What is the most valuable resource to your organization?
There are lots of different answers—all of which might be important, but let me go ahead and tell you the right answer—people. The people are the most valuable resource in any organization.
In my context, we rely heavily on people who serve on the church staff and others who serve as unpaid servants out of a commitment to the mission and vision. Money is important and nice to have. Facilities are key as well. But the overwhelming need in any organization is people and the right people can overcome a lack of any other resource. So how do you know if you have the right people?
Here are the top three characteristics that define quality people* as the greatest resource.
1. Quality people are committed to the mission.
The mission of the church is to be a vehicle for God’s will to be done on earth as it is in Heaven. This includes ushering people into relationship with Jesus, encouraging people to follow Jesus, and equipping them to fully live into this mission. Quality people deserve the opportunity to speak into the vision of how this mission plays out, but there is no room for personal agendas. We can discern together how best to get there, but if you are more interested in promoting your “stuff” (I’m hesitant to name examples of the stuff here), then you will always create sideways energy keeping those who are committed to the mission from moving further faster.
Quality people strive to live out this mission in their own personal lives.
2. Quality people exhibit a positive and encouraging demeanor.
Quality people demonstrate a friendly demeanor. They understand that this is a team effort. They are positive, flexible, teachable, and generally excited to be a part of the team. And when things do not go as planned, they want to know what they could have done differently, rather than pointing the finger at others or crossing their arms with a “told you so” smirk across their face.
Alternately, you know the “expert” in the group. You know the “negative Nancy” in the group. Those who are completely inflexible and always right—who never exhibit any signs of remorse, mistakes, or teachability—are poison to the team. The interesting thing, is that those without the right demeanor can be some of the best talkers around the mission. But their true colors will eventually show through.
There are lots of dynamics that play into an individual’s demeanor and many times he or she may not even be self-aware of how he or she comes across to others. Others simply don’t care how they come across. Poison.
3. Quality people are ambitious.
Have to be careful here, because those with a detrimental demeanor can also be very ambitious. Their ambition looks great at first, but it will cost you in the long run.
Quality people do not just rely on you as the leader or the systems you have created to produce the work. Instead, they create solutions to roadblocks of the mission on their own and their ambitions leads them to filter potential solutions, updates, and tweaks through the values of the organization. They bring their ideas and do not simply consume whatever is being fed from above. They think, create, and challenge.
These are the top three qualities I look for in people as we develop leaders to build a faithful and successful organization.
How about you? How would you describe the quality people in your organization? What am I missing?
* Disclaimer: By using the term quality people, I do not mean to pass judgement on anyone being more or less valuable as a person. At the same time, I often witness leaders operate out of a naiveté that all people are quality people “deep down” and, although I think people can develop these three specific qualities, I have found that energy spent moving difficult people toward being quality people is not energy well spent. I try, however, to love and serve all.