nehemiah business analysis

Nehemiah: A Business Analysis

Like Esther’s calling to save her people, Nehemiah felt a calling from God to rebuild a wall in his hometown that had been left neglected for over 70 years after being destroyed. “Ordinarily, though, a wall symbolizes strength and protection. In ancient cities the only real means of defense were the walls” (Stedman, 1965). One may ask why no one had rebuilt the walls if they were such an important part of protection. A lack of leadership is one reason. For hundreds of years, these people had been led. There was no one telling them where to start or how to fix this problem now8. They were completely disorganized.

Nehemiah became that leader and proved to be an effective one. He channeled his grief and converted it into determination to help Jerusalem. He too had favor with the King as the trusted cup bearer that brought him his food and drink. He obtained permission and a guarantee of safe passage from the King to travel there and begin work. He would face many challenges in organization, management, and leadership. He guides the people, fulfilling each need in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. The following is a business analysis of the Bible’s book of Nehemiah. defines a business analysis as an “Investigation into the operations of a business to expose the causes behind the results achieved, and the effects of those results on the business” (2013).

One way to identify those challenges and potential solutions is through a SWOT Analysis. INTERNAL


Spiritually ready
Natural born leader
Tremendous faith
Good position politically to get permission
to go fix wall
Determination—Jews and Nehemiah
Strengthen the people
Remove the shame of the broken down
Motivate the Jews
Prove God could help accomplish anything

No knowledge of wall building
Challenges of how to build the wall
How to get the people to help
Wall damage was so extensive
The lazy nobles of Tekoa
Slander and gossip
Enemies wanting to attack
Mocking from Sanballat and Tobiah
Would the wall fail?
People getting tired and wearing out

Nehemiah: A Business Analysis p.3

Nehemiah went into Jerusalem, and in his well-known walk around the gates at night, he surveyed the damage and presented the problem and a well-organized proposal to the officials. Like the quote in the Times 100, he established a direction and a purpose and began to gather the means necessary to begin the rebuild. In doing this, the preparation that he took, built a solid foundation for the work that was to come. It is important to organize human and physical resources to achieve business aims and objectives. This is part of the definition of management. Nehemiah showed equal amounts of
leadership, the enabling people, and management, the getting it done. Peter Drucker states in his book, Management for the 21st Century, that “It has become clear that organization is not an absolute. It is a tool for making people productive in working together” (p. 11). Nehemiah organized the rebuilding of the wall through geographic area and applicable sections. The priests rebuilt the walls that were used for religious purposes like the Sheep’s gate, the citizens did their part with the Fish Gate because that’s where the fish market was and they would be motivated to get it done and sell their goods, and the leaders for a certain area of the city were responsible for their section of gate, families whose homes were near a section took ownership of that part as well. That way, they wouldn’t have to travel far to repair another section and they could use the resources of their entire family.

This organization that Nehemiah enacted is an example of matrix structure, where there is a blend of geographic area and functional resources. It is similar to an organization that is broken down into departments like Human Resources, Finance, and Legal. After work began on the wall, there were people that opposed the work and ridiculed the Jews. Threats became real when several groups plotted to fight against Jerusalem and destroy the work being done. Nehemiah took action. ”He also urged them to set up guards to defend

Nehemiah: A Business Analysis p.4

against the constant threat of those who opposed their efforts, including the armies of Samaria, the Ammonites and the Ashdodites” (Stedman, 1965). He saw the challenges that they faced and organized a plan of defense where men took shifts to stand guard on different sections of the wall so progress could continue. Nehemiah also set up a method of communication in response to this. In Chapter 4 verse 18, it describes a man with a trumpet that stayed near him. The man with the trumpet was responsible for issuing a warning and reassurance when necessary. When men became weak and families struggled, it became clear that the repression that they were dealt from the nobles and officials needed to be reversed.

Nehemiah organized a meeting to confront them. In Nehemiah 5:11 he demands restoration of resources to the people, “Give back to them immediately their fields, vineyards, olive groves and houses, and also the usury you are charging them—the hundredth part of the money, grain, new wine and oil.” These actions relate to Maslow’s Functional Motivation Theory. Nehemiah fulfilled the Jews safety needs with the setting up the communication and the defense system at the wall, as well, as the physiological needs that they had by giving them back the security of their land and sustenance . Nehemiah began this project with a solid foundation and organized the people and his resources into a functional unit, which were then able to accomplish the tasks effectively.

Peter Drucker once said, “Management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things.” This is an age old debate. The answer is both. Being effective encompasses both characteristics of a manager and a leader. Planning, controlling, directing, and organizing are common basic management skills. Managers are problems solvers and are focused on how to accomplish tasks with efficiency. Leaders set

Nehemiah: A Business Analysis p.5
goals, empower and build up others, and provide vision and direction. Leaders inspire others and set the tone by promoting a vision or a purpose. They motivate others to work hard and buy in to that vision. Nehemiah showed characteristics of both an effective manager and an inspirational leader. He not only organized the construction of the wall, but he worked alongside the people. “Instead, I devoted myself to the work on this wall” (Neh 5:16a).

When the wall was finally built, the people had achieved the self-esteem tier in Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, with confidence and respect by others. There are several different leadership styles that Nehemiah modeled. By being sensitive to the needs of the Jews and being both participative and directive, removing countless roadblocks that attempting to interrupt the construction of the wall, and setting goals in work and self improvement, he demonstrated Robert House’s Path-Goal theory (House and Mitchell, 1974). He also showed the characteristics of a Servant Leader.

In Lead Like Jesus, Blanchard and Hodges explain, “The journey of servant
leadership starts in the heart with motivation and intent” (p.83). When Nehemiah inquired about Jerusalem and found out that the wall had been broken down and the people were in trouble and disgrace (Neh 1:3), he wept and prayed. This began his motivation and intent to return to his homeland and help his people. God laid it on his heart to help the people of Jerusalem. He saw himself as God’s servant and went on the serve the people.

When he arrived, he secretly surveyed the challenge and came up with a plan. He didn’t share this information with anyone and was not trying to promote himself and his ideas until he had a clear grasp on what would be realistic and possible. He got personally involved and took risks to begin a project that others said were not possible. Nehemiah had a vision. He shared this vision with his people

Nehemiah: A Business Analysis p.6
and motivated them. Nehemiah showed the two roles of servant leadership, explained in Lead like Jesus, the visionary role and the implementation role. He set the course and the destination. The goal was to complete the wall, quickly to avoid disturbance. He did the right things with a focus on serving (p.84). He was in tune with the needs of the people. He protected them, loved them like family, and fulfilled their physiological needs and would eventually help them move to the highest tier of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. He never hesitated and remained faithful in prayer as he passed through opposition and challenge after challenge.

After the wall was complete, Nehemiah’s work did not stop there. “Servant leaders recognize that their success derives from the attitude that they are leading an organizational effort to develop a productive community” (Boone Makhani 2012). He continued leading the people to repent and renew their lives for God. He restored the strength and faith of the community while leading by example. He helped them to realize how far they had drifted from God’s law. He continued to pray for them. Nehemiah transformed a broken people and educated them on how to continue to live in God’s favor. “The fruit of a great servant leadership is realized when a leader seeks to send the next generation of leaders to meet the challenges of their season with all the wisdom, knowledge, and spiritual resources he or she can provide” (Boone & Makhani 2012). Nehemiah helped the people rebuild their lives spiritually
and they finally achieved Maslow’s self-actualization tier.

Several factors played into the success of the tasks that Nehemiah accomplished. His leadership and management skills that were described above and his dedication to the Lord and the people of Jerusalem motivated him to succeed. Nehemiah not only succeeded, he did so efficiently and accomplished the once thought impossible task of rebuilding the wall in only 52 days. The damage was too extensive to ever be repaired they said. He reconstructed the wall and the community of Jerusalem.

Nehemiah: A Business Analysis p.7
He had a vision and he shared it with the people. He inspired changes in them, made changes in policies, and left everyone in a better place. The impact that he made on the people through his success is lasting. The NIV Life Application Study Bible says, “Nehemiah was able to accomplish a huge task against incredible odds because he learned that there is no success without risk of failure, no reward without hard work, no opportunity without criticism, and no true leadership without trust in God”, (p. 747). He was called by the Lord and he answered. His works set an example for the entire community of Jerusalem and many generations to follow.

Nehemiah: A Business Analysis p.8

Author Unknown. (2013). BusinessDictionary. WebFinance, Inc. Retrieved from

Blanchard, K & Hodges, P. (2005). Lead Like Jesus. (p. 83). Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, Inc.

Boone, L. W., & Makhani, S. (2012). Five Necessary Attitudes of a Servant Leader. Review of Business, 83-96. Retrieved from

Drucker, P. (1999). Management Challenges for the 21st Century. (p. 11). New York, NY: HarperCollins.

House, R & Mitchell, TR. (1974). Path-goal Theory of Leadership. Retrieved from

Life Application Study Bible (2005). New International Version. Zondervan. (p. 747). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.

Stedman, R. (1965). Nehemiah:Rebuilding the Wall. Retrieved from

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