Who Is START Consulting?

Who Is START Consulting?

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.

 

Speed Interviewing

 

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?

 

How To Stay Relevant Without Selling Your Soul

By Robert Quinn

Robert Quinn is an expert in transforming leadership.  Here are my favorite quotes from Deep Change.

Preface

Deep Change assumes that one person can change the larger system or organization in which he or she exists (p. xii).

When we have successful experienced a deep change, it inspires us to encourage others to undergo a similar experience….Having experienced deep change in ourselves, we are able to bring deep change to the systems around us (p. xiii).

Our capacity to face uncertainty and function in times of stress and anxiety is linked with our self-confidence, and our level of self-confidence is linked with our sense of increasing integrity.  We are all affected by technical competence or political acumen, but we are more deeply influenced by moral power (xiv).

Chapter 1: Walking Naked In The Land Of Uncertainty

The process of formalization initially makes the organization more efficient or effective.  As time goes on, however, these routine patterns move the organization toward decay and stagnation.  The organization loses alignment with the changing, external reality.  As a result, customers go elsewhere for their products and services, and the organization loses critical resources.  When internal and external alignment is lost, the organization faces a choice: either adapt or take the road to slow death.  Usually the organization can be renewed, energized, or made effective only if some leader is willing to take some big risks by stepping outside the well-defined boundaries.  When this happens, the organization is lured, pushed, or pulled into unknown territory (p. 5).

We can change the world only by changing ourselves (p. 9).

Traditional learning is learning linked with the past–it is learning something that someone else already knows.  “Traveling naked into the land of uncertainty” allows for another kind of learning, a learning that helps us forget what we know and discover what we need (p. 12).

Chapter 2: Confronting The Deep Change Or Slow Death Dilemma

A victim is a person who suffers a loss because of the actions of others.  A victim tends to believe that salvation comes only from the actions of others.  They have little choice but to whine and wait until something good happens.  Living with someone who chooses to play the victim role is draining; working in an organization where many people have chosen the victim role is absolutely depressing.  Like a disease, the condition tends to spread….When someone makes the initial decision to avoid confronting a difficult situation, a negative process is triggered….Often, without fully realizing it, the person has taken on the victim’s role (p. 21).

We actually seem to prefer slow death.  Slow death is the devil we know, so we prefer it to the devil we do not know (p. 24).

Life is a process of deaths and rebirths (p. 25).

Chapter 3: The Fear Of Change

One key to successful leadership is continuous personal change.  Personal change is a reflection of our inner  growth and empowerment.  Empowered leaders are the only ones who can induce real change.  They can forcefully communicate beyond a level beyond telling.  By having the courage to change themselves, they model the behavior they are asking of others (p. 35).

One of the last things we want to consider is our own selfishness and immaturity.  We resist reflecting on our own fear of change (p. 36).

Chapter 4: The Heroic Journey

The amount of energy we feel has much to do with the alignment between oneself and our surrounding environment.  We can be aligned with our environment in such a way that we feel either strong and empowered or weak and powerless (p. 41).

The hero’s journey is a story of individual transformation, a change of identity.  In embarking on the journey, we must leave the world of certainty.  We must courageously journey to a strange place where there are lots of risks and much is at stake, a place where there are new problems that require us to think in new ways (p. 45).

Chapter 5: Finding Vitality

When an impossible objective is given to people in a large hierarchy and when it is accompanied by immense pressure to produce, the people in the organization will also experience growing pressure to engage in unethical behavior.  An invisible form of corruption at the top, the exercise of authority without concern or demand without support, results in a very visible form of corruption at the bottom (p. 52).

Denial occurs when we are presented with painful information about ourselves, information that suggests that we need to make deep change.  Denial is one of several clear paths toward slow death.  When we practice denial, we work on the wrong solutions or on no solutions at all (p. 52).

We need to watch carefully for signs that we have crossed the invisible line [the line between increasing returns and decreasing returns on our efforts].  When this occurs, we need think about breaking the logic of task pursuit and charting a course toward deep change and renewed vitality (p. 55).

Chapter 6: Breaking The Logic Of Task Pursuit

A hermit, who lived far out in the forest, would cut enough wood each summer to heat his cabin through the winter.  One fall day, he heard on his shortwave radio that an early winter storm was heading for his area.  Because he had not yet cut enough wood, he rushed to his wood pile.  Examining his dull and rusty saw, he realized that it needed sharpening.  He paused for a moment, looked at his watch, looked at the height of his uncut wood pile, and shook his head.  Instead of sharpening his saw, he began to cut.  As he worked, he noted that the saw was getting increasingly dull and that he was working harder and harder.  he told himself repeatedly that he needed to stop and sharpen the saw, but he continued to cut anyway.  At the end of the day, as the snow began to fall, he sat exhausted next to a sizable pile of uncut wood.  This man was not ignorant.  He knew his saw desperately needed sharpening.  He also knew that the more he cut, the duller the blade would become.  Yet he could not bring himself to stop and sharpen the saw.  This man [made himself the — edit by svveen] victim of the logic of task pursuit (p. 59).

Chapter 7: A New Perspective

We have to reinvent ourselves so that we can meaningfully connect with our current world.  This is not such a radical thought; it’s actually an ongoing process  (p. 66).

One way to realign the self is to retell the most important stories in our life….When we repeat one of these stories, we do not tell it exactly.  We recount it from the perspective of our current problem.  It is presented in a unique way that allows us to reconnect our past foundation with our present and future structures.  In fact, what we are really doing is realigning our past to include our present and future (p. 67).

Chapter 8: Confronting The Integrity Gap

The heart of effectiveness, Torbert argues, is building integrity through the constant observation of one’s lack of integrity (p. 76).

Ultimately, deep change, whether at the personal or the organizational level, is a spiritual process.  Loss of alignment occurs when, for whatever reason, we begin to pursue the wrong end.  This process begins innocently enough.  In pursuing some justifiable end, we make a trade-off of some kind.  We know it is wrong, but we rationalize our choice.  We use the end to justify the means.  As time passes, something inside us starts to whither.  We are forced to live at the cognitive level, the rational, goal-seeking level.  We lose our vitality and begin to work from sheer discipline.  Our energy is not naturally replenished, and we experience no joy in what we do.  We are experiencing slow death (p. 78).

Chapter 9: Build The Bridge As You Walk Across It

Organizational and personal growth seldom follows a linear plan….When we have a vision, it does not mean that we have a plan.  We may know where we want to be, but we will seldom know the actual steps we must take to get there.  We must trust in ourselves to learn the way, to build the bridge as we walk on it.  Deep change is an extensive learning process.  When we pursue our vision, we must believe that we have enough courage and confidence in ourselves to reach our goal.  We must leap into the chasm of uncertainty and strive bravely ahead  (p. 84).

Chapter 22: The Power Of One

There comes a time when we all question whether something is right.  At such times, we have to listen and follow our inner voice, even when it means tackling the system and enlisting some unconventional procedures and techniques.  One person can make a difference.  However, deep change comes at a great cost.  Enacting change means taking some risks.  When we take the necessary risks, we become self-empowered.  We begin to better align our internal self with our external world.  As our internal power base grows, we become confident and make genuine progress toward our goal.  We become energized and slowly begin to recognize that we can make a difference.  We begin to understand that one person really can change the system (p. 218, 219).

What Leads to Well-Being?

Being Engaged in a Career

Research from Gallup indicates that people who work according to their strengths are 6.0x more likely to be engaged in a career; and people engaged in a career are 4.6x more likely to experience well-being.

Why Does Being Engaged In A Career Lead To Well-Being?

God created us to work and manage his creation.  Humans flourish when they have the opportunity to be engaged at work.  They are engaged at work when they are empowered to discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and callings.

Our big “C” calling is be holy.   A contributor to becoming holy is using our gifts in ways that glorify God.   A lot can be said here.   But simply stated, we glorify God when we use our talents (Matthew 15:14-30) and walk humbly, love mercy, and seek justice (Micah 6:8).  Our little “c” calling is to do that.

What Leads To Being Engaged In A Career?

Here’s what we know: the odds of being engaged at work are…

  • 2.6x higher if college prepared students well for life outside of college
  • 2.2x higher if students had mentors who encouraged them to pursue their goals and dreams
  • 2.0x higher if at least one professor made them excited about learning
  • 1.9x higher if professors cared about students as people
  • 1.8x higher if students worked on a project that took a semester or more to complete  (Gallup)

In short, God created us to help others discern, develop, and deploy our gifts and calling.

We believe organizations have a responsibility to create those experiences.  This is what we seek to do at Trinity.

 

Soul Entrepreneurship

By Richard J. Goossen and R. Paul Stevens (2013):

“Note the significant dimensions of Christian spirituality.

