David Kuhnert | Global U Talks - 04/07/20
Andrew Haak: [00:00:00] I wanted to ask you first of all about culture. I know that's something we've talked about a lot before and you've experienced a lot of different cultures and your background between the military, workplace and elsewhere. And I wanted to know, what would you say is the importance of culture in a time of crisis for an individual team national.
Dave Kuhnert: [00:00:22] Yeah, good question. A culture. First of all, we have to define what culture is. And every organization has a culture. As you know, a family is an organization or where you work, Christians in a church. The church is an organization and every organization has its own culture. And the different supports is whether you're going to follow that culture or not.
And then a culture is simply a shared set of values and a shared language. So it's, it's what we look at is what's honorable. And what's shameful. So you know, time of crisis, you really get an opportunity to see what people really value, not what they say they value or what they think they value, but what do they really value?
So a culture being what is honorable and what's shameful is it, you know, the United States as a, as a country standing in line and taking your turn is something we value in some way as part of our culture. It's honorable to wait your turn. To cut in line is shameful. If you need to cut in mind somebody probably going to say something to you in the grocery store or if somebody cuts you off in traffic, that's, that's shameful.
And, and feel the need to tailgate them to help them understand that it's, it's shameful to do that. So, yeah, I think a time of crisis, what really happens in a time like this or any difficult situation is you get to see the true metal of the man. You get to see who they really are and what they really value.
So if we want to demonstrate to others what it is to be a Christian, then that's what they should see from us right now. They should see this, the radiating of the inner light of what it means to, to pursue Christ.
Andrew Haak: [00:01:58] Hmm. That's awesome.
That's really good. I know, culture has sometimes different seasons to it on like what level it brings out. So like you'd said, bring it out the middle of a man. I was wondering what you think about what temporary changes should be made. I know the military can be quite a different environment of like a deployment versus stateside and more training focused. And what, what are, is you think someone could make changes right now and that would help them live out the best of their culture that they have to offer.
Dave Kuhnert: [00:02:22] So get culture is about values and what we value does change through our lives. Sometimes, hopefully our top values stay relatively the same. Persistent or continued bombardment from outside sources can cause our values to start to shift and have values drift. If we're not around like-minded people, you know, like mom used to tell you, you're the average of your five closest friends.
While the people you're around is who you're going to start to behave like. And you'll take on those attributes and, and start to believe those values. And she can have a values drift from once. You should have to where you are. The importance of going to church and being an organization or around others that are pursuing Christ and having those types of values is really important.
Otherwise, being around and exposed to things outside of what are our values are, is going to cause us to move away from that. So in the military, you know, being in Garrison or in the States, the culture was still the culture we need deployed. It's just the circumstances that have changed. It's what we're experiencing that's changing.
So if we don't allow the circumstances to change us, well, that's awesome. We are who we are, and that's truly what we value then. But if circumstances, every time something changes, your values change. Well, then who are you as a person? If every time the wind blows a different direction, you're shifting and changing who you are and what you actually believe in.
Andrew Haak: [00:03:51] Would you say that. In crisis is one of the best times to really assess if your values are your values?
Dave Kuhnert: [00:03:58] Well, and then that's the opportunity here, right? I mean, look at, this is a bad, a bad thing. And of course it is. There's people that are dying and people that are experiencing very challenging circumstances, but the challenging circumstances are what shape us. The points in our life that, you know, we call it the pit of dispare. And when we're in that pit, those are the moments that really define us, that help us become who are meant to be a bitter in scripture, calls it a fiery trials, and those close fiery trials hone us and shape us and mold us when we have an opportunityto come out stronger on the other side.know finally figuring out who we really are, who we're meant to be.
Andrew Haak: [00:04:39] Yeah. I remember before you had mentioned with that as we are defining like where we're going and we're using our core values and vision as a bit of a compass. So thinking of it with that in mind right now, I'm sure a lot of people's, their, their initial plan that they had set up was completely blown up like majority of the States. Whether it was travel plans or business, they wanted to start a restaurant, whatever it is. How would you suggest people start at ground zero in rebuilding the new there? If they're still defining their values?
Dave Kuhnert: [00:05:12] Yeah, so really many parts to that question. I'm pretty deep there. Yes. So your purpose probably hasn't changed. You know, if you are, start putting too much into, you know, wanting to start a business and that's who I am as my identity, then you probably have your identity wrapped up in the wrong thing. We want to have a transcendent purpose that transcends all of these things. You know, it gives us a direction for life and, and pursuing Christ in some way, form or fashion as a Christian, if you're not a Christian, , you want to have something that transcends all of that. Andif you don't have that, then circumstances like this can really cause a depression can cause you to have some, some really difficult, much more difficult times in your life then you need to have. But discovering that purpose in life to give you that direction.
If my business failed or I don't have a business anymore, that's not me. The principle of separation says, I am not my job. I'm not my business. I'm tied up in my identity in something greater that transcends all of that. So that's awesome that you wanted to start a business. Your circumstances have now changed.
It's not what you do is who you are and what you do. That really matters. So if I'm going to do to have a purpose that transcends all of that, then I have an idea of where I'm heading. If starting a business was on that path, well that's great. Maybe it's not anymore. And I'm still on that path though.
It's just the business was not the there. It was a goal that I really wanted, but that goal isn't going to happen potentially now, at least for right now, it doesn't mean that there's not going to be tremendous economical opportunities on your side of this thing. So you may need to just kind of have tactical patience.
Andrew Haak: [00:06:54] Wow. Yeah. I think that's definitely one of the most difficult things and seen with anyone on a journey is, especially like Global U [Christian Gap Year] have like trying to continually formulate what that purpose looks like.
Dave Kuhnert: [00:07:05] Yeah, so you know, I mean the oil and gas industry right now and so very challenging times for us. If you watch the markets and all, you can see the last couple of days we've had a little bit of a bounce back, but the oil industry as a whole is about to experience something much worse.
You know, right now you see oil prices kind of bounce back into the upper twenties, but that's all going to come falling apart here over the next month or so. As inventories continue to rise. So the oil industry employs about 5% of all the workforce. The only link, the energy industry as a whole employs about 5% of the workforce in America.
And another 3% are downstream from that. So there's going to be about 8% of the people that are in some pretty economic dire straits, if you will, along with many other people out there. And as that energy industry starts to implode a little bit. A lot of companies are going to go bankrupt. A lot of people are going to fall off from where they are.
So we definitely, as an industry, you know, along with the service industries and the airline industries and all of those, it definitely is the prayers and the encouragement just to get through these tough times and just to keep everything in perspective of what really matters is, is not about a job.
Although that is important to us and we at tie our identity and things like that. When we tie our identity only to, that is where we have the problem. I don't, I don't remember the playoffs a few years ago in NFL with the Chicago bears kicker hit the field goal, the upright at the last second, and they failed to make it another step in the playoffs.
I think it was on a morning show the next day. And they asked him. So how does that make you feel? Well, nobody wanted to make that kick more than he did. And the interviewer's like, well, what's the deal here? You know? I mean, how does that make you feel as a person? I am. I kicked footballs for the NFL.
That's not who I am. My identity tied to something greater. So yeah, he's disappointed he didn't make it. And of course we'd be disappointed if things don't go our way right now. But our identity should be tied to something greater than what we do is who we are and what we do. As I mentioned earlier, that that really matters in the direction that we're headed in life.
So to keep that perspective, our perspective is really important right now because our perspective, you know, who do we trust is number one, we can control our perspective and our perspective then who we trust is going to affect. Our attitude. And that in turn is going to affect our choices, our actions.
So if our actions are bad right now because we don't want to wait in line because we value ourselves or something in ourselves more than others, then that's going to be there because our attitude is bad. And because we're not trusting God right now. So those three things are the three things we can control and our perspectives really important to keep those things in line.
Andrew Haak: [00:09:51] Wow. So having the perspective is going to affect like how we see all, but when we get caught up in those actions, we can take a step back and actually look at what those three things are we can control is what you're saying. That's incredible, okay. Students, if you guys have any questions, now is the time.
Haley, you might have to unmute, some like Kelson and you guys. Okay. I can't turn my video on, but can you hear me?
Kelson Mudd: [00:10:20] . Okay. Yes, I have a question really quick. let's see. So we talk a lot about almost how grateful, I guess we are to be, between 18 and 24 years old and be going through this rather than farther along. what are ways that you see that young people can use this opportunity?
Dave Kuhnert: [00:10:35] Yeah, good question.
So an opportunity like this and we want to really look at this as an opportunity. That's a great perspective to have Kelson, Matt. It's a. Obviously, first and foremost, the most important thing and what you value is the purpose and the direction you're heading is the opportunity to show others what grace is all about, what patients is all about, what pursuing Christ is all about.
So first and foremost, we look at what did Christ do and pursuing him in life, and what should we be doing for others in a time like this? And from economic opportunities, obviously there's going to be, you know, it's, you. Have an opportunity to invest in things. The market is at an all time low or has been, you have an opportunity to invest in stocks if that's the direction you want to head.
Real estate has coming down. It's a difficult time for people. And if you think of, if you've ever read rich dad, poor dad, Robert Kiyosaki, it's times like this that he invested into real estate and that's where he made his wealth, was investing in know apartment complexes. When things took a downturn.
So if you have the money to invest right now, that's wonderful. If you don't, well, there's still opportunities out there to get involved in things especially on the side of pursuing Christ and helping others and serving others. Yeah.
Kelson Mudd: [00:11:52] Thank you.
Andrew Haak: [00:11:53] Who else has a question?
Hailey Hite: [00:11:56] Are there any personal changes that you've made in the mid low these changes in, like how's it affected your life? I'm curious.
Dave Kuhnert: [00:12:05] Yeah, great question. So personal changes that have impacted my life. Well, I'll tell you when this first started, all this stuff I'm talking about sounds real good. And boy, they must have it all together talking about purpose and direction.
It's so hard to even see. I was really stressed out. I don't know if I'll have a job here at the end of the year. We'll see what happens. We can hold on for so long, but if things get too bad, I won't have a job. And I was not just so much for me and my family, but the people I employ, you know, we have over 250 employees here and thousands of vendors and service companies that work for us that aren't working for us right now.
And I was really allowing that to eat me alive. I was really stressed out and it was causing me to really not be able to enjoy the time that I do have and, and be focused on the things I should be focused on. And so now having stepped back from that and trying to take a different perspective has really helped.
But I didn't even realize I was doing that until my daughters said, you know, the whole family is worried about you right now. You look really stressed out. Like, gosh, I guess I am. That's all I'm thinking about. Instead of focusing on the things I shouldn't be focusing on. And those are important things.
And we certainly want to stay in business and I want to pour a lot of effort into keeping people employed, including myself, but not to allow that, not, not to allow myself to become that, but to observe it and just step back from it and, and look at what's really important.
Hailey Hite: [00:13:33] That's really good. Thank you.
Andrew Haak: [00:13:38] Is there a practical tool you'd recommend? So remind yourself of those things in a time when things are kind of foggy and easy to forget.
Dave Kuhnert: [00:13:48] Yeah, I don't know if I want to forget because it is important, but put it in the proper perspective is probably the right, the right word to use there, it is.
You know the things you've worked. You know, I'm 50 years old and I've worked my whole life. I've had a 23 year career in the military and another a decade out of the military working at a building what I have and, and, and much of that's gone. And, so you look at that and you say, ‘Oh my gosh, it's all over.’
And that's easy to go down that, that road, but it's not true. So having the proper perspective of what I can control and what I can't, I can't control how long we're going to be stuck in our homes or where people aren't going to be able to allow to go out and start burning some gasoline to allow me to continue to have a job.
I can't control that. So why am I going to obsess over it so I can control me and I can control from that who I trust, my attitude and my actions? That's it. That's all I can, I can do. So I gotta I'm not going to be able to influence what's going on in Saudi Arabia and with the Russians right now. That's not what anything I can do.
I can't control whether or not people are going to get on airplanes or on cruise ships anytime soon or how long the spires is going to last. So I've got to control what I can and quit stressing or obsessing over things. I can't.
Mary Korch: [00:15:08] Hi, Dave. So we've been kind of looking at. Changes that's been made in the world. Kind of like socially, economically, and spiritually through the coronavirus, do you have any thoughts on what, how these changes are going to be fads or how they're going to be trends? Cause some might just be for this time on Correnti for a few weeks or however long it is.
And then some might carry on for years and years and years and change history. So do you have any thoughts on that?
Dave Kuhnert: [00:15:38] Yeah. Obviously I can't predict the future, but when you look at the majority of tragic situations, we've had like 9/11. There were some permanent changes that came out of that where you used to be able to show up for an airplane last minute and get on an airplane and get, just get through the gate.
Now the TSA and all the screening that's become the new normal. We don't even think about it. So we'll probably be some things that are the new normal that might be more people allowed to work from home. Ideally, managers will learn to. Give clear expectations and clear consequences for people who work from home for that to be successful.
Because typically that doesn't work well because there is no management that does that very well with clear expectations and consequences. GLF people at home that are not productive. And you'll have to hire many more employees to get the same level of work. There's just too many distractors. So ideally, they would learn how to do that.
And we could separate more in the workforce. But we'll, we'll see what happens. You know, whether or not people shake hands ever again. But if you look at 1918, the Spanish flu, what happened there? I mean, we forgot all about that and everything that goes along with it. And here we are again today.
So you can't ever overestimate our ability to make the same mistake over and over and over again. We're really good at that as humans, and you see that through scripture. Here we are again. So I don't know what's gonna, what's gonna take place from all of this? Hopefully, uh, we'll get back to a semblance of normal polished through the summer and they'll promote the vaccine for this thing, but right now I don't know what, and then what's next.
Mary Korch: [00:17:15] Thank you.
Nathan Bird: [00:17:21] How do you see your role shifting in your workplace and these days?
Dave Kuhnert: [00:17:27] Well, as a leader, you know, it's still to lead and first and foremost is to set a good example. So that doesn't change. I think there's, there's more eyes on the leadership than ever before. As a, as a leader in any organization, as people tend to take on the attributes of leadership.
You'll know if you're leading well, if your people are following well, if you're not leading well, then you're going to have issues in your organization. So yeah, first and foremost, I think I have to continue to lead well and set a good example for everyone else being more clear about what's expected of other snares, clear expectations we just talked about with Mary's question is the same thing.
I've gotta be much more clear if I have people that are going to do some work from home. That's wonderful. If we can, we can accommodate that. But they have to understand exactly what to expect and the level of work that we're supposed to get from them. Because as you can imagine, being at home and no kids are in school right now and everything that's at home, including television and refrigerator, it's hard to get that same level of work and collaboration that that happens in the workplace.
So my role hasn't really changed other than I probably have to give a lot more encouragement than I've had to in the past. Not a bad thing. Yeah.
Andrew Haak: [00:18:44] So I'm about five minutes left. If you guys have any more questions.
Hailey Hite: [00:18:50] Can you speak more on like, what it's been like to be a leader in this time and some different changes you've had to make? Like you said, encouraging more how there's been other things like specifically that have come up or different, yeah, that was it.
Dave Kuhnert: [00:19:05] Yes. So things are changing so rapidly. Right now it's, you know, you're moving one direction and then the half-hour later things have changed completely. Markets are, and the energy in the whole, and trying to preserve what you have and keep people employed so you're constantly changing directions. And trying to not look like you don't know what's going on.
Cause you know but trying to help others saying courage and have faith that the leadership of the organization is trying their best to keep things on track and moving in the right direction. So it's being agile or nimble and flexible, whatever you want to call it in your decision making and not getting locked into one thing because 30 minutes later it's going to change.
So it. At times like this, you have to be very agile. And it's, it's a really, it's a good lesson for small businesses out there as well. You know, most small businesses had about 30 days of cash on hand to be able to give to something like this. So most restaurants after a month mark, you know, unless they get some kind of relief from the government, they're not going to make it.
They're not going to reopen. In fact, most Americans, 60% of millennials don't even have. $1,000 in the bank to be able to handle any kind of an emergency, which is what we're in right now. So if they don't, if they're not working, and those are typically your hourly employees, if they're not working with no income coming in or no help, they're living off credit cards right now.
So if we don't, can't get this turned around quickly, some, there's something out there more dangerous than a virus that could get us. And, yeah, as a leader, of course you have to keep all that in mind and try to help those people find productive things to do in a safe manner.
Hailey Hite: [00:20:45] That's really good. Thank you.
Andrew Haak: [00:20:53] Great. Well I really appreciate your time, Dave. Would one of you students be able to pray us out and unless you have anything in closing that you'd like to add as well, Dave?
Dave Kuhnert: [00:21:06] Oh, no, I appreciate the opportunity. I appreciate everything you guys are doing. And I know maybe the semester didn't end quite like you guys wanted it to, but well what again, if you look at it as an opportunity and a great way to reintegrate, as some of you guys have said in your blogs, instead of going straight from overseas, now you're back home into a completely different culture.
Now at least you have an opportunity to integrate into the coronavirus culture before you have to go back out into the world. Yeah.
Andrew Haak: [00:21:35] It has been a different American or return to, it's definitely been very interesting to reenter, but seemingly not to the same degree.
Dave Kuhnert: [00:21:43] Yeah.
Andrew Haak: [00:21:46] All right, Haley, could you pray over this as we close out?
Hailey Hite: [00:21:54] Father yet again, thank you that we can use technology to just look at the world, share perspectives, learn from our leaders and thank you. They gave their day. They give them share his story, instilled so much wisdom and discernment and clarity of thought and clarity of speech. It really is such a gift.
And I pray that you doesn't increase that as he plays his family and he leads the employees, and he leads other leaders around him. I pray that you continue to give him the perspective that you have been. You continue to be shaping his mind, helping to focus on. What you want him to look at while also holding on to the other hand, the responsibilities.
And seeing the world in all the changes. And I pray they just would help him have this perspective to hold both those things and not be confused, but know how to walk and how to pivot and how to be agile and other ways he is. Yeah. It's pretty that he could continue to give him more capacity to encourage us around him.
I pray that there would just be unity amongst the people he's with and that UV his biggest leader. The whole point of all this would be to let everyone, well, they sound bodies that what it looks like to be a follower of Christ, the thought of you Lord.
Of all the things you've already made him to be you. That'd be an amen.