RELATIONSHIPS: Hire the Best Players

The meeting of two personalities
 is like the contact of two chemical substances: 
if there is any reaction, 
both are transformed. 
 – Carl Jung

We cannot hold a torch to light another’s path without brightening our own.
  – Ben Sweetland

When a choral conductor spends months on rehearsing music with a choir, they don’t want to have a bad instrumental ensemble to accompany them. It is essential, therefore, to hire the best players possible.

It is the same when choosing team, board, or committee members. Choose the best people to work with here, as well. Yes, I know that you don’t get to choose people for some of your committees, staff, or boards, but you can choose people for some occasions, and especially for special project teams, etc. As you replace staff or team members in a rotation process, then you can develop a strategy for choosing the best.

Let’s create a typical scenario and see how it shapes up. Suppose, for a minute, that you want to plan a Christmas program for a non-profit organization. It will be the buzz of the community (yes, the whole community!). This example can be used for a non-profit organization, church, or corporate sponsor for a non-profit program. Choose 10 people to be on a project team to help you with the project. Choose people with competencies in the following areas:

• Networking
• Writing
• Finance
• Recruiting
• Scheduling
• Publicity
• Social arrangements
• Administration

Choose the best people in each category and ask them to attend 10 meetings over a one-year period, beginning in February and ending in January (begin the plan in February; in January, evaluate the program  and plan the next one). Give them a specific set of duties and plan each team meeting like a rehearsal: specific outcomes, healthy pace for the meeting, input from everyone, make sure everyone understands and knows their part. Allow each person to use the skill set requested and build relationships with the other team members, as well as with you, the leader of the team. Building relationships is building community. The concept works well with volunteers, and is especially helpful with paid staff. Motivation and encouragement stem from passion for the project and overall vision, not from a paycheck. Both volunteers and staff members respond first from a sense of obligation (to the organization or to a paycheck). It’s the duty of the leader to inspire and motivate the passion within the participants.

I use this model for start-up companies, large corporations, corporate division offices, non-profit organizations and, basically, in most situations where people come together to make decisions.

The relationships are the starting point for the engagement, project, or team. Then the process takes the place of the relationship. This open and transparent process creates trust on a new level. The trust empowers a group relationship and builds a new sense of community. It’s the relationship with the team and the relationships within the team, as well as the relationship from both of those perspectives with the leader, that empower continual excellence of results.

Hugh Ballou
The Transformational Leadership Strategist