Why Did I Write an Economics Series in a Leadership Blog?

I published a three-part series on economics, and I suspect that many of you might have wondered why I did that. After all, my blog is about leadership, not economics…

I published a three-part series on economics, and I suspect that many of you might have wondered why I did that. After all, my blog is about leadership, not economics. Well, I have answers to your question. Why did I delve into the topic of economics? And why should everyone, regardless of their field of work, seek to learn how other fields of study really impact their work?

Let’s get started!

I believe that understanding how the overall economy impacts business is part of good leadership. Often businesses ignore the economic environment, only to result in their demise. Toys “R” Us, Inc. is a good example. It amassed so much debt on its books that it got to the point where it could no longer tread water. As a business leader, I have come to understand that setting a vision for my team and inspiring them toward accomplishing a set of goals involves being able to explain the why behind that vision. Basic economics can help set the why. Understanding how the recent interest rate increases impact business investment spending, for example, can help a business leader determine which projects to invest in, both in the short-term and the long-term.

Everyone, regardless of their field of work, should seek to learn how other fields of study impact their work. This is part of being a good steward of one’s craft. Booker T Washington, one of my favorite historical black figures, stated in his autobiography Up from Slavery: 

Any man, regardless of color, will be recognized and rewarded just in proportion as he learns to do something well—learns to do it better than someone else—however humble the thing may be.

Born in slavery and raised in poverty, Washington learned to read around the age of 10, with the help of other kids in his neighborhood. He later attended what is today Hampton University, earning a scholarship through his skill as a housekeeper. Many know Washington as the founder of Tuskegee University, but what they don’t know is that he was an avid proponent of manual labor in conjunction with intellectual development.

The quote above encapsulates Washington’s life-long purpose: to teach young men and women that their influence in life will be found insofar as they commit themselves to excellence in their field of study and work, regardless what that field is, in order to better the lives of others around them. Jesus said it best when he said, “whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant” (Matt 20:26). A life lived for others is truly a wonderful life.

The Bible says, “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men” (Col 3:23). Whether it is studying economics in order to make better business decisions, or learning the best way to make a sales call, we all have a duty to work heartily at whatever task we undertake. Too often I find people who could have gone very far in the world, but because of complacency and a lack of respect for their work continue to flounder in mediocrity.

Booker T. Washington tells the story in his autobiography of one of his graduates who was producing 266 “bushels of sweet potatoes from an acre of ground, in a community where the average production had been only forty-nine bushels to the acre” (202). This student did this because he applied his knowledge of chemistry and the improved techniques of agriculture to this line of work. As he succeeded in this fashion, he grew in influence in his community because he had added something of value and comfort to those around him.

My charge to you reading this is that you would similarly endeavor to add something of value to those around you. Your line of work, whatever it is, can be so perfected toward that end that others will be made better by it. God has given each of us specific skills and talents, and the ways in which we steward those talents dictate how well we will be able to bless those around us.

– Led by the Book

Check out the posts in my economics series:
Part 1: Why Taxing Amazon Would be Be Bad For All Of Us
Part 2: Companies Brace For Impact Ahead of U.K’s Brexit
Part 3: President Trump And The Federal Reserve Are Going Head-to-Head. Here’s Why.

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