January 30, 2006
The Master's Program
The Point of View - A Weekly Commentary by Bob Shank

Dear Marketplace Friend,

"How's it going, Bob?" Sometimes, the question is personal; more often, it's a friendly question regarding The Masters Program. How is it going?

For George W., he'll be answering the "how's it going" question, addressing the world with his annual State of the Union. It's the ultimate "how's it going?" monolog. There's a good discipline that flows from framing that question - whether it is explicit or implicit - and hammering out the highlights that capture the moment...

My answer to the question, to a friend, last week: after nine short years, we're an overnight success. Priority Living, Inc. - our umbrella entity - was organized on the heels of my departure from business in '84. The Master's Program - under PLI - was organized a year after my departure from a pastorate in '97. We've gained some great insights about what we do, from then to now...

One of them was unexpected, but enlightening. It was five years ago, in one of our "satellite sites" (in our lingo, that's a Master's group away from Orange County.) I had two men who were third-generation inheritors of a family business, founded by their grandfather in the '20s. They made it to the third-of-twelve sessions... and hit an obstacle they couldn't get past. It was a day when I emphasized the correlation between "Kingdom leadership" and "Kingdom entrepreneurs," and made the point that vision/strategy/risk were the irreducible ingredients of each.

They caught me after the session, and told me that they were not entrepreneurs, had no expectation to become entrepreneurs, and - if that was a "deal-breaker" to be in The Master's Program, they were "out." That was their last session with me...

Entrepreneurship is gaining a new wave of energy as my Boomer buddies enter life's next season. This week, Business Week ran this highlight of their web-based content, under the headline, Second-Act Careers. "Given the cycles of economic and labor-market volatility, the last gasp of job security, and the growing number of Baby Boomers who prefer not to quietly retire, entrepreneurialism is becoming an attractive choice for many corporate refugees. In this Online Special Report, we take a look at why so many people are beginning their second acts by starting their own businesses. Included are... success stories among three different groups: folks who've been downsized, retirees, and women. Find out how they did it, and what advice they have for others. Another online story examines what it's like to use a B-school degree to launch a career as an entrepreneur..."

If risk-taking leadership is finding resurgent interest in the marketplace, its explosive presence in the nonprofit space of the Kingdom is, perhaps, even more exciting. In The Master's Program, our ground slopes toward entrepreneurial energy unleashed into activities that produce ministry outcomes.

How's it going? The answer, for us, is told in the stories of Kingdom entrepreneurs who aren't getting their "second wind;" rather, they are usually launching their freshman efforts into ministry channels... and finding it to be fulfilling to an incredible degree.

"It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ was not known, so that I would not be building on someone else's foundation." (Romans 15:20) Paul was the classic startup, risk-taking leader... who was not looking for a "safe" place that had already been pioneered. Are you an entrepreneur?

The Young President's Organization (YPO) is a unique organization for entrepreneurs in business. Within that worldwide movement, a subset of Christians has emerged; in fact, they have established an annual conference devoted to challenging seasoned marketplace entrepreneurs to think through how to take what they've fine-tuned in their less-than-50 lives... and replant it - in HalfTime terms - in their search for significance. Bob Buford and I are both addressing their annual conference, in a month, in Tucson. In fact, they've extended an invitation to my readers to consider joining us. Click on the sidebar and check it out...

Are you taking any risks, as a leader, for the Kingdom?

Bob Shank

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