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Excellence Wins

| 2 min read

Written by Matt Steen
Jun 4, 2019 6:56:00 AM

Horst Schulze on hiring well

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to listen to Horst Schulze, founder of the Capella Hotel Group and co-founder of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, share at ReThink Leadership. Schulze's recent book, Excellence Wins, shares what he has learned through his years leading ultra-high end customer service focused organizations.

While the book has a great deal to offer church leaders on leadership, creating a remarkable first impression, and developing a healthy organizational culture, there were three things that he shared on hiring that churches need to learn.

Don't hire, select.

Before you post a single job opening, take time to think about what kind of person could do this job successfully and even joyfully. Who would get up in the morning and want to do this? What kind of personality would they have?

It can be easy to fall into the hiring mindset: there is a job that needs to be done... let's get someone in here to do it! In certain companies and occupations, this mindset makes a ton of sense. But in an organization that relies on a healthy culture to achieve its vision, this can be disastrous. This is why we help churches to develop a Church and Candidate Profile at the beginning of every search. Sitting down to develop an understanding of who you are looking for, how they are wired, and what gets them fired up helps ensure that you find the right person for the job and your church's culture. This will also give you clarity on who to say no to (and why!), and who to select for your opening.

Don't take shortcuts

As already mentioned, hurry can be a great saboteur. I’ve got to have somebody on board by next Monday! we tell ourselves. Yet all too often, the person we grab to fill a slot doesn’t belong there at all. Our momentary sigh of relief in the beginning turns into a groan later on down the road.

Sunday's coming. Sunday always comes. During a recent search we were approached by the chairman of the search and asked if we should be changing some of the requirements of the position. The church was looking to replace a pastor after a recent retirement and felt the opening on a weekly basis as they were taught by a long list of guest preachers. The search wasn't taking an exceptionally long time, the issue was that every seven days the church was reminded of the need.

When you adopt a mindset of selecting, instead of hiring, the process can feel like it is dragging on for an eternity. It will be tempting to relax your standards in order to speed up the process... this will only double the length of your search as you will be doomed to repeat it in the near future.

Own failure

In such situations, it is easy to blame the employee who is being dismissed. “Well, Joe just didn’t work out,” it is said. The leader goes on to think of examples of what Joe did or didn’t do that put him in a bad light. But I have to ask, Who was the dummy who hired Joe in the first place? Was Joe actually the right fit for this job? If indeed he was, what could we have done better to make him successful? What did we fail to do? Was it really all his fault?

It is easy to write off someone who resigns or is fired as being a "bad fit" or not having the "right stuff" to make it work in their role. We like to point fingers and blame the person... so that we don't have to ask ourselves the hard questions.

There are times when a candidate intentionally deceives, hides the truth, or lies about who they are and what they can do. I have found that this is the exception, not the rule. One of the most helpful things that a church can do after a termination or a resignation is to conduct an exit interview (we've created a helpful tool for this here). Use this exercise to learn where you could have better served the departing staff member and where your culture, systems, or relationships broke down.

The hiring process in the church world is hard work! Choosing someone to shepherd your congregation needs to take time, intention, and a good bit of prayer in order to be successful. Lean into it, embrace the process, and stay the course and you will be successful.



P.S. If you are trying to figure out how to make your next hire, I'd love to have a conversation. Click here to schedule a time for us to talk.