Building an Effective and Creative “A-Team” (Part 9)

By @ 09/01/14 in Hiring, Leadership

We are in part nine of this blog series and we continue talking about building the best creative team —  an A-Team.  Today we look at the seventh principle.

Number 7:  Pay for talent

And I know the thoughts that many of you are thinking, especially the creative leaders that lead a church creative team.  Your budgets for personnel sometimes can’t compete.  And you are probably true.

Let me offer two perspectives.

Let’s first state the facts that are true regardless of the size of your budget:  Talent has an uncanny way of attracting more talent. And if you are paying more for that artist and it is the right hire, you and the creative team and the organization will be paid in many ways you are not even considering. To put it bluntly, you get what you pay for … real talent produces real results, and is worth the investment.

Perspective 1:  What I just said.  Paying a creative what he or she deserves is what we should do.  Because it’s right and because if you pay them well, they will stick around.  (and all the other reasons I mentioned in the preceding paragraph)

And we are just talking about pay here.  A good salary alone won’t keep them around.  And if you’ve read my blogs for any time at all you know what I’m talking about.  You must take care of them in every way.  Again, it’s what real good creative leaders do.

With that said, let me expand my thought here about salaries with the next perspective:

Perspective 2:  The Creative also needs to understand that they are not going to get rich working on a church creative team.  Yes, they need to be taken care of, but they will not become wealthy.  Probably.  LOL.

The creative leader, during the hiring process, needs to determine if the artist is truly called to ministry.  Yep, you heard me correctly.  Are they called to ministry — do they want to minister by using the talent and skill they were given by God?  That’s important.  If they are just looking for a job, they will be disappointed by the pay.

If they are truly wanting to join your team and minister with a team of Creatives, then when they compare their salary to that of a comparable secular artist, they won’t care if there is a gap.  Guaranteed.

You cannot afford NOT to invest in talent.

Be wise:  Invest in talented artistic and creative ministers.

By @ 08/27/14 in Creative Team, Hiring, Leadership

The blog series continues as we talk about my philosophy of building the best creative team —  an A-Team.  Today is Part 8 and we look at the sixth principle.

Number 6:  Hire Leaders

Frankly, this is going to be a very short blog.  Why?  Because I just think that this is a very simple concept and it won’t take me very long to clearly explain this important principle.

I hear leaders complain about this issue quite often.  And yes, creative leaders too.  This is what I hear:

I just have a lack of leadership on my team.  I have skilled and talented artists, but they just aren’t leading like I feel they should.  Or I hear this:  It is very difficult to identify leaders in my organization or on my team.

So here’s my question:  WHY DON’T YOU HIRE LEADER’S TO BEGIN WITH?

Yep, It’s that simple.  Sorry.

The development of an leader you already have on your team is faster, easier, and more effective than creating a new leader.

Done!  We will continue the conversation on Monday.  Have a great weekend!

By @ 08/25/14 in Culture, Hiring, Leadership

We are in part seven of this blog series and we continue talking about building the best creative team —  an A-Team.  Today we look at the fifth principle.

Number 5:  Culture based hiring is important

You’ve probably heard this very well-used adage : Culture eats strategy for breakfast.  Better put — Culture eats strategy for breakfast every times!

Your creative team (or organization) will fail to be a sustainable and scalable when the creative leader has no meaningful purpose to create team unity to fight through the tough times. Your team will then settle into a perpetual state of “stealth mode.”

Let’s look at the definition of Stealth: a secret, clandestine, or surreptitious procedure.  Webster definition reads : : a secret, quiet, