Developing Leaders – Tom Yeakley

Taking the Mystery out of Leadership

Recruiting and Retaining the Best

General Colin Powell [Chairman (Ret.), Joint Chiefs of Staff] in his work, “A Leadership Primer” describes the following principle:

“Organization doesn’t accomplish anything. Plans don’t accomplish anything either. Theories of management don’t much matter. Endeavors succeed or fail because of the people involved. Only by attracting the best people will you accomplish great deeds.”

How does a leader attract and recruit the best people to accomplish great things? Here are several of my thoughts:

1. Ask God to give you people to help you accomplish what He has asked you to do. People are a gift from Him. John 17:6

2. Have a clear and compelling vision that is big enough to grab someone’s attention, challenge their status quo, and attract them to join you in making that vision a reality.

3. Recruit to vision, not activity!

4. Don’t be afraid to ask busy, competent people to join with you in making this a vision come true. Be bold! James 4:2

5. Promise to lead and care for them well. Deliver on your promise.

6. Promise to develop them for contribution, not role or title. Deliver on your promise.

7. Trust that God will sovereignly bring people across your path to help you. 1 Chron. 12:22

8. Ask people to make a decision – does God want you with us or not? What does God want you to do with this decision?

9. Don’t let the decision linger with not deadline. Don’t rush it, but don’t let it go on forever either.

10. Celebrate the person’s response. If with you – great! If God has said no to this offer –great! We only want what God wants for you!

Are you asking God for the best possible people or are you simple looking for anyone with a pulse? Ask Him to give you His best!

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8 thoughts on “Recruiting and Retaining the Best

  1. Thanks Tom. This is very relevant to where I am TODAY! My most challenging point is #4. Lord, give me greater boldness.

  2. Konstantin on said:

    I resonate with this, Tom, am compelled to pursue a better me and to pray for best men to join the work.
    This invitation from the Lord gives me boldness to ask and even command God regarding His sons:
    Isaiah 45:11 (ESV)
    Thus says the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, and the one who formed him:
    “Ask me of things to come; will you command me concerning my children and the work of my hands?”

    • Hi K….I agree that we seek the best men possible…not that God can’t use everyone, but we should not shrink back from going after those who are already accomplishing much. I’m reminded that the Lord recruited successful fishermen who seemingly had a thriving business to leave it all and come with Him.

  3. Jonny Lawrance-Owen on said:

    Thanks for this Tom. I’ve just phoned someone to ask him and his family to move town to help us run the student ministry here. This article was a real inspiration and help.

  4. “Recruit to vision, not activity!” really challenges me, dear Tom!
    Can an organisation really implement such a principle?
    This would mean that:
    * staff would be recruited to fulfil corporate visions, not to only implement specific processes;
    * leaders would inspire their teams by invitations to join the vision, not by delegating action lists;
    * evaluation of accomplishment would be measured according to a realisation of the vision, not by completion of activities;
    * responsibility would be shared for creating, nurturing and sharing vision, instead of leaders crafting vision and delegating activities; and that
    * personal passion and commitment towards unique individual callings would be needed to contribute to the overall vision, instead of only a personal buy-in towards the corporate goals.
    This sound too good to be true. I would love to hear if you have ever experienced such vision-oriented organisational processes and structures to actually work in practice. If so, could you share how this improved the organisational impact?
    Looking forward to hear from you, Rudolf

    • Rudolf, It may seem “too good to be true,” but it can be a reality. Yes, I have experienced this type of leadership environment where a commonly held vision inspires, motives, informs decisions, aligns, and recruits. The result is a highly motivated and committed group of people to are pulling together towards a common outcome. Amos 3:3 informs us that if we don’t have a common destination then we can’t walk together. Developing a shared vision and then aligning all parts towards this agreed upon destination is the art of good leadership. Tom

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