  • First, it starts with the initiative of a loving God who is seeking a relationship with his creatures.
  • Second, spirituality then is not our attempt to ascend to God by spiritual practices or to discover our own internal divinity, but takes the form of ‘recognition and response.’
  • Third, the result of this responsiveness to seeking God is not that we become angels or religious persons, but more fully human….
  • Fourth, spirituality then is not a once-for-all event but a continuous process that is concrete but never finished.
  • Fifth, the practical outworking of this spirituality is that we align ourselves with God’s intention for his creation, which is the kingdom or pervasive and life-bringing rule of God on earth.  Creating wealth and bringing well-being to people is part of this….
  • Finally, this spirituality is not cultivating extraordinary experiences but rather the infiltration of ordinary life with kingdom justice and holiness” (pp. 64, 65).

“Life, for biblical persons, is total and cannot be segmented into two parts: a disposable and normally evil shell (the body), and an indestructible spirit core (the soul).  Thus the familiar psalm ‘Praise the Lord, my soul; all my inmost being, praise his holy name’ (Psalm 103:1) may be simply and helpfully translated “Praise the Lord, with my whole life!’” (pp. 65, 66).

“Most significant of all, the New Testament hope is not for the immortality of the soul–an essentially Greek concept that involves disparaging the body as a useless encumbrance to the life of the spirit.  Instead, the great hope in Christ after death is the resurrection of the body–full personal and expressive life in a new heaven and a new earth” (p. 66).

“When we receive Christ, we get saved, not just our souls in the Greek sense.  This is a two-stage process.  First, our souls, our inner and longing persons, are substantially saved by being inundated by God’s Spirit, thus giving us new bodily and personal life on earth.  Second, after our death and when Christ comes again, we are given a new and perfect embodiment  through the resurrection of our entire selves, bodies included” (p. 67).

Soul Entrepreneurship

  • “First, it means you go to work as a whole person — not just mind or body, but all that inner yearning and expressiveness that links us with God….
  • Second, as soul persons with capacity to relate to God, we are given ideas, visions and perspectives that can be implemented through entrepreneurial activity.  These may be in the area of church life but also in family life and enterprises in the world….
  • Third, our actual experiences of envisioning, inventing and implementing as entrepreneurs are an arena of spiritual growth….
  • Fourth, being a soul person (and a whole person) means being relationally alive through love.  We are most godlike in relationships….
  • Finally, Christian spirituality and its recognition of a soul dimension to human life and work means that personal growth is not a human achievement (through disciplines and practices) but a response to the Spirit’s initiative….Christian spirituality is…God’s empowering presence calling human beings into dynamic relation and expressiveness” (pp. 68, 69).

The Workplace is the Primary Place for Spiritual Formation

“The marketplace is a location for spiritual formation in three ways.

  • First, it is the place where we get revealed as persons.  Our inside is revealed by what we do outside, bu the way we work, by our relationships with people, by the realities of how we go about doing day to day enterprise….
  • Second, the seven deadly sins, seven soul-sapping struggles that include pride, greed, lust, anger, envy, sloth, and gluttony, are revealed not in quiet times and prayer retreats but in the thick of life, in business meetings, as we struggle over this month’s sales, when we have to deal with an awkward customer or employee….
  • But there is a third reason….The work we do, if it is good work, is some part of God’s own work in creating, sustaining, transforming or consummating (bringing things to a good conclusion).  We are actually partners with God in our daily work” (pp. 70, 71).

The Grand Narrative

The Bible describes the meta-narrative of God’s grand work in the history of the world: creation-fall-redemption. These historical themes apply to the entire created universe.

  • “God created all things good. Humans, elephants, trees, rocks, sand, stars—they were all created in a wonderful harmony. This includes [business]. The cultural mandate [found in Genesis 1:28] implies that God built the potential for [business] into the creation. God created humans in His own image, and so the creativity and ingenuity necessary to [engage in business] comes as a gift from God. He also endowed creation with the natural resources necessary for [business]—wood, metal, silicon, electricity, and more.
  • “By man’s choice, represented in the Adam and Eve, sin entered the world. The fall affected every part of creation. Even [business] is stained by sin. The goodness built in from creation is still present, but warped and darkened by sin.
  • “In the third era of history, Christ’s death on the cross and resurrection broke the power of sin and provided redemption to those that have faith. Believers in Christ Jesus have forgiveness of sins through Christ. Christians in the Reformed tradition stress that Christ’s redemptive light shines not only on our own souls, but on all creation. Christ’s rule and His kingdom stretch from shore to shore of the entire universe” (Quentin J. Schultze, Communicating for Life: Christian Stewardship in Community and Media, Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2000, 118–121).

communicating for life

Thus, in whatever role we play we must uncover, practice, expand upon, and celebrate the good and minimize the evil in God’s creation.  Our goal is to be in Christ and be Christ-like in the world.  As Abraham Kuyper famously said:

abraham kuyper

“Oh, no single piece of our mental world is to be hermetically sealed off from the rest, and there is not a square inch in the whole domain of our human existence over which Christ, who is Sovereign over all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’”James D. Bratt, ed., Abraham Kuyper, A Centennial Reader, p. 488.

