How hungry is your staff?
Hungry people get things done. They have energy, ideas, are proactive and even impatient. In my experience, there are not enough staffs that have this quality. Over time staff can get comfortable, fit into routines, get stuck in ruts and lose their edge. How hungry is your staff?
How does this happen?
Simply stated: Leaders allow it. They allow staff to fit into their little niche, doing their thing without needing to pay attention to the mission as a whole. They allow silos to develop where each division does its thing. Sometimes they even add too many staff which relieves their teams of having to train volunteers and needing to work hard. Accountability for getting things done lags and there is not a missional impatience to see things happen. Expectations are tailored to the schedules of staff rather than the needs of the organization.
There is a big difference between a hungry staff and a comfortable staff. There is also a big difference in the results. Where does your staff fit on this continuum?
Lean staffs with a passionately held mission and vision are far hungrier than a bloated staff with a mediocre vision. It is a good reason to staff lean: Hire the very best, pay competitive wages and staff as lean as possible. Anytime we become comfortable we lose our edge.
This is why staff changes are often necessary when an organization needs to be revitalized. New energy is needed as well as new leadership and vision. Otherwise, the inertia of old ways and comfortable paradigms creates a drag that prevents the organization from moving ahead.
This is also why it is wise for boards to give a new leader significant leeway to make needed changes. It can be painful but is often necessary.
Seven signs of a hungry staff include:
- A compelling vision that cannot be ignored
- A willingness to do anything with anyone to achieve that vision
- A can do attitude that is willing to do whatever it takes with whatever resources it has to move forward
- A highly entrepreneurial, collaborative, fun and idea driven culture
- Leaders who are in the trenches with their teams - doing what needs to be done
- A self starting staff who don't need much management
- Politics virtually don't exist