When Joe Greene opens his Bible, wisdom rises from years of underlining with a pen and highlighting with yellow and green markers.
Through its well-worn pages, God’s Spirit shaped not only Greene’s faith but also his calling and acumen as a corporate executive.
“I honestly did not know all the things in the Bible about business,” Greene said in an interview recapping the stirring he felt to start a business rooted in Christian principles.
“It’s so full of things that teach you how to run your business, but it was all brand-new to me” when he left Humana as president of the Fortune 500 company’s hospital operations to start his own hospital management enterprise in the 1980s.
“I just began with one thing at a time; I wasn’t trying to take on the whole Bible. Every time I saw something in the Scriptures that I thought was related to a business, I implemented it.”
Beyond his uncertainty of providing for a wife and four sons, there were doubters over his resolve to live his faith in a corporate setting.
“When I first started, it bothered me that Christian men — businessmen who had been successful — would say, ‘Joe, that isn’t going to work. It just goes against all the business world’s teaching.’
“I said, ‘I understand that. But God has made it clear to me that I’m to operate on Christian principles.’
“And they’d always say, “Well, OK, good luck to you. Can’t see it myself, but have at it.'”
Greene started to believe their wariness.
“I was so dumb that I went back to God and said, ‘It won’t work.’ Now imagine that, I’m telling God that something isn’t going to work,” Greene said in a light but still-chastised tone. “It took me two years to get it in my heart and mind before I would say, ‘OK, God, I’m going to open a company [and] I’m going to ask You to guide me in every step I take.”
That guidance has made it into a book by Greene, “Dare to Succeed: Experience the Satisfaction of Doing Business by the Book,” a collaboration with Greg Webster. Released by Iron Stream Media, the book is available at Amazon and www.daretosucceedbook.com.
The 190-page book encompasses numerous principles and personal experiences that the retired executive relayed in leading a Nashville-area CEO Fellowship while in his late 70s and early 80s for several years and continues to convey in radio interviews and speaking engagements.
Paying the bills
Prompt payment of invoices was one of the first things Greene did in starting his hospital management company.
“I don’t know why it was so important all of a sudden, except I read in Proverbs where it said if you owe somebody money and you have it, you need to pay them right away.” The passage is Proverbs 3:27-28.
Greene went to his business officer and said, “From now on when we get a bill from anybody, if you verify that we owe it, I want it paid,” even though 30 days for paying an invoice was typical.
Before long, the president of a large company asked to meet with Greene and inquired soon into the conversation, “Why do you pay my bills as soon as you get them? … Nobody else does that, Joe.”
“I said, ‘Well in Proverbs it teaches me to do that.'”
The executive then offered to invest in Greene’s company or provide any loans he needed, saying, “I like the way you’re doing business.”
“So I thought, you know, maybe this is going to work.”
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Source: Baptist Press