How to Give Grace in Business

How to Give Grace in Business
This is Entrepreneurs of Faith, a Sunday episode of Monetization Nation. I’m Nathan Gwilliam, your host. 

Forgiving $10 Million in Debt

In November 2020, Dave Ramsey’s company bought $10 million of debt for 8,000 people from two private debt collection companies and completely forgave all of the debt with no strings attached. That’s $10 million of debt completely forgiven. This is an inspiring example of a business giving an enormous amount of grace. 

In today’s episode, we’re going to explore how to be more “graceful” and give grace in business. 

What is Grace?

Grace is one of my favorite words. Grace is a gift of kindness and mercy we don’t deserve. “Grace is the opposite of karma, which is all about getting what you deserve. Grace is getting what you don’t deserve.” – Justin Holcomb 

We’re familiar with and grateful for God’s grace for us. “The very center and core of the whole Bible is the doctrine of the grace of God.” –J. Gresham Machen

However, what role does grace play in the business world? Grace is not just something we receive from God, but it is also something He expects us to give to others as we strive to be more like Him. 

Colossians 4:6 teaches, “Let your speech be always with grace…”

Matthew 6:14 teaches “For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.”

Grace and French Fries

Here’s an example that happened to me this week. I have a daughter who is 17 years old and will be headed to college in another state in the fall. I want to make the best use possible of the time she is still living in our home, so I’m trying to take her on a 1-on-1 father-daughter date each week. As part of those dates, she gets to choose a treat. She loves the french fries from a restaurant named Freddy’s, and that’s the treat she chooses most frequently. 

A few nights ago, this daughter and I went on our date and drove to Freddy’s for some fries. We ordered in the drive-through, but as I was pulling up to the pickup window I realized I had left my wallet at home. I told the worker at the drive-through window, expecting him to tell me they would make me fresh fries when I return with my money. However, to my surprise, the Freddy’s worker said he would give us the fries at no cost. Furthermore, he told us that they had made two concretes (their frozen custards with mix-ins) for someone and messed up the order. They asked if we would like to also have the frozen desserts for free. 

My daughter quickly figured out how we could pay them through Apple Pay, but Freddy’s still didn’t take our money. That Freddy’s team had extended grace to me in my forgetfulness. How do you think my daughter and I felt about Freddy’s when we left?

As we drove out of the Freddy’s parking lot, we were already leaving them a great review. My daughter and I found a place to park, eat our food, and play a magical unicorn’s card game.  What the Freddy’s workers did wasn’t really about french fries. That date with my daughter could have been a dud. However, thanks to the grace of the Freddy’s team in Rexburg, Idaho, they helped turn our father-daughter date into something magical. 

Grace When Firing a Team Member

Sometimes companies use unfortunate firing situations as moments to belittle their departing team members. That does not need to be the case. I am aware of one company that had an employee who had a series of financial crises, and the company loaned a substantial amount of money to her to help her get through that situation. Later, it became necessary to let that team member go. At that time, most of the money loaned to the employee had not been repaid. The company had the right to deduct the remaining borrowed amount from the team member’s last payment. However, the company realized the team member would need those funds to survive as she searched for a new job, so the company completely forgave the debt at the time they let her go. This is a great example of grace during a time an employee really needed some help.

Grace When We Deleted My CEOs Presentation

In a previous episode, I told the story of how I sold my Adoption.com business to the Gladney Center for Adoption. In the first board of directors meeting after that sale, we were scheduled to make a presentation about the plan for Adoption.com going forward. My presentation and the presentation of the Gladney CEO were both in one Google Slides file, and somehow, late the night before the board meeting, the file was completely deleted in a non-recoverable way. 

I let the Gladney CEO know, and our team worked through the night, and up until the moment of the presentation to try to recreate as much of the presentation as we could from memory. The loss of the file was completely my fault, and it would have been very understandable for the CEO to lecture me about the importance of the board meeting, and how I need to be more responsible about making backups. However, the only things I heard from the CEO and the rest of the Gladney team were supportive. They just wanted to know how they could help. That is an example of amazing grace extended to me when I didn’t deserve it. Their kindness and grace motivate me to want to extend much more grace back to others who also mess up and make mistakes. 

Police Officer Gives Grace Instead of a Ticket

 

Today I saw a Facebook post about a man named LaVonte Dell who was recently pulled over by a Westland, Michigan police officer because of the tint on his windows. LaVaonte posted, “This stop was nothin’ like I thought it would be. He got my s—t and was walking back to the car and seen my daughter wasn’t in a car seat. So he asked me to get out and speak with him. He asked why didn’t she have one and I told him all I been thru this year like I barely making it because of these garnishments and I really don’t like asking people for (stuff). Do you know this white police officer told me to follow him to Walmart on Ford road, and he purchased my daughter a car seat with his own money? If you would have seen us in Walmart u would have thought we were best friends. It was like night and day. U got me hella tats walkin side by side with a white officer Westland at that. I’ve been calling all day trying to get his name because I was so in shock. I didn’t even look at his name tag. Never judge a book by its cover it’s most def is some good guys left. I told him I never met an officer like u. He said I’m just doing my job what good would giving u a ticket do besides putting u further in the hole making it harder on you to come up.” (Source: LaVonte Dell on Facebook)

That officer could have easily given a ticket, but instead, he extended grace and helped with the highest priority of making sure that the little girl is safe and the father knows somebody cares about him and his family. Thank you so much LaVonte for sharing your inspirational story on Facebook. 

Let’s Be “Graceful” 

Our challenge for this week is to try to be a little more “graceful” in our businesses. Let’s be a little more patient, forgive, ask for forgiveness, and be kind. Instead of always telling people what they are doing wrong, when they already know it, maybe we can try to understand and help. When a customer or vendor is in a hard financial situation, maybe we let them out of their annual contract when we don’t have to. When a co-worker drops the ball on something, maybe we express our gratitude for how much they are juggling so well. 

Let’s remember that we all have done many things wrong or been in difficult situations where we desperately need grace. How much more likely are we to receive grace if we are striving to extend grace to others? Let’s also remember that everyone is going through challenges in their lives and sometimes we’re the angels that God is trying to send to help them. 

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    About the author

    Nathan Gwilliam

    Nathan Gwilliam

    I help organizations navigate tectonic shifts that are transforming the business landscape, so they can optimize marketing, accelerate profits, and make a greater difference for good.

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