Good to Great Companies is the goal of most entrepreneurs. Not only to do you want your company to be profitable, but you want it to be even better in the future. Best-selling author, Jim Collins, calls this “Built To Last.”

What does it say about you if you don’t care about the future of your company after you leave the business? I doubt that it will be very good, will it?

In the bible, buried in the book of Daniel is a story about a king that only cared about his tenure as the ruler. Beyond that, he didn’t care so much. Because of his ego, this kingdom didn’t endure. How do we know he didn’t care?

The story goes that king had a dream, but he didn’t know what it meant about his future. In fact, he couldn’t even remember what it was. He was about to execute every one of his advisors and astrologers because they couldn’t tell him what the dream was, or what it meant.

Along comes Daniel, a young exile from a conquered nation. Although he was part of the group to be executed, he was able to persuade the king to give him a little time to contemplate the meaning of the dream.

Through prayer and meditation, he was shown what the dream was and what it meant. As soon as he tells the guard, he is ushered into the kings chamber.

When the king asks him if he is able to tell him the dream, Daniel says this:

Daniel replied, “No wise man, enchanter, magician or diviner can explain to the king the mystery he has asked about, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come. Daniel 2:27,28 (NIV)

We’ll come back to this statement later, because it gives us a powerful persuasion technique.

Daniel then goes on and tells the king what the dream was. Basically, the dream is of a statue where the head is gold, and the lower down you go on it, the statue is made from inferior materials. For example, the feet are made out of clay. Along comes a boulder, and crushes the statue.

The meaning is pretty simple. The head of gold is the current king…

“After you, another kingdom will rise, inferior to yours. Next, a third kingdom…” Daniel 2:39 (NIV)

Now you’d think that the king would be distressed by this news. He was told that his kingdom was basically going to fall apart after he was dead. How did he handle it?

Then King Nebuchadnezzar fell prostrate before Daniel and paid him honor and ordered that an offering and incense be presented to him.

Then the king placed Daniel in a high position and lavished many gifts on him. He made him ruler over the entire province of Babylon and placed him in charge of all its wise men. Daniel 2: 46, 48-49 (NIV)

You can almost hear him say: “Whew… I dodged a bullet. It isn’t bad news like I’m going to get assassinated tomorrow.” He only cared about himself.

In fact, he was so happy about the news that he gave Daniel an instant promotion, making him a governor of the province. From slave to a ruler in a blink of an eye! Wow!

What can we learn from this story that we can use in our own lives?

What Can You Take Home From This?

First, if you love yourself more than than anything else, you will often do rash and somewhat stupid things. The king was going to execute all his advisors because he wasn’t getting what he wanted. Sounds like a kid throwing a temper-tantrum, doesn’t it?

Then, when he heard the news that he wanted, he gave that guy an instant promotion. We knew Daniel was a wise young man, but how young was he really? Would you give a 20-to-25 year old a governorship? Maybe the king was a good judge of character, but by his actions, he sounds impulsive and immature. I think he got real lucky that Daniel was who he was.

From Daniel’s perspective, what can we learn from this that we can apply in our own business to rise from good to great?

First, know your client. I think that Daniel knew a lot about his client (the king) by this time. He wasn’t even allowed to be in the presence of the king until he went through three years of training (see Daniel 1:5). I’m sure that he got to learn from his teachers about this client and how he liked to be served.

How much time and effort are you willing to invest in getting to know your customers? It seems that the more time you put in, the easier and quicker it is to get the promotion (or the sale). Wouldn’t you agree?

Second, the introduction that Daniel gives the king when asked if he knew the dream is very profound. Remember he said: “there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries. He has shown King Nebuchadnezzar what will happen in days to come.” Basically, when he said this, he was building up the ego of the king.

It is like saying: “you’re very special; you’ve been given a divine message from God. It is very exceptional for God to speak to humans, and he’s selected you for this rare treat. And it is a stock-market tip that is sure to come true.”

I think when the king heard this, his ego was so inflated that he basically ignored all the bad news that Daniel delivered to him. Why, because this was the opposite what the other wise men told him the day before. They told the king, “no one can reveal dreams except the gods, and they don’t consider you worthy enough to talk to.” The stark contrast probably made a big impression on the king.

And as one of the most influential marketing guru says “flattery will get you… everywhere!” Daniel was buttering up the king, whether he knew what he was doing or not.

Third, if you have bad news to present to someone, it is best to give the good news first. That is sugar-coating it, but it worked. Daniel told the king that his kingdom was the greatest (being made of gold and all) and everything else was inferior.

Finally, what this story points out is that the persuasion process is just as important as the message. In the study of persuasion, you’ll learn that where you deliver news to someone is very important to the outcome of the presentation. Daniel make his presentation in a place where the king felt at ease and in command, probably the palace. In the room were probably all sorts of adornments, like gold and silver furniture and fine linens. When Daniel pointed out to the king how his current kingdom is made of gold, he probably had several pieces in the room that he could point out. The king could look around and say, “yeah, this is true… my kingdom is great.” Daniel is definitely a master at persuasion.

If you want to go from a good to great company, you too will need to learn to are of persuasion. That way you’ll be able to make the most of the opportunities that are presented to you. The first step of course, is to get wisdom. I believe a lot of wisdom is found in persuasion techniques, because they are based on how other people will react in different situations. Being able to think ahead and knowing what the likely outcomes are going to be is what wisdom is all about.

Of course, you can just sit here on your butt and continue to do the same things that you did yesterday which got you into your current predicament. But if you do that, I can guarantee you that tomorrow and the next day will look awful similar to what happened to you yesterday. That would suck, wouldn’t it?

If you want a brighter future, I urge you to invest in wisdom. Start by getting a mentor. They are the fast-track to success. But if you wish to go it alone until you can afford a good mentor, then there are a number of great home-study courses in persuasion that I’d recommend.

Or just sit on your butt. But that is not how to make money. And it isn’t God’s way either.

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Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 Biblica. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved.

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7 Responses to “Good to Great Companies or Slide to Mediocrity”

  1. Dale Bell says:

    Like Daniel when using pesuasion and selling you need to chane the state meaning Daniel got some time to learn about the dream by getting permission to take some time to think about what the dream meant then he went back and presented.
    The king was only worried about his rule and not the future In the Book Good to Great there were several companies that were great and when the leader left so did the greatness one example was GE.

  2. Wow great post! I have a mentor and it has gotten me so much further in my life!

  3. Well what about once you’ve made a few million? Are you allowed to “sit on your butt” then?

    Lisa McLellan
    Babysitting Services, Nanny Services, and Nanny agencies

  4. Its all in how you tell the story and answer the questions. This is a good example of how to do both.
    Scott Sylvan Bell
    Now go implement!

  5. Dewayne Chriswell says:

    I agree, you’ll always go farther, faster and easier with good guidance. Thanks,

  6. Shane says:

    Can’t argue with that. It’s amazing that these techniques have been around for so long. Some people are very natrually gifted in the area of influence and persuasion and other have to learn it.

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  7. Austin says:

    Proverbs 13:22; A good person leaves an inheritance for their children’s children, but a sinner’s wealth is stored up for the righteous.