A colleague of mine many years ago would proffer the quote, “pressure makes diamonds,” when a tough assignment was on the horizon in our business. Difficult decisions would need to be made and the choices would have consequences, not only for the business, but also for our employees and for us individually. Will we rise to the occasion?

During the Great Recession of 2008 / 2009, the company I worked for was dramatically impacted and each week, for a period of about six months, decisions were required to cope with the new reality of lower revenues. Lower revenues required lower expenses. One of the decisions that surfaced during that time was a choice to cancel the payouts for some of our manufacturing employees who were operating with variable pay plans that provided bonus payments based on the plant’s manufacturing performance. A debate ensued. Some argued that the recession had eliminated all payouts of bonus programs given the severity of business conditions. That certainly appeared to be true for the management team across the company. Others countered that the written parameters of the manufacturing plant’s bonus programs did not provide an exception based on the performance of the company at large. These operations had successfully met the conditions of the plan and performed to a level where a payout had been generated. They should be paid.  

The question boiled down to whether or not we would stand by our word. Times like these place leaders in the position where their character will be tested. King David speaks about the man who will dwell in the sanctuary of God in Psalm 15. In verse 4 he states, (He) “who despises a vile man but honors those who fear the Lord, who keeps his oath even when it hurts. NIV   

The company did make the right decision in the above scenario. They kept their word.  But times of testing are a regular part of life in a fallen world. Will we make diamonds, or will we make straw during these times? (I Corinthians 3:10-15) We will not always succeed. Yet our likelihood of making diamonds is greater when we keep our eyes on Christ. “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.” Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV

Keep making diamonds…Soli Deo Gloria!

Kirk Thomsen

Kirk Thomsen

"And he saith unto them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Matthew 4:19