High Character Leaders

2013 Work As Worship Conference

In this 37-minute session from the 2013 Work as Worship Conference, Don Soderquist explains the importance of developing values-based leaders. Don is retired COO and Senior Vice Chairman of Walmart Stores, Inc. After joining Walmart in 1980, Don saw the company grow from $1 billion in revenue to over $244 billion when he retired in 2003. He is the founding executive of the Soderquist Center for Leadership and Ethics and author of Live Learn Lead to Make a Difference and The Wal-Mart Way.

As you watch this session, take notes and write down thoughts about how this session can impact the way you lead.

Don noted that the purpose of Walmart was never to be the biggest or the most profitable, but that the values of the company led them to be the best they could possibly be. What are your values? How do they impact the culture of your workplace? Would your employees and coworkers be able to identify your values? Why or why not?
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Don referenced 2 Corinthians 5:20 when he mentioned the Christian's responsibility to be an "ambassador" for Christ in the workplace. A few verses later in 2 Corinthians 6, Paul lists some practical examples of what being Christ's ambassador looks like.

2 Corinthians 6:3-10 (ESV)

3We put no obstacle in anyone’s way, so that no fault may be found with our ministry,4but as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: by great endurance, in afflictions, hardships, calamities,5beatings, imprisonments, riots, labors, sleepless nights, hunger;6by purity, knowledge, patience, kindness, the Holy Spirit, genuine love;7by truthful speech, and the power of God; with the weapons of righteousness for the right hand and for the left;8through honor and dishonor, through slander and praise. We are treated as impostors, and yet are true;9as unknown, and yet well known; as dying, and behold, we live; as punished, and yet not killed;10as sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, yet possessing everything.

Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Look specifically at verses 6–7. How do your values reflect the marks of a Christian ambassador from the passage above? What opposition have you faced because of your Christ-influenced value set? How does remaining steadfast to your values in the midst of opposition testify to their legitimacy?
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Many of the people you work with are hurting. Don acknowledged, "there is a lot of searching going on, there is a vacuum inside them that is not being filled by what the world has to offer, but we know the answer." In what ways are you able to make yourself available to your hurting and searching coworkers?
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Don mentioned that he would frequently ask those in his office if he could pray with them, and that no one ever refused. Have you ever prayed with a coworker? What about a coworker who was not a professing Christian? What reservations do you have about praying with coworkers? What message do you communicate when you take time to pray with a coworker who is facing a struggle?
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Whether you are in a position to impact values company-wide, or only for a small team of fellow employees, the values you promote can serve as a powerful testimony to your faith. As a Christian in the workplace, you have an incredible opportunity to serve as Christ's ambassador.

For information about the upcoming Work as Worship Conference, go to WorkasWorshipConference.org.