Roy Goble has seen runaway success as a businessman, great impact as a ministry leader, and shares meaningful wisdom in his books. But it all started in the salvage yard!
Roy worked together with his dad for years, finding use and new life from items others no longer wanted, and he says it was an incredible education. He shares one of the lessons that still guides him.
“It was a rule in the junkyard. If you were late to work, you better bring donuts!”
He offers a redemptive example of the simple rule in action.
“There was an employee that suddenly just disappeared. We had no idea where he went. 3 days went by, and we didn’t know if he’d run off with his girlfriend and eloped. We didn’t know if he had just found a better job and moved on, or if he was in jail! I mean we had no idea. And he suddenly – in a sort of biblical way – shows up on the third day. And he comes to work with 2 dozen donuts in these giant pink boxes. And he walks in with these 2 dozen donuts. He puts them on the counter, without a word to anybody and walks right on back to his regular job.”
“Nobody said a thing about where have you been for the last 3 days, because he brought donuts. So there was this wonderful sort of grace in the midst of that. You know you messed up. You’re asking for forgiveness. Forgiveness is granted, and life goes on. I love that system, and we still use it today at my company. If you’re going to be late, you better bring donuts.”
We can put so much stress and pressure on ourselves to lead well, and to use our influence in the best way we can. But Roy makes the ear-catching claim that it’s never been about perfect leadership, it’s about who we’re leading people toward.
“All of us in various forms, in various times are leaders. But we as leaders are probably doing our best work when we’re helping people walk toward Christ. It doesn’t really matter if you’re operating a Fortune 500 company and you have thousands of employees that answer to you, or if you are just a single, sole proprietor, if you’re a mom and you’ve got a family to run, or if you’re a school teacher with 30 kids in the class.”
“If you’re doing something that brings light, salt, and yeast to the world around you, then you are bringing people closer to understanding who Christ is. Because they’ll see Christ in you. I really believe that’s the essence of good leadership as a follower of Christ. If we get stuff done, great! That’s what forms our credibility and proves our competency. But at the base of it is this idea of character and faith, and that – to me – that’s the important value of leadership.”
After growing up helping his dad with the family junkyard, Roy Goble took over the family’s real estate business. Since then, he’s continued to wrestle with the implications of following Jesus for business leaders and wealth creators. He is the CEO Of Goble Properties, the director of PathLight International, and the author of Junkyard Wisdom: Resisting the Whisper of Wealth in a World of Broken Parts.