In the last several years, various employers have been offering a key piece of advice to their fellow businesses: “Don’t hire a millennial.” Judging from comments, this fear of millennials stems from their lack of work ethic.
But two highly successful businessmen are taking a different approach. Ted Malloch, CEO of Global Fiduciary Governance, and Whitney MacMillan, retired CEO of Cargill, suggest that successful businesses look for employees who follow several specific steps of work ethic. These steps, however, are not limited to employees; instead, they are key principles that business owners and executives should follow as well.
Surprisingly, these principles are not new advice. Rather, they stem from a source of ancient wisdom known as the Proverbs of Solomon.
According to Malloch and MacMillan:
“The wisdom of proverbs (‘Wisdom’ and ‘Folly’ are represented in the book by competing female characters) says out loud the things we only think to ourselves in the workplace. She has never heard of political correctness. And Folly has never heard of being professionally discreet. But this is one of the injections we need into our current state of disillusionment: a good dose of ‘whether you want to hear it or not.”
With that, here are seven proverbs which Malloch and MacMillan give as key examples for every business, employer, and employee to follow if they want to achieve success.
- “A fool uttereth all his mind: but a wise man keepeth it in till afterwards.” – Proverbs 29:11
The wise employer and employee will be careful not to let angry and hasty words flare up.
- “He that is first in his own cause seemeth just; but his neighbour cometh and searcheth him.” – Proverbs 18:17
According to Malloch and MacMillan, guarding against misperception is key to a successful career and business.
- “He that hateth dissembleth with his lips, and layeth up deceit within him; When he speaketh fair, believe him not: for there are seven abominations in his heart. Whose hatred is covered by deceit, his wickedness shall be shewed before the whole congregation.” – Proverbs 26:24-26
Although today’s society often treats truth as a changing, relative value, these businessmen agree that it, and not deceit, is a key to a thriving business.
- “Cast out the scorner, and contention shall go out; yea, strife and reproach shall cease.” – Proverbs 22:10
As Malloch and MacMillan explain, “Dissent works specifically to divide and conquer.” Avoiding this will enable harmony to occur and common progress to be made.
- “How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge?” – Proverbs 1:22
Those who hate knowledge and instead practice foolishness are often coercive in nature. Such behavior often signals self-interest, an inhibition to becoming a team player.
- As a roaring lion, and a ranging bear; so is a wicked ruler over the poor people. The prince that wanteth understanding is also a great oppressor….” – Proverbs 28:15-16
Power hungry individuals, the authors explain, often turn into tyrannical leaders. Avoiding placing these people in positions of leadership will go a long way toward creating a successful business.
- “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.” – Proverbs 6:6
According to Malloch and MacMillan, the industrious worker not only benefits the company with his diligent work ethic, but also encourages others to do the same.
Interestingly, these seven principles all seem to deal with major problems today’s society – not just businessmen and employees – is dealing with. Would we see a lot less anger, dissension, judgment, and rejection of the truth if we applied these principles to life beyond the workforce?
Annie Holmquist is editor of Intellectual Takeout, an online magazine and sister publication of Chronicles.