“We must never put our dreams of success as God’s purpose for us. The question of getting to a particular end is a mere incident. What we call the process, God calls the end. His purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now. It is the process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.”
Who wouldn’t be anxious? After twenty years of launching and then fathering a not-for-profit to significant maturity and impact, it was time to find a replacement. It takes incredible maturity and humility to step aside from all that you’ve created… to believe that ultimate success and long term viability of the enterprise requires another at the helm. Many founders or entrepreneurs never find the temerity of spirit to reach this point. Of the few that do, most find it difficult to actually let go.
I asked this "Moses" what it felt like to think that someone else might take them into the promised land. He rejected that idea. Rather than remain in the wilderness, this leader plans to accompany them on the rest of the journey (just with someone else taking the lead). He is graciously moving into a different role that will help ensure the success of his replacement. He is stepping aside to let other leaders rise. He is ready to walk this ancient, but rarely taken trail.
A few months ago, we gathered with their leadership team over coffee. We were at a new Starbucks that hadn’t been adopted by too many “regulars” yet. It was quiet and we sat in bar stools at a taller table that seemed to match the gravity of the situation.
Were we really ready to do this?
How would the current founder really handle this?
How do we make sure we hire the right person?
Does that person actually exist?
The air was pregnant with those questions, stories of disastrous hires, and concerns about everyone’s anxiousness to find the right person. After all that fog had lifted a bit, a process began to emerge. With slate wiped clean, we wove our hopes, ideas, experience, and best practices, into an articulated process we believed was God-breathed specifically for this task.
And then we all held our breath.
There were a lot of steps. It would take time. Would we run off good candidates through the articulated process?
They ultimately worked from 22 candidates:
- They looked at relevant experience
- Scanned for requisite skills
- Checked references
- Cast vision to see if it was caught and embraced
- Looked for a coherent heart for their work
- Had them spend time around the mission
- Spent time around the team
- Had staff interviews
- Had board interviews
- Met their spouse
Each step of the way, the funnel narrowed and candidates withdrew or were eliminated. The process did its job and the incontrovertible choice emerged.
But, success wasn’t ultimately claimed when the new hire was made. Success was determined when we committed to the process.
“His purpose is that I depend on Him and on His power now. It is the
process, not the end, which is glorifying to God.”
- Do you need to make a crucial hire?
- Have been burdened and discouraged by bad hiring decisions in the past?
- Do the work. Seek wisdom, power, and guidance from beyond you. Craft a process. Trust that process. Walk the ancient trail.