Business is all about relationships, and every day at work presents us with a choice: Will we fight for fear-free connections with our team members, employees, vendors, and customers for the sake of our mutual success? Or will we default into self-protection and self-serving and participate in a relational culture of disconnection? This is the choice between honor and dishonor, and it flows from our hearts and our core beliefs about people.
In their new book, The Business of Honor, Bob Hasson and Danny Silk lay out a pathway for living with a heart of honor in business, from receiving your identity to investing in healthy relationships and taking the lead in building honoring culture in your company or organization.
Hasson is a businessman and leadership consultant. His greatest passion is strengthening leaders and their organizations, with specific focus on developing sound organizational structure, fiscal responsibility, and dynamic relationships on leadership teams.
He is both the Founder and CEO of R.M Hasson Painting Contractors, Inc. For over thirty years, he has been active as a consultant and board member for churches, ministries, nonprofits, and school boards. Since 2012, he has traveled around the world with Danny Silk as a speaker and consultant for Loving on Purpose. He has been married for thirty years to his wife, Lauren, and they have four children. Find out more at BusinessOfHonor.com.
Q: Bob, thanks for doing this interview with us. Let's start with yourself. You are a CEO and also a committed Christian. Tell us a little about your business and your faith.
I became a Christian at eighteen years old-the same year that I started my painting business. So growing in my faith and growing my business were an integrated process for me.
The core values that I have tried to operate from in my business are all informed by biblical principles. My first goal in business has always been to serve people well with integrity and excellence. It's not rocket science-since the early days that has simply looked like being on time, honoring the price I set for a job, treating the jobsite with respect, and cleaning up after I was done. I've also always had a strong value for taking care of everyone on my team, and one of my priorities as I have grown the business is caring for my employees and raising their quality of life.
Q: Why did you and Danny Silk decide to write this book?
Danny wrote a book called Culture of Honor in 2009 that lays out many of core spiritual principles behind honoring relationships, but applied primarily to the church. People started coming to him and asking if he would write a similar book on how to apply honor in the world of business.
Four years later, we met and pretty much instantly hit it off as friends. I read his books Culture of Honor and Keep Your Love On and felt like they gave me language for the values, principles, and practices I had always tried to live by. We started have conversations about how these had played out over my forty years in business, and eventually Danny started bringing up the idea of us writing a book together. I had never considered writing a book. Becoming an author was definitely outside the box for me! So initially I said yes to the process just out of trust for Danny. Now that the book is finished, I get to see the marriage of my story and his message and the impact it's starting to have on people, which is amazing to me.
Q: The big idea of the book is "business is all about relationships." This is not the first thing many of us think of when we think of when we think of business, so what do you mean that business is about relationships?
The fact that most people don't think of business as relationships is exactly why we wrote the book. Yes, business relationships differ from personal relationships in being organized around producing and exchanging goods and services, but at the end of the day business happens by people connecting, communicating, and collaborating together. When these relationships suffer, business suffers. Whether a business is large or small, people are its biggest asset, so it's important that we are protecting that asset and doing business in a way that causes people and relationships to thrive. Thriving people are productive people. Connected people are loyal and sacrificial people. Those are all good for business.
Q: How did your own journey and experience as a CEO help you discover the importance of treating businesses as relationships?
Treating businesses as relationships wasn't something I discovered-it was the way I always approached business, both with customers and team members. From the beginning, my work existed to serve people, not the other way around.
What I did discover were the people who were willing to sacrifice people and relationships to try and get ahead in business, and it was especially jarring when these people professed to be Christians. They seemed to compartmentalize their lives into different people-the spiritual, gracious person at church and the cutthroat, competitive guy willing to step on necks and do shady deals to win at work. And what I saw was that this eventually catches up to you. Relationships fall apart, businesses implode.
Q: What is the heart of the Father for people in business, and how do we grow in expressing that?
I think the Father wants us to unlock our potential as His children by coming together, creating family, and collaborating. It goes beyond our individual dreams and callings, because those are designed to be interconnected with each other. The beauty of business is that a team of people can come together and achieve far more together than on our own. We can bring out the best in each other. We can create solutions together that the world needs. We can create wealth and resources for many people. Honoring businesses can actually help to bring the kingdom of God in the world.
The Father's heart is simply sacrificial love. It says, "I'm laying down my life for you. I want you to know who you are and how much you are loved. I want you to overcome your challenges, become a powerful person, thrive, and succeed. And I will offer the resources of my life to help you do that." This is something we can express in business in endless ways, and in any position, whether we are the CEO or a new hire. We grow in it by continually working to bend our hearts to the Father and allowing Him to train us to see and love people the way He does.
Q: In chapter 8, you talked about the "rewards" when we honor business relationships. What are these rewards?
We discuss three types of rewards in the book. The first obvious one is financial. In an honoring business everyone is well provided for and benefits from the financial success of the business. In my case, I've always worked to give my people a living wage, help them with specific financial needs, and give generous bonuses and raises. Now a lot of our workers are in the Union so they get those wages and benefits. But we have always matched or exceeded those.
Next, we talk about intrinsic rewards-the rewards we experience from work itself. In his book Drive, Daniel Pink breaks these rewards into three categories-autonomy, mastery, and purpose. Autonomy is freedom and control, the sense that your power of choice is involved in whatever you're doing. Mastery is about being able to learn and grow in the areas where you are interested and passionate. And purpose is the sense of being connected and contributing to something good and larger than yourself-something that benefits other people. Honoring businesses work to maximize these rewards because these all contribute to people thriving, excelling, innovating, and collaborating.
The last reward we mention is relational reward. We are relational beings with needs that can only be met through connection with others. Honoring business relationships reward us with joy, belonging, safety, comfort, appreciation, support, and more.
Q: What do you want readers to get out of reading your book?
First, I hope they will finish the whole book, because I think the final chapter offers courage, and that's one of the main things I want to give people-courage to overcome their fear and fight for honoring relationships in their lives. Then I hope they'll feel empowered, not intimidated, to build an honoring business and become an honoring leader, whatever their position. Lastly, I hope they will encounter the Father's heart for them.
Q: How have your life and your business been changed after you practiced these principles from your book?
What I describe in the stories I share in the book is that stewarding relationships well in life and business has been a lifelong journey full of struggle, but that honoring choices have proven to be absolutely critical to saving me, my family, and my business from disaster and sustaining growth over the years.