to you is if you have two different companies, And they both sell an identical product and they both manufactured the identical product. And one company is run by biblical principles and the other, one’s not the one that’s run by biblical principles will always be a lot more successful.

Because again, you talk about, servant leadership. That company that is run by biblical principles is not going to try to cheat their customers. We went out, I was working for Colgate-Palmolive, that was one of my first jobs and they were famous for this, th they would launch this super fantastic product.

And it was like flying off the shelf and then somebody would come and they say, okay, let’s do a cost savings analysis. Not if only you take about 2% of the ag active ingredients. And this product with the consumer knows they run a test and say, oh, consumer didn’t notice. So let’s stick to it. We make more profit and it keeps selling a product.

And then six months later, somebody else would come around and say, let’s do another case study and let’s see if we could take another 2% out. So they would do this. And then, after about two, two and a half years, the product stopped selling and everybody’s surprised why the hell is it stop selling?

Because it doesn’t work anymore. It took out all the active ingredients in it. But if you basically say, look, yeah, I’m going to run by business led biblical principles, and I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to cheat the customer. I still have a healthy profit, let’s not get greedy.

And let’s just, give to the customer. We promised them. You know, let’s not try to shortchange him. Let’s not try to over gouge them. Let’s not try to rip him off. What a novel idea, just treat the customer right. With some some benefits and that’s, biblical again, it’s it’s an absolute truth now, a lot of customers do a lot of companies do that, right?

So there are a lot of audits companies that don’t cheat the customer. And that’s what I’m saying by, if one is run by biblical principles, it’s always going to be more successful. They may not realize that they’re running their business on biblical principles. They may just think it makes common good sense, but the fact is those common, good sense ideas are based on biblical foundations.

Christian Leadership Traits To Implement

Brent: I think that is an amazing point. And one thing that I do think that I can pull out of that, is that even if we’re not choosing a certain type of leadership, we still are right? The definition of not choosing something, we’re still choosing to do the opposite of that.

I think it makes a lot of sense to look at a model that has been proven, a model that has gone before you, and has impacted people in a very positive way, that you want to pattern after.

Tom Kereszti: If I may refer back to the book, I talk about those four keys to leadership success. And when I wrote the book, what gave me the inspiration was I looked at all my life as a successful leader. And I said, When I was failing in life, or if a company that was leading, wasn’t doing well were those four keys all there or was something missing?

And what I came to the conclusion is every time. I was failing or company was not doing well, one of those keys or mold, or more than one of those keys, wasn’t firing, I wasn’t there. And then I said, okay let me take a look at the times that I was successful. And the times that I turned companies around and the companies were doing well where those four keys evident and the answer was, yes.

So I said, okay let me look at some other folks, maybe it’s just me. So let me look at some other companies, some other folks. And do that analogy still holds water and it did. So that gave me inspiration to, to write the book and made it fun to put all these personal stories in there too, to make it an enjoyable read.

But those four key principles are all biblically based and those four keys. So for example, if you take something like that, vision is extremely important to a company. And so I don’t know, Simon Sinek says, it says it a little bit differently. It’s he calls it, what is their, why?

So they, they have a why and one example he uses is Kodak. Simon says they lost their why. Which means they lost their vision. And they had a great vision when they first started. And then through generations of the fund management, they veered off that vision and they started chasing the shiny logic.

And when companies start chasing the sign shiny little object, which is, the latest trend, our competitors doing it. So we have to do it too, or the other famous one is can we afford not to do that? A lot of times you hear that. But what if you traced true to yourself and you.

Stay true to that vision. And you don’t veer off of that because look, vision doesn’t change every five years, a vision is a longterm commitment. I’ll just, it’s just for companies. So for business sake, I’ll just share a couple of them. One is I love is Coca-Cola right now, Coca-Cola, before internet, when you just had their paper annual report, what you found is the vision statement, or, sometimes they call a mission statement, a vision statement.

But to me it’s the same thing, but it says we refresh the word. If you could go to Coca-Cola’s website, you still see, we have refresh their world. It’s so simple, right? So it’s about refreshment. So whatever product they are doing, it’s a refreshing product and it has global distribution implications.

So we refresh the world. So when you know, Bezos and Elon Musk, colonize, Mars, Coca-Cola is going to be up there. I can guarantee you, right? Cause that’s going to be the new definition or a world. And now if you’re starting to look at Coca-Cola they’re starting to lose their way a little bit because they’re starting to enter into products which are nonrefreshing.

They’re also starting to, have business decisions influenced by social social impact, of what they think is right socially or wrong socially. So now they’re influencing their business decisions on what they hear socially, what they deemed socially acceptable, not acceptable.

And I’m not saying they’re right or wrong, they’re impacting their business decision-making not on their vision, but other factors and that is dangerous for any company. So if you have a clear vision stick to it. That’s a long term roadmap of how you run your company and look, your strategic plan should be always a growth, strategic plan.

That may change every three, four or five years. In fact, the way large companies plan is you have a three-year strategic plan. And the first year of that strategic plan becomes your budget for next year. And then, when next year comes around and you look at that three-year plan again and say, okay, how do I adjust it?

What’s my next year’s budget. And that’s pretty much how the cookie crumbles in a large organization when you’re doing your planning and budgeting cycle, but you don’t look at your vision statement every two or three years to say, oh, I think I want to change it. That vision statement doesn’t make sense anymore.

If you’re doing that, then you know, you’re doomed to failure. That’s one of the really important things that, that I think again, are biblically founded. When you look at a vision statement, Jesus had a very simple mission statement, believe in one God.

And he’s the gateway to that god, because he’s the son of God. It’s a pretty simple concept and it’s pretty simple vision. And here we are, 2200 years later, it’s still, following the same vision, it hasn’t changed. We believe in the same God, we believe in the Trinity, the holy spirit, the son and the father.

So the vision hasn’t changed. It if it did, if it changed every a hundred years, 200 years, I can tell you Christianity, it wouldn’t be here.

The Jesus Marketing Strategy

Brent: What I think is really neat, regardless of what you believe. When you look at the message that Jesus put out.

Man, what an amazing marketing tactic. It’s wild, right? I This was something that took place without Twitter, without Facebook, without telephones, without TV. ,

Just. Spread like crazy,

and from a marketing standpoint, that is just a really profound thing to happen.

Brent: And I think, there are maybe other examples that we could look at, but I think it’s hard to find something that has happened to that same capacity.

Tom Kereszti: I’ll even take it a step further for you. If you use that marketing analogy. He was the first, quote unquote door to door salesman with a sampling technique. So if you basically think about Jesus, right? How did he get his his business plan off the ground? So he came out with a vision statement and then the other thing he came out was, he didn’t start and spent a lot of money on advertising.

No a sermon on the mound came pretty late in, in his career where he actually had a mass that he was, preaching to his first acts were all miracles. And I would call that sampling. Jesus was sampling door to door and said okay here’s a sample. I’m going to heal the lame and here’s a sample I’m going to cure the blind.

Then here’s a sample I’m going to raise the dead. And here’s a sample of the first sample was I’m going to turn water into wine. So he was sampling. To get people to believe in his product, one unquote, his product, which was he’s the son of God. And, he’s the gateway to the father.

And he did that through sampling to get people to believe in, to, to buy into him. If you’re starting off a small startup company, get yourself a strong vision and start with sales, nothing happens until you start selling and sampling. So his sale was conversion.

He converted believers. And how did he convert believers? He sampled them, right? One-on-one like a door to door salesman so that’s, a simplification, but there’s a lot of parallels between how you started a business and how Jesus started his ministry. Talk about biblical foundations.


Brent: Yeah, absolutely. And he was able to scale it. So if we’re translating this to a business, really understand that mantra, really understand the vision, really understand where we’re going. He allowed a few people to really understand that so deeply. And then they went out in return helped other people to understand that so deeply.

And then they in turn, went out and helped other people to understand that so deeply.

Tom Kereszti: Yeah. And then, I’ll just go a little bit further than this rabbit hole.

The other thing I talk about in the book is every organization has a great culture, right? It’s a unique culture to and there’s no such thing as a right or wrong culture, but there is just a culture and an organization that doesn’t pay attention and let’s culture develop on its own without paying attention to and without, being conscious about it can get herself into trouble real quickly. But so again, if you look Jesus, if you look at Jesus and his 12 disciples, they had a culture of love, right? If you sum up one culture, for that it’s love, love your neighbor.

Love God love each other. So it was all about love. And every time somebody stepped out of line of that Jesus corrected them and scorned them. So it says, okay that’s really not representative of what we’re about, which is the love culture. So that, that’s another one where, organizations have to have a very clearly defined culture, which is simple enough for people to understand that they can buy into.

And then there’s no dissension from that culture, you can, Hey, Peter, I know you want to chop that guy’s ear off, that’s not love. So you know that’s not us, don’t do that. That’s not us. You’re arguing about who’s going to be the, the best of you, right?

