“There are many reasons people go into business. I think the easiest explanation is that we are created in the image of God and God is the creator of everything. Colossians 1:16 stats: “Everything got started in Him [Christ, the Son of God] and finds its purpose in Him,” If humans are created in the image of God and God is a creator, then humans are meant to be sub-creators with God. I believe that business is a reflection of the creative side of humans inspired by God. That is also why I find business fascinating….
Now that I am a Christian, I know I can make a difference in the world for the glory of God through business. [My Christian duty is] to bring shalom to the world [by] practice resurrection on broken things. I want to fulfill these duties and I know that through business this is possible….
God led me to Trinity for a reason. I know Trinity can help me grow in my field. I know that I will be equipped with the tools necessary for becoming a marketable employee. Furthermore, I know that Trinity will equip me spiritually.”
To assure relevance, education has to be a partnership between college and community. In a capstone business class, for example, the community may be represented by experienced practitioners who serve as both coaches and clients. The college is represented by students and faculty. Both faculty and practitioners, then, could coach students, helping them to apply newly learned business concepts and provide fresh perspective on existing business problems for organizational clients. We call such a class “Org Consulting.”
The syllabus looks like this:
- Student teams meet with faculty at least once per week.
- Before a semester begins, faculty and clients outline the scope and “deliverables” of a consulting project.
- Once the semester begins, students are introduced to clients and continue the negotiation on the “statement of work” with help from faculty.
- Students then meet with practitioner coaches to review the situation and get advice on “tightening up” the statement of work, including their problem statement and approach (research plan/methodology) to collect data to solve the problem, and what the students will provide the client at the end of the semester.
- Student teams then seek approval of the statement of work from the client.
- Halfway through the semester the student teams meet with their practitioner coaches to review the status of their methodology and hypotheses regarding the underlying problem (that is, their diagnosis of the problem underlying the problem statement) and solution strategies).
- The student teams then meet with their client to review their progress, share their findings, and test their underlying diagnosis and solution strategies.
- At the end of the semester the student teams meet one last time with client with their practitioners coaches in attendance to tell the story from problem statement to diagnose to solution strategy to implementation plan. The client and practitioner coaches (the community) then provide evaluation feedback for the faculty and students.
To assure relevance, education has to be a partnership between college and community.
*Special thanks to great students, coaches (Aaron, Cal, Jim, Seth, Virgil) and clients (Jordan Vande Kamp(AppProvider), Ryan Hesslau (foreverU), Chicago Semester, Palos Area Chamber of Commerce, Providence Bank & Trust, Providence Life Services, Royal Oak Landscaping) for a great Fall, 2016 Semester!
- Keyante Aytch, 3Dime Designs, DePaul University (IL)
- Michael Black, ParkingBee, Pennsylvania State University (PA)
- Linwood Butler, MT Music Transporter, University of Tampa (FL)
- Claire Coder, AuntFlow, Ohio State University (OH)
- Vinesh Kannan, Omnipointment, Illinois Institute of Technology (IL)
- Arjun Kapoor, Scala Computing, Inc., University of Chicago (IL)
- Tom Kruse, Win-Kel Peer-to-Peer Storage, Indiana University (IN)
- Jason Lees, GoSpot, Northwood University (MI)
- Jekolia Matuszewicz, UhTa Ancient Brews, Colorado College (CO)
- Eddy Mejia, ShoeBoxOne, University of Illinois at Chicago (IL)
- Dulbadrakh (Daniel) Natsagdorj, Urban Delivery, University of Illinois at Chicago (IL)
- Gabe Owens, WiNot, Washington University in St. Louis (MO)
- Matthew Rooda, SwineTech, Inc., University of Iowa (IA)
- Pranay Singh, Averia Health, University of Chicago (IL)
- Parisa Soraya, Find Your Ditto, University of Michigan (MI)
- Riley Tart, MidTrade, Auburn University (AL)
- Jordan VandeKamp, ApptProvider, Trinity Christian College (IL)
- Ben Weiss, Zcruit, Northwestern University (IL)
START Consulting is a “dream team” of Trinity Christian College students working under the auspices of the Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment. Some are Bachelor of Science students majoring in Accounting, Entrepreneurial Management, Human Resource Management, Finance, or Marketing who already have project experience because it is part of their major. Others seeking advanced business experience are students majoring in Art, Communication, Computer Science, Digital Design, English, etc. who assist as needed.
All are project-based learners with a passion for learning and serving collaboratively.
Why Do They Do It?
We are called and endowed by God to do good work. Trinity Business faculty and alums empower students to discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling to do that work through personal, practical, and professional education. START Consulting provides advanced learning that pushes students even further.
How Do They Do It?
START Consultants are coached by experts: practitioners and scholars. We learn from a healthy, holistic mix of perspectives across disciplines, experience levels, and generations, the kind of mix that results in creative ideas.
What Do They Do?
START Consultants work as a team on projects for for-profit and non-profit organizations. Their work involves collecting primary and secondary research and analysis, developing marketing strategies, and creating implementation plans. They help client firms explore new markets and new product ideas or help them see old ones in new ways. They think outside the box because they don’t see the box. They facilitate innovation.
In Leadership Jazz Max DePree focuses on the integration of voice and touch.
- Voice is related to what a leader believes
- Touch is related to a leader’s competence and resolve
Finding One’s Voice
“[A] leader’s voice is the expression of one’s beliefs….A leader’s touch demonstrates competence and resolve…” (p. 5).
“Leadership can never stop at words. Leaders must act, and they do so only in the context of their beliefs. Without action or principles, no on can become a leader” (p. 6).
“Leadership is…not a position but a job. It’s also a serious meddling in other people’s lives. One examines leadership beginning not with techniques but rather with premises, not with tools but with beliefs, and not with systems but with understandings” (p. 7).
“A jazz band is an expression of servant leadership. The leader of the band has the beautiful opportunity to draw the best out of other musicians. We have much to learn from jazz-band leaders, for jazz, like leadership, combines the unpredictability of the future with the gifts of individuals” (p. 9).
Five criteria for faithfulness in leadership:
- “Integrity in all things” (p. 10).
- “The servanthood of leadership” (p. 10).
- “Accountability for others” (p. 11).
- The “practice of equity” (p. 11).
- Vulnerability (p. 12).
A Key Called Promise
“[The] goals of the organization are best met when the goals of people in the organization are met at the same time” (p. 23).
“Any follower has the right to ask many things of her leader….
- “What may I expect of you?
- Can I achieve my own goals by following you?
- Will I reach my potential by working with you?
- Can I entrust my future to you?
- Have you bothered to prepare yourself for leadership?
- Are you ready to be ruthlessly honest?
- Do you have the self-confidence and trust to let me do my job?
- What do you believe?” (p. 24).
“From a leader’s perspective, the most serious betrayal has to do with thwarting human potential, with the quenching of the spirit, with failing to deal equitably with each other as human beings” (p. 34).
“Leaders must speak to followers; we must let them know where and how we stand on important issues. We constantly make decisions and evaluate results in light of what we believe” (p. 36).
“Vulnerability in a leader enables others to do their best and to be fully accountable. And, of course, being vulnerable to the strengths of other people also makes the leader vulnerable to their weaknesses” (p. 41).
“Preparation for leadership does not come from books. Books sometimes give you an insight or an outline, but real preparation consists of hard work and wandering in the desert, much feedback, much forgiveness, and the yeast of failure” (pp. 42, 43).
“Everybody battles for success; too few people are aware of its profound impact. Success tends to breed arrogance, complacency, and isolation. Success can close the mind faster than prejudice. Success if fragile, like a butterfly. We usually crush the life out of it in our efforts to possess it” (p. 47).
“[The] mystery around potential is so great that even the most perceptive of us cannot look at a person and decide for certain whether or not she’ll be good at this or that, whether or not she’ll become a sales manager or vice president — or even the best shortstop you ever saw. We really should be in awe of human potential” (p. 53).
“We are dealing with God’s mix, people made in God’s image, a compelling mystery” (p. 57).
“I like to think of management in two broad categories, scientific and tribal. The tribal is certainly the most important and, while palpable is quite difficult to grasp and nurture….Tribal means shared goals but different and separate responsibilities….You can’t be hired into a tribe. Joining a tribe results in a certain intimacy. This intimacy links the talents and skills that each of us brings to the job and the corporation on behalf of our customers–with marvelously delightful and worthwhile results” (pp. 70, 71).
“I happen to believe that a large part of the secret [to renewal and innovation and vitality] lies in how individual leaders in a great variety of settings make room for people with creative gifts and temporarily become followers themselves” (p. 94).
“How does a leader approach the process of creative work?
- A leader protects unusual persons from the bureaucracy and legalism so ensconced in our organizations. A leader remains vulnerable to real surprise and to true quality….
- A leader works with creative people without fear…” (pp. 96, 97).
“A writer, when asked why he wrote, replied, ‘Because I have to, not because I want to'” (p. 102).
“The lore of life, the way to one’s voice, comes more from mistakes than achievements, more from listening than talking, more from these teachers and enablers than from one’s own understanding” (pp. 111, 112).
“Have you taken five to ponder the nature of the contribution that other people make to your leadership? I highly recommend it” (p. 114).
Give the Gift of Change
“Some gifts to ponder:
- Space–to be the kind of person I can be.
- Opportunity–to serve.
- Challenge–constraints are enabling friends.
- Clarity–in objectives, in evaluation, and in feedback.
- Authenticity–that gives hierarchy its true value, that gives me the right to offer my gifts, that neither overlooks nor oppresses.
- Meaning–a lasting foundation of hope.
- Accountability–a result of love.
- Conscience–that forbids people to enjoy apathy or debilitating ease…”
and “an ethos for change” (p. 141).
