Think Young(er)

November 29, 2004 by

In the December 2004 issue of Fast Company magazine, staff writer Ryan Underwood does a “Fast Talk” with Zean Nielsen, director of marketing for Bang & Olufsen America, the way-too-expensive for me store with gadgets way-too-cool for me.

Zean (pronounced Shawn) is from Denmark. He was recruited by a marketing group that used some major filtering criteria (eight hours of exams, IQ tests, English and Math placement, etc.) before making a recommendation to B&O. Zean got the job. He was 23 years old.

Two years later, at age 25, B&O would recruit him to lead the way in opening 60 stores in the Unites States and Canada. Zean is now 26 years old and 43 of the 60 stores are already up and running.

John A. Byrne, editor of Fast Company, was so impressed he wrote this in his editor’s column in the same issue: “The fact that [Zean has] been given such responsibility so young says a lot about Bang & Olufsen. It is an organization that encourages and supports creativity, a flat and lean company where young, talented people are empowered to make a difference.”

What would happen if pastors appointed a young adult in their twenties (inside the church) to lead a creative team made up of individuals inside and outside the church? This team could meet regularly and dream up new ways to reach the community, enfranchise the disenfranchised, and build loyalty. The team would be fully empowered to function within the context set out by senior leadership.

I can only imagine what would happen in our churches…

Post By:

Brad Abare


Brad Abare is the founder of the Center for Church Communication. He consults with companies and organizations, helping them figure out why in the world they exist, why anyone should care and what to do about it. He and his wife Jamaica live in Los Angeles with their daughter, MirĂ³.
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4 Responses to “Think Young(er)”

  • The Abares
    November 29, 2004

    Zean Nielsen

    I wrote an entry over at Church Marketing Sucks about Zean Nielsen, the director of marketing for Bang & Olufsen America. I share a similar story with Zean in that I too was hired at age 23 into an organization that had never hired anyone so young to s…


  • brad
    November 29, 2004

    Rhinoguy, you have confused me. What is it you’re trying to say?


  • Rhinoguy
    November 29, 2004

    Sorry.
    Forgot the [sarcasm] tags.
    Late night. Not enough coffee.
    –Chris


  • Chris Busch
    November 30, 2004

    Stifle no more

    Brad Abare over at Church Marketing Sucks has an interesting entry titled



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