Whoever is the least. Whoever treats the kids, the children like first and I’m paraphrasing here on scripture, but that’s going to be the first, so again, servant leader, servant leadership. So it was all part of that culture and they all had to live it otherwise, JC would say you’re out of line, man.

That’s not us. And so getting in line and live our culture.

Following Jesus Christ’s Example By Impacting Others

Brent: Yeah, absolutely. I agree. So many amazing lessons to be learned there, Tom, something that I do want to make sure that we talk about in this episode is something that I noticed in your book that I think is really powerful.

You gave an example in your book of something very small that you did. I think you were in another country and someone messaged you on Facebook and just told you how much you had impacted them in your message that you’re giving out. And I think that we overlook that so easily today. I think that so many people are forgetting that everything that we do is being seen, it’s being watched by someone it’s impacting someone in one way or another positively or negatively.

And I think that also so many people are focused on doing something that is seen by the world. Rather than realizing how much of an impact focusing on one person can have and how much of that can change that person’s world.

Tom Kereszti: Look, the first thing you have to be is, again, answer the question of knowing who you are and knowing who you are doesn’t mean, what you do for a living. It doesn’t mean what the color your skin is, what your gender is.

It’s knowing what you’re about, knowing what your, why is and being consistent. Doing what you’re actually say and be very consistent because in that particular case it, that incident played out over, probably about two or three year, period of time. And if I was inconsistent with my message, whether it was my words or my actions that person would have said this guy is all over the place.

So what is he really actually all about? Just for the benefit of your audience what happened here was when Facebook became popular I was general manager in in Prague back in 19, 19 96 or something. And about 2006 is I think when Facebook started becoming, relevant.

So maybe it was, a good 10 years later, or even that, maybe more than that. And at that time it was very popular for people to, names would pop up and, searching for old classmates and whatever and reaching out and making that connection. So one day I get this message and said, are you the Tom Kereszti that used to live in Prague.

So look, there’s not a lot of Kereszti’s in the world, right? Especially ones that lived in Prague. So I answered to her. I said, yes, I am, but I do apologize. I don’t know who you are so I can help you. So she’s she said I just want to thank you for changing my life. That was the message.

So Kathy, my wife looked at it. She goes yeah. That’s a girl. That was part of my oldest daughter. She was part of the youth group and Kathy and I were very much involved with the youth group of the kids and, spent a lot of time with them. I didn’t even remember this young lady.

And obviously she was, much younger, probably. She was probably about 14 or 16 at the time. Yeah, and I don’t know what I did. I don’t know what I said. But I think it was a collection of my actions over a period of two, two and a half years while we were working with a youth group that, changed their life and, made her accept Christ and become a Christian.

So people are always watching you people at work are watching you, people in your social circle are watching you, everybody’s always watching. And if you’re consistent and you’re delivering a consistent message between your words and your actions, people will buy into you. And when they buy into you then you’ve got something.

Another story, I had a a good friend, Dave, and he and I met riding Harleys together. We used to ride all the California roads at Harley Davidson. Dave was dating Linda at the time. And it was probably about a year after Dave and I got to know each other and went out on rides about, just every other weekend and stuff.

And so we went out to dinner with Linda and Kathy Emmy and Dave and Linda said to me, she says, I just want to thank you and I said for what. She goes not since they’ve started hanging out with you. He’s become very different guy. So again, I, didn’t preach to Dave, but I didn’t do anything.

I was just hanging out together and people observe what you do, and they either buy into it or they don’t buy into it. And if they buy into it, then you know, you, you can start influencing in them in, in, in what you think is right.

Brent: Those are both really good stories. And I have witnessed something relatively similar to your first story.

I’ve seen play out in something that I have personally seen and, it’s amazing when you see that happen. And when you realize that this was an experience that you didn’t realize the impact that it had I had on someone, it was just a normal interaction for you and you dismissed and you went on with your life, but that one moment completely changed, apparently this other individual’s life.

And when you see that, and when you’ve witnessed something like that, I think it can really change your perspective on some of the actions and how you want to live your life going forward. And to your point remaining consistent. I think that is a huge one.

Tom, I have enjoyed it. Thank you for coming on and just departing some of your wisdom. I do want to encourage everyone go check out the book. It’s C-suite and Beyond. The four keys to leadership success. I believe you said you can find that on Amazon or I guess anywhere that sells books and it’s probably referenced on your website as well leadershipdisciples.com

Christian Business Strategies

Tom Kereszti: I hope you if I said something that made sense to somebody in your audience and they just got one or two nuggets then it’s been a blessing for me and it’s been a blessing for you.

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