“A good leader says, “I love you enough to make you accountable. You have the right to be part of this task” (p. 155).
“As I see it, delegation requires a form of dying, a separation of issue from self. We must surrender or abandon ourselves to the gifts that other people bring to the game. We must become vulnerable to every person’s need to do her best….This means to me that we must go beyond learning a single skill or specific knowledge to acquiring the art and grace of a job” (pp. 157, 158).
“As someone once said, in delegating, leaders give roots and they give wings” (p. 160).
“Polishing gifts is different than career development” (p. 169).
“To be an amateur means literally that you do something for the love of it” (p. 188)”.
“Amateurs simply don’t know what they can’t do” (p. 193).
“I’ve often asked myself, ‘Are the poorest sandlot baseball players chosen last because they commit so many errors? Or do they commit errors because they’re chosen last?” (p. 198).
Many college students work in teams. Many engage in project-based learning. Some apply and test their knowledge, skills, and values by engaging in consulting projects, working on problems/questions given them by businesses and non-profit organizations.
Many times the students are advised by a faculty member, only ONE faculty member, their professor. But professors, even if they have Ph.Ds and years of work experience, have limited knowledge and wisdom. Their perspectives and perceptions are based on and biased by their own unique experiences. Think of the fable of the blind men and the elephant. Each of us is “blinded” by our own point of view. Thus the quality of students’ consulting work is limited by the professor’s and the students’ particular experiences (or lack thereof).
Here’s how wise practitioners add value (help us see the “elephants”):
- Give insight into the client’s problem/opportunity
- Give insight on the internal workings of the student team
- Give insight on the consulting process
- Give insight on the academic program
- Give insight on what is holding us back!
Engaging alumni and friends in the education process is part of our not-so-secret sauce.
Asking them to advise (consult) our student consultants on intra-curricular and extra-curricular projects is just one way to do that.
And the best advisers do that simply by providing analogies and asking insightful questions.
We are created, called, and endowed by God to do good work. Trinity Business empowers students to discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling to do that work through personal, practical, and professional learning experiences.
- PERSONAL: we offer individual students the attention and opportunities they need to flourish—we are a small college community networked into the immense City of Chicago.
- PRACTICAL: we offer students the ability to apply their talents and knowledge through our project-based course-work (e.g., students who are coached by consultants to consult with clients) , Chicago Semester, and our Center for Entrepreneurship and Community Empowerment, which sponsors “speed interviewing,” a community health initiative focused on interdisciplinary research and education, a student consulting team (START Consulting), and student entrepreneurs (START Entrepreneurs).
- PROFESSIONAL: we offer students specialized Bachelor of Science degrees in Accounting, Entrepreneurial Management, Human Resource Management, Finance, and Marketing. The result is that students develop Universal Student Business Qualities* and the particular skills of strategic analysis and innovation in those distinct but related business fields.
And in return students inspire us with their innovative spirit. For example, recently two of our students, Jordan VandeKamp and Craig VanderGalien, were named semi-finalists at Chicago-based Future Founders’ UPitch2016 competition along with teams from the Big Ten and other Division 1 schools. They were the crowd favorite, winning the Venture Award.
Trinity Business is a great system to be part of!
*Universal Student Business Qualities
- Effective in Teams
- Critical in Thinking
- Faithful in Living
- Innovative and Creative
- Technically Competent
Speed Interviewing is a accessible and effective venue for students to learn from alums.
The event works like this: instructors of introduction to business courses form student teams around common career aspirations and alums in those careers are invited and assigned to be interviewed by student teams. In under an hour student teams interview alums in 15-minute intervals for a total of three rounds.
Why do instructors do it? To help introduce students to business disciplines (accounting, entrepreneurial management, finance, marketing, etc) and organizational culture from the perspective of people who practice those disciplines as a career and even calling. Why do instructors do that? Ultimately to empower students to better understand themselves and organizational culture so that they can better envision what life after college looks like so they can make more informed decisions about their academic program and career expectations.
But Speed Interviewing is only the beginning of our learning.
Here are examples of the questions students ask:
- What type of work do you do?
- What skills are especially needed to do your work well?
- What did you major in at Trinity? How did that help you with the work you do?
- How would you describe your career path?
- How would you characterize your leadership style?
- How would you characterize the culture of your organization?
- What advice do you have for current students?
Visit a destination (incubator**);
get ready to launch
Encircle early stage start-ups***:
- constraints: what’s holding you back?
- executable plan
Share ideas and ask for feedback
Learn from and laugh with others
Share life lessons
- Success = pivots
- Success = focus away from self
See old friends and make new ones!
*Thanks to Hope College and Trinity Christian College students and alums for attending!
**Thanks to Omar Sweiss (1871) and Ethan Adams (Future Founders) for the tour!
***Thanks to Mackenzi Huyser and Kendra Wright of Chicago Semester for hosting e-boost Chicago!