In the end God will re-reconcile all of creation to himself.  In the meantime, we are called to be co-workers with him in making the world as he intended it to be.  This work not only blesses others, it makes us more spiritually mature. Holy.  Morally sanctified.

Imagine a world in which each person is empowered to discern, develop, and deploy their gifts and calling for the benefit of others for God’s glory!

It begins with relationships.

Grand words.

The Grand Narrative.

 

The Meaning of Life

Sometimes we forget to ask the big questions.

Why are we here?

Here are some answers from Everybody Loves Raymond: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZb4jBE0Gr0

Why are we here?

Here are some thoughts from Called to be Saints:

“Jesus assures his followers that in him they will find life abundant, surely echoing this wonderful line from Psalm 1 that they will be like trees planted by streams of water.  What are the contours and what is the character of this abundant life?  What is the good life for which we were created and to which we were called?  What are the indicators of a life well lived?  To what end were we created?  And thus, to what end have we been saved? (p. 14).

The Call for Transformation — to be Perfect, to be Holy

“[An] articulation of the call to spiritual maturity can and ideally should be inherent in each dimension of the church’s life and ministry…” (p. 17).

“The Old Testament is essentially the account of a God who forms for himself a people who are specifically called to be holy” (p. 17).

“Jesus uses language that makes some readers uncomfortable; he speaks of perfection (p. 18).

“When we view the human vocation and sanctification from the vantage point of creation, we see the human vocation as fulfillment of creation.  To be complete in Christ, to be ‘perfect,’ is quite simply to be what one was created to be” (p. 19).

“The biblical vision is a life lived in radical dependence on God and in deep mutual interdependence with others” (p. 25).

“Our theology of the Christian life must take account of how suffering…a means by which God forms and purifies us” (p. 31).

“A holy person is a wise person.  A holy person does good work. A holy person lives in a manner consistent with how God has loved us. A holy person is a happy person” (p. 36).

The Christian Life

“[The] Christian life is defined as knowing or gaining Christ, and this ‘knowledge’ is not a reference to intellectual understanding but to an experiential encounter with Christ.  Paul used the language of to know in the same way it is used to refer to intimacy in marriage — we know Christ intimately” (p. 42).

“[Our] transformation is both an external transaction, by Christ and for us, and also a participation in the life of Christ Jesus…” (p. 45).

“And so evangelism is about fostering and cultivating the opportunities for a person to meet Jesus: to meet Christ Jesus in real time.  in the end it is all about Jesus.  It is not persuading [others] of certain truths or laws, or even about believif ng that Jesus has done something — that if they ‘believe’ it will lead to their ‘salvation.”  It is rather about meeting Christ Jesus in person and in real time.  Thus the church is nothing other than the place where there is a ‘Christological concentration:’  people who in worship and mission are about Jesus.  That is their passion and focus and commitment.  And as you join them in worship and in mission, in time you too will come to know this living Christ” (p. 57).

Summary

Why are we here?  What is the meaning of life?

Transformation = Sanctification = Meditating on God’s Will = Becoming Dependent on God = Participation in the Life of Christ = Becoming Holy = Flourishing = Happiness

Transformative Learning

By Gordon T. Smith

“[The] crux of the matter, the heart of the issue, is that Christian institutions — colleges and universities of higher learning — have the potential to offer transformative learning” (p. 219).

“The greatest value that higher education offers the world — whether for the marketplace or the church — is wise men and women of mature character who are capable of providing vibrant moral leadership” (p. 220).

“I propose that we can say to a prospective student, this is what we hope for you and long for you and offer to you.  This is what we are about.  This is what it means to be part of this academic community, this university, this seminary.

  • You will grow in wisdom and in your capacity for wisdom.
  • You will mature in your vocational identity and calling, and you will receive the inner tools and resources for a lifetime of vocational discernment.
  • We will grow together in love and in our capacity for love, even as we are loved.
  • You will become a happier person: you will know the joy of God, but more, you will grow in your capacity for joy” (p. 222).