Missional Impact | mentor interview with Vicki Crane
Teamwork often means slogging behind the scenes to achieve a dazzling outcome for your employer. But it’s easy to feel taken for granted when your boss habitually takes the bow for your good work without so much as a nod in your direction. Missional Impact mentor Vicki Crane understands. See how she grappled with it from a biblical perspective.
In the secular world, everyone is focused on getting their due. Some will sacrifice everything for professional advancement and run over everyone who gets in their way. As a believer, however, I know that I am responsible to look first to the interests of others, particularly those who are in authority over me. I need to think about my employer’s priorities and consider how to make them successful.
The apostle Paul’s words in the New Testament about humility and service are very relevant for today’s workplace. He wrote: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2:3-4). Later in that chapter, when he was talking about Timothy, he said, “I have no one else like him, who will show genuine concern for your welfare. For everyone looks out for their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ” (v. 20-21).
Here are just two of the ways I have worked to apply these principles over my career.
Publish or Perish
In my field (medicine and pharmacy), publications are very important for your stature in the profession. I ghostwrote many articles for senior leaders in my organization. I would have appreciated them using a footnote to acknowledge my help preparing the material, but they usually didn’t recognize my contributions. As I thought about the issue, I told myself that the senior leaders at the medical center were juggling many responsibilities and working hard to improve our organization. I felt that the right thing to do was to help them as requested with the articles. And, since I was a better writer than most of them, this was an area where my skills would be helpful.
When I was in a more senior role working with junior colleagues, however, I tried to take a different approach. By that point, I was more established in my career. When I worked on a project or article with a more junior colleague, I often allowed them to be first author in a publication. Since they were at an earlier stage of their career, being able to list themselves as first author on their CV would be more important for their advancement. They very much appreciated this, as it was not usual for people in my field to behave that way.
As I progressed in my career, I received more and more invitations to speak at conferences and events. I was offered leadership positions in professional associations, as well as consulting opportunities. Accepting those offers would have been great for my career. It would have increased my visibility in the profession, and it would have possibly been a stepping stone to even more prestigious (and lucrative) positions.
However, accomplishing the objectives that the leaders of my organization had tasked me with was a very demanding job. Very often, I had to work more than 60 hours per week to achieve their objectives. That left me with less time to pursue some of these other opportunities that would have served my own advancement. However, as I processed the situation, I believed that the right thing to do was to prioritize what my employer had asked of me. To their credit, they recognized my contributions and I was eventually promoted to a Senior Vice President role.
An Important Note
Obviously, advancing your employer’s interests doesn’t mean that you go along with something that is illegal or immoral. There have been times in my career when I have refused to do something that is unethical. And, if I get fired or don’t get promoted as quickly as a result, I am willing to accept those consequences. I believe that if you are acting with integrity and doing your job to the best of your ability, that God will vindicate you in the end. The most important thing is knowing that you are pleasing him. ●
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Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are from THE HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
Vicki Crane, a pharmacist-MBA, held progressive leadership positions in pharmacy, systemwide administration, and patient safety. Her practice focus included patient safety, transforming care through behavior changes, coaching and mentoring the leadership team, process redesign and technology innovation, and cost-effective, outcomes management. Vicki retired in 2013 but makes her expertise available in Missional Impact’s Mentor Network. | Read Vicki’s full bio. | Send a question to Vicki.