Tom Harper pic for blog

I’m continuing my break from blogging and social media, so I thought I’d share some amazing content from my friend, Tom Harper each day this week. Today’s blog post is genius. I’m on a journey from a life full of pride to walking humbly in the Spirit. You can read about my confession HERE. I set this post to post today on Sunday and am still thinking about it. Pure gold here from Tom.

Tom Harper is president of Networld Media Group, a publisher of online trade journals and events for the banking, retail, restaurant and church leadership markets (including the mega-blog www.ChurchCentral.com). He is the author of Leading from the Lions’ Den: Leadership Principles from Every Book of the Bible (B&H).

Last week I was honored to speak at the TurnAround20/20 Conference in Nashville, TN, where I got to meet Tom in person. He graciously offered to provide blog posts for me so I could finish my rest from technology. So enjoy! Here’s Tom’s next blog for this week:

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While engaged in his trial for multimillion-dollar corporate larceny, former Tyco CEO Dennis Kozlowski threw a lavish birthday party for his wife, which the company paid for. That his models-for-hire wore togas and the decorations were awash in opulence weren’t the issues – what hurt him was that a videotape of it all fell into the jury’s hands.

But Kozlowski didn’t corner the market on stupidity and greed. American Airlines’ CEO, Donald Carty, claimed the labor union should share in his company’s bankruptcy. The union responded by eating $1.62 billion in concessions, just before learning the airline’s executives had agreed on a secret personal bonus plan. Carty resigned in disgrace.

In the book of Mark, Jesus demonstrated the proper perspective on publicity by fleeing the spotlight until the right time.

Mark 1:45b-c says, “…Jesus could no longer enter a town openly. But he was out in deserted places, and they would come to him from everywhere.” His star quality at times got in the way of his purpose. Curiously, Jesus’ efforts at muzzling people’s excitement seemed purposefully unsuccessful.

When people realized Jesus fled the crowds, their curiosity drove them to seek him out all the more. Though he shunned the spotlight for most of his ministry, it found him at the right time. This is a masterpiece PR model for today.

Influencing people’s conversations is, of course, the goal of every PR pro. Christ’s example and the unending corporate blunders of today teach us to “purify” our PR by deemphasizing our personal glorification.

Do you constantly pursue media attention, or shy away from it entirely? Both extremes result from focusing on self rather than the organization. If you yearn to see your face on magazine covers, or if you’re the shy type who flees all cameras and reporters, both are equally wrong.

Once I remove my ego from my public relations efforts, the exposure will truly benefit my company, because they’ll pick up on the honesty and (hopeful) humility.

Conversely, perpetual spotlight avoidance prevents my people from developing company pride: they want to boast about the company. They love to be the subject of positive marketplace buzz. Many employees are natural PR machines. When we regularly update our staff on strategy and accomplishments, their instinctive reaction is to communicate it to others.

Greg Atkinson

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