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 questions. Why did I delve into the topic of economics? And why should everyone, regardless of their field of work, learn how other fields of study impact their work?
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 that it got to the point where it could no longer tread water.
As a business leader, I understand that I have to set a vision and inspire my team toward accomplishing goals. This means that I must be able to explain the “why” behind that vision. Basic economics can help set the why. For example, I now understand how the recent interest rate increases impacted business investment spending. This helps business leaders determine short-term and the long-term investments.
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:
Born in slavery and raised in poverty, Washington learned to read around the age of 10. He received help from 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.
Why Learn Other Fields?
The quote above encapsulates Washington’s life-long purpose. He endeavored to teach young men and women that they will find their influence in life. They must find their influence by committing themselves to excellence in their field of study and work. He believed that this is regardless what that field is, which would 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. He also applied 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.