Staffing like the Pros

staffingAs the NFL season turns the corner towards free agency and the draft, we’ve passed by a fairly common post-season where suffering teams have fired their coaching staffs and replaced them with new ones.

Every year we watch as the coach carousel inevitably turns another round. Some names are constantly in the mix for jobs and past successes, or failures, are talked about by news anchors and sports show hosts. Then when it comes to the interview process some will be brought in and given the requisite tours, dinners, and sit downs only to be flown back and never heard from again. Occasionally you’ll also hear about a team that interviews someone purely for perspective.

The challenge of hiring for any NFL team, and really any organization, is two fold: you have to get the right person with the right giftings in place, and you have to understand your needs and the reality of your situation.

Finding talent is one thing, knowing your situation is another. Perhaps this is why some of the best NFL teams go out and interview coaches they have no actual desire of hiring.

One if the syndromes any organization can drift into is being unable to see the reality of the whole field because of a kind of tunnel vision that naturally sets in. We can’t properly evaluate all our talent because we have been stuck in a specific system or process so long that we’ve lost the ability to see our organization objectively.

That is why it is helpful for an owner to go out and interview someone for a head coaching job that he or she has no plans on hiring. It is a discussion about the organization from an expert level perspective outside the organization.

For instance, say a beleaguered NFL team was projected to have a playoff contending season only to go 3-13. The defense has some key players in place, as does the offense, so it doesn’t make sense why such a let down occurred. A wise owner will go out and sit down with a defensive minded head coach candidate to get his perspective. Likewise for offensive struggles or even just to get an analysis of a quarterback situation.

So, what can we learn from this: for our churches and organizations when it comes to hiring a key position, perhaps it is best to find the three or four best leaders in the nation who work in that specific field and call them up for an “interview” where they can provide much needed perspective.

Maybe talking with someone who is at another organization or church in the same area who is seeing success and talking with them about the perceptions and reality of doing your work in that area.

Also, bringing in a candidate who you both understand is likely not going to be hired to walk around the organization, talk with key leaders, and see your processes with fresh eyes allows you to valued feedback on things that might be missed.

Having a plan for staffing your church or organization that takes into account the reality of organizational myopia will ultimately help you fill your position and strengthen your organization. As a leader too often any of us can take for granted our situation and miss opportunities to leverage strengths that we’ve forgotten. Allowing someone from the outside to come in, look at our situation, and provide their analysis will aid our hiring process and help adjust our plans to the reality of a situation.

Staffing like the pros means we are willing to realize we’re not always the best experts for assessing our own situation and that we’re at least willing to talk with, but not necessarily hire, someone with a better perspective.