Systemizing a Prophet

If I have learned anything about organizing and systemizing a company, it’s to never surprised by where the “how-to” answers come from.

There’s a great story in the Torah (Exodus 18) about a man named Jethro, the Sheik of Midian, and how he taught a great prophet about organizing and delegating in order to be a more effective leader.

The prophet Moses, leader of a nation that numbered in the millions, was responsible for his people’s well being and was trying his best to fulfill that mission statement. However, not unlike many owners and managers of businesses, this leader had to learn through on-the-job training. Maybe you can relate?

The story begins with the Sheik of Midian, who also happens to be the prophet’s father-in-law, paying a visit to Moses and his large company, which we will call People Inc. The prophet was very excited to see his father-in-law, and over dinner tells Jethro all that has happened to People Inc. over the past few years. He tells his father-in-law about the challenges and the opposition he and his company, People Inc., have overcome.

The prophet tells his father-in-law about the “Operation Manual” he has received, with all the rules, regulations and policies; showing how People Inc. should operate in its day-to-day activities. The Sheik is obviously very impressed with his daughter’s husband, Moses, and decides to visit People Inc. to observe how he conducts his business on the job.

To say the least, the Sheik is a little shocked and surprised by what he observes on that visit, no doubt wondering, “How did Moses get this far without having a complete breakdown?” As a leader himself, and being an older gentleman, the Sheik had gained much experience running a large operation over the years, and had long since learned the art and skill of organizing and systemizing. He had been very successful growing his business, while still having the time to take this vacation to visit his son-in-law.

Philip Beyer, founder/president of Beyer Printing and Ebiz Products LLC in Nashville, TN, is a chronic entrepreneur, business systems analyst and consultant, author of "System Busters: How to Stop Them in Your Business," and an InterTech Award recipient for the design and development of System100™ business process management software. Philip speaks to business owners across the country on how to bring lean, sustainable order to their businesses.
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  • Paul J Gardner

    I’m aiming for 110, not 120 years, but the value of a good Operations Manual, and a great leader should never be underestimated.

    Never having been very good in church (or school), I’ve learned most everything I know about Operations Manuals from Michael Gerber and the E-Myth.

    Thanks for the great story Philip!