Nehemiah’s Project Management X Factor and Timber from the King’s Forest

Nehemiah’s Project Management X Factor and Timber from the King’s Forest

His ancestors had dedicated a Temple around 10th century BC to Yahweh. But Nebuchadnezzar II destroyed it around 587 BC during the siege of Jerusalem, by Babylon. It had taken many years to build that Temple.

He grew up, and rose to become one of the most important men in Persia (in modern Iran): a cup-bearer to Artaxerxes, king of Persia, and later, the king made him a governor of Persian Judea. To rebuild the Temple wall, the king gave his permission to use timber from the king’s forest. In the imperial Persia, which had conquered Babylon, commanding the territories with military and economic powers, the king’s timber went with the king’s builders and security.  The wall was rebuilt within 52 days.

Yes, Nehemiah rebuilt the Temple wall circa 408 BC – the very one that stood in Jerusalem during the time of Christ. Later, Roman Generals Titus and Vespasian destroyed it along with the Ark during the siege of AD 67 -70.

I am yet to read of any man that understands foreign policy, diplomacy and large project management better than Nehemiah. In this piece, I explain thus:

If Nehemiah had used any timber that was different from timber from the king’s forest, he would have failed. Understanding the situation in the region, and asking for the king’s timber was the reason he executed within 52 days. You must have the capabilities to decipher the most important component to have a successful project. And you must make sure you have that component.

Simply, any project that received timber supplies from the king’s forest was as good as executed. And only the most important projects qualified. As the aides shipped the timber, the guards would follow, making sure that none was wasted. Another set of guards would monitor compliance.

When I teach in Christian masterclass, I have called this The Nehemiah Xfactor on Project Management. It simply implies: know the most important resource to ensure that a project succeeds. For Nehemiah, it was to get the timber from the king’s forest. I enjoyed the Quality & Asset Management lecture by Tekedia Mini-MBA faculty, Michael Odigie.  In his Tekedia Live session, he used the word “critical” many times, as he explained reliability, quality, project execution, etc. You must understand the “criticality” of the components in your project map.

X Factor – a variable in a given situation that could have the most significant impact on the outcome.

Finish this piece here.

The Timber from the King’s Forest

Good People, I quote Adam Smith, Peter Drucker , Steve Jobs, Buhari, etc. But as a Scripture Union kid, Sunday school in college, and a teacher in the Church, I quote the Bible more often. I get more management insights from the Bible than any document out there. Take this as a nice case study on how to lead and manage projects, even though the reference is the Bible. Have a great Sunday.

Comments on LinkedIn Feed

Comment: Very nice one Ndubuisi Ekekwe. However, I think it was Zerubbabel who started the building of the temple under Cyrus the great despite enemy opposition( Ezra 1-5). Obviously this modest structure didn’t match the original radiance of the first as some of the returnee Jewish elders wept when its foundations were laid Ezra 3. The temple was completed under Darius the 1st, by Zerubbabel & Jewish elders under the prophets Haggai and Zechariah Ezra 6, Zech 4: 8-9. The priest Ezra returned over 100 years AFTER Cyrus gave the proclamation for the Jews to return to Jerusalem (Nehemiah 1 & 2). Nehemiah who returned in the reign of Artaxerses met the 2nd Temple standing with Ezra the priest in charge of worship Nehemiah 1, 2 and 8. However, Nehemiah returned to meet broken walls and his returnee brethren in reproach and destitution. Additionally, they had begun to marry foreign women an act prohibited by Jewish law at that time Nehemiah 1 and 8 and 9. Most also lived in the surrounding cities and not Jerusalem Ezra 1: 68 -70.Reports suggest that Herod the great rebuilt and expanded the temple restoring it to the glory of the 1st and this was the Temple the Romans destroyed. Please review and make corrections to your study.Well done.

My Response: Solomon Temple (the First temple) was destroyed by Babylon in 586 B.C. Decades later, under Ezra/Nehemiah/etc, it was rebuilt (very modest though) for the Second Temple. However, Herod The Great remodeled it. Some Bible scholars call Herod’s work the “Third Temple” but most Jewish scholars do not agree: they insist it was only a rebuilt and remodeling of the Second Temple. When General Titus conquered Jerusalem in AD 67-70, those scholars insist that the Second Temple was destroyed even though Herod remodeled and rebuilt it. I defer to those Jewish scholars.

Also, in Jewish tradition, there is no 3rd Temple for most before AD 70. Solomon built a Temple, Nehemiah worked and rebuilt it; Herod was not in their books for a 3rd one. “However, Nehemiah returned to meet broken walls and his returnee brethren in reproach and destitution.” I think I wrote.. “The wall was rebuilt within days” making it clear that it was the WALL that Nehemiah rebuilt in the 52 days. There is nothing to update in my piece.

But in Jewish tradition it is the Second Temple, only rebuilt by Herod. When the Roman army conquered Jerusalem in 70 A.D., the Roman general Titus destroyed Herod’s rebuilt Second Temple,

Share this post

7 thoughts on “Nehemiah’s Project Management X Factor and Timber from the King’s Forest

  1. The most profound feature Nehemiah exhibited wasn’t his execution capability, but rather thought leadership, being able to figure out the most critical success factor. A flawed thought process stands no chance when stakes are very high.

    Many a times what we see are people who are passionate about solving problem, even when they do not understand the problem they want to solve; at the end of the day, their best efforts aren’t good enough.

    So, it begins with how we view things, the quality of questions we ask, where we ask them, and the sort of people we ask those questions. It is not enough to show willingness or hunger to solve a problem, but how much have you invested in understanding what the problem is, and how robust your assumptions and considerations are.

    Nehemiah understood what needed to be done, and had clarity of thought on how best to get it done. If you are the type that easily get excited at the sight of seemingly first good option, you will never have the patience and resilience to search for deeper and more nuanced option, which would allow you to execute flawlessly.

    What is is in play here is just for the outliers, it is not for everyday people to delve into, else you would mistake bronze for gold.

    Reply
    1. I always love reading from Ndubuisi and feel more of this love reading Francis’ comment. I love both your thought process. It keeps me on my feet.

      Francis I would love to connect with you beyond here. For security reasons I wouldn’t post contact details here. I already added you on LinkedIn which is pending.

      I believe we have things to do together.

      Salute..

      Reply
  2. “It is not enough to show willingness or hunger to solve a problem, but how much have you invested in understanding what the problem is, and how robust your assumptions and considerations are.”

    Amazing! This one is for keeps. Thanks Mr. Francis.

    Reply
  3. And importantly, the process Nehemiah went through, before he secured the kings attention, he fasted and prayed too. Secondly not withstanding the opposition of samballat, Tonight and Geshen, he stood firm and appointed the right people that means that he chose a competent theme, and voilà…52 days , he accomplished his task.

    Reply
  4. Another reminder that a select number of doors are opened from the inside (much like 10 Downing Street), diplomacy Andre international relational was certainly Nehemiah’s asernal and can be so for us today as we navigate business or personal relations – in a deal, who is in the room, outweighs what is it that you are doing that room to start with. Failure to read this might mean 52 years attempting to rebuild a wall, instead of 52 days. Then there’s Divine Provenance

    Reply
  5. Another reminder that a select number of doors are opened from the inside (much like 10 Downing Street), diplomacy in international relational was certainly Nehemiah’s asernal and can be so for us today as we navigate business or personal relations – in a deal, who is in the room, outweighs what is it that you are doing that room to start with. Failure to read this might mean 52 years attempting to rebuild a wall, instead of 52 days. Then there’s Divine Provenance. Much gratitude for sharing.

    Reply
  6. In the Book of Nehemiah, I particularly noted that he prayed a lot. He would just say a prayer in his mind before he made a response. And that confirms that faith without works is nothing. Those who pray should match it with actions.

    Reply

Post Comment