Business Strategy Series, 10:2, 2009, pp.86-89
Business strategists know that there is no gold-paved road to asking the right questions about their business. What they can do, however, is take detours to the ideas that may otherwise never occur to them. Strategy metaphors relate to disciplines that may, at first glance, have no relevance for a particular business, but could potentially inspire valuable questions. Just like that, the detour becomes a shortcut.
The apostle Paul and his use of sales strategies is one such metaphor. From the middle of 2008 to 2009, Christians around the world observed the year of St Paul, who was born in the year 8 AD in the Greek city of Tarsus.
But St Paul as a sales strategist? Isn’t that a little farfetched? Whenever I mention this at client events, especially to bank sales managers, the first reaction is puzzled looks. What does one have to do with the other? I usually explain that both St Paul and banks sold or sell abstract ‘products’ – things that are not tangible in the material sense and whose benefits are not evident directly after purchase – in contrast to impulse buys like a pair of shoes. At this point, if not before, the audience stop looking puzzled and want to learn more.
This article is also available in German in the Vatican Magazine.