John Crane discusses the topic of engaging as believers in the marketplace and the importance of humility in leadership. He highlights how power is not inherently bad but should be approached in a way that aligns with Christ’s example. John also shares his experiences in politics, including the challenges he faced during a special session and the importance of hope in difficult times. He emphasizes that success should not be measured solely by external factors but by the impact one has in their role. John’s focus on leadership development and his efforts to establish processes for onboarding new senators demonstrate his commitment to creating a positive and impactful culture within the Senate.
At our most recent Christian business breakfast, my friend John Crane gave a great talk on engaging as believers in the marketplace in every sphere of this life. At the end of that talk, we had the chance to do a little Q&A with John, and I thought some of his answers and the dialogue that came out of that time was really worth listening to again. Take a look: Marketplace skills are missionary skills.
That’s a great question, and you’re right. Politics is very much about power, but it’s not limited to politics, is it? Who do we elevate as the icons in business? Those that have made millions or billions of dollars, because money is power, you know, and all these kinds of things. And you’re exactly right that Jesus modeled kind of an inverted approach to power. I don’t think power is bad. I’m reading a biography right now of Billy Graham, who had incredible power, but one of his greatest qualities was his humility. They would describe him as kind of this Southern, you know, farmer preacher, which is part of what his life experience was. And then all of a sudden, he’s hanging out with presidents and royalty and Hollywood movie stars and all these people because he had a different kind of power that, to me, was more akin to what Christ modeled. I would say yes and yes.
And I’ll start with the second question: Are we hopeful? Well, we’re on the winning team, so with God leading the way, then there’s always hope. Now, to be fair, there are some dark days, and I’ve had some dark days in politics. As I mentioned briefly, the experience we had last year and going through the special session and cramming an entire legislative process in about two and a half weeks over the most consequential issue in half a century—that was the hardest experience I’ve been in in this role. God was with us, and if I had more time, I would elaborate on key little things where it was like if God didn’t just tip that needle a little further, it would have been a different outcome. So there’s always hope.
As to whether I’ve been successful, um, I would say yes, but not in the way that people measure. I get dinged all the time. There’s a guy that doesn’t miss an opportunity to throw me under the bus; he’s a top radio talk show guy here in Indianapolis. It’s because he doesn’t understand why I’m there and what I’m doing. I’m working on leadership development inside the Senate. So one of the things that I helped establish was a process by which we can onboard new Senators. At the end of the month, we’re doing an annual Senate Leadership Summit: two and a half days getting off site, trying to get up to 50,000 ft and look at the big picture on public policy. It’ll be the fourth year that we’ve done it. That’s what I told our leadership. I said, ‘I’m not a lawyer, I’m not a business guy, I’m not an educator. I do leadership. And if you’re interested, I can do these kinds of things that absolutely have needed to be done for generations. It’s just that you’re so busy in the legislative process; everybody goes, ‘Man, we ought to do that,’ but nobody has the time to do it.’ I like that, perfect ’cause I don’t want to get into all the bill stuff; you guys can handle that, and I can try to support good measures, but I’ll do this. My hope would be, in those just those two examples, that that is just part of the culture going forward, and nobody down the road remembers exactly how that started.
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