Interstate Batteries CEO, Norm Miller
In a recent interview with ChristiaNet.com, Norm Miller, CEO of Interstate Batteries shared his experiences with motivating his employees to not only work within the constraints of his company's mission statement, but to live it as well. He also shares his testimony of a new life in Christ, and how he sees his faith being played out in the every day world of working.
William Cooper & Norm Miller
Norm Miller's accomplishments do not only revolve around Interstate Batteries. Norm also serves as a board member of Dallas Theological Seminary and Dallas Seminary Foundation. Norm Miller has also authored "Beyond the Norm", a book that explains Miller's method to integrating his life and work and faith.
When ChristiaNet asked Miller about his challenges as a Christian business leader, Miller told ChristiaNet, "I guess the biggest challenge as a business leader is to establish appropriate priorities; then, properly direct our efforts to maintain them. It is very easy to go off on tangents and over-commit in areas that are not really your main priority."
Miller and Interstate determine their priorities by trying to live by the corporate Mission Statement, which is, "To glorify God as we supply our customers worldwide with top quality, value-priced batteries, related electrical power-source products and distribution services." He explained that Interstate Batteries furthers their mission by providing their partners and Interstate Batteries System of America, Inc. with opportunities which are profitable, rewarding, and growth-oriented. Our feeling is that if we treat all of our business associates with respect, fairness, integrity, care for their needs, listen to them and professionally serve them, then we will always be building a model that will work."
Miller expounded further on how he encourages those at Interstate Batteries to live the company Mission Statement. "The top executives within this company are in agreement to daily personify it. Periodically, we have a professor, from Dallas Seminary, speak to our vice presidents on the issues of integrity, honesty, etc. We also provide written material to all our leaders pertaining to our corporate values and beliefs."
While Norm Miller's book is an exposition of his work and faith, He shared a synopsis of his testimony with ChristiaNet. "Well, I say that I came to Christ under duress. I realized that I had become an alcoholic and all of the life-trappings I acquired were no longer satisfying to me. I was an empty person. On top of that, I was anxious with the fear of failure. It was around that time that a friend of mine told me I needed to read the Bible. It was God's Word and it was truth. I simply asked God to prove that His Word was true.
"I began to read the Bible - actually what I did was an apologetic study of the Bible. I was searching to see if the Bible could even be believable. I wanted to make a decision based on facts that this was indeed the Word of God. I began to compare archeology, antique manuscripts, and fulfilled prophecies of the Old Testament and New Testament. All of a sudden, I realized there was too much for this not to be true.
"Then, I began to read the Bible to see what it said about me. I came across the Scripture in Galatians 5:22 where it talks about the fruit of the Spirit. All I read were the first three attributes and I realized that was exactly what I am looking for-love, joy and peace. I knew that if I had love, joy and peace then I really had life. Circumstances really didn't make any difference if I could have these things. So, if this was the fruit of the Spirit, I wanted to know how I could get the Spirit. Then I read in Matthew 7:7 where it says, "seek and ye shall find." I told God, "I am a seeker and Your Word says that I shall-not may- find."
From these Biblical discoveries, Norm Miller tells that he made the decision to accept Jesus Christ. "From there, I went on to discover that Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life. I learned that I was a sinner separated from God because of my own behavior and faults. I knew I was a sinner even without reading it in the Bible. I knew it in my heart. It was in May of 1974 that I prayed and received Jesus Christ. I have never been the same since."
So how does a huge and successful company allow employees, and Chairman of the Board, play out their faith in the workplace? Norm Miller explains, "As I said earlier, we do believe that our faith should be out-front and we want to exercise it boldly, but with sensitivity. When someone is hired by our company we are very up-front with our values and explain that we expect our employees to hold to those values. These values are not only Christian, but they just make good business sense. The last thing that we want is to discriminate against anyone. In fact, we do have individuals in our company who are not Christians. Our goal is to be real with everyone. If we are real, our faith will speak for itself. We have had people (who work for other companies in our building) comment on how they perceive our company. Such as, I have heard in the elevator comments like, "You all are so happy, you must work for Interstate." We believe it is because of the values we share and the love for one another that enable us to have and exhibit this sort of an ambiance."
Considering that Interstate Batteries is a $650 million dollar privately held corporation with 200,000 retail distributors of batteries and over thirteen million in unit sales, Norm Miller has plenty of opportunity to live his faith as an example to millions just within his workplace. Faith is not only exercised in full time ministry, it is exercised in the everyday life of thousands who work within the secular industry. This is where people like Norm Miller are making a difference, and oh, how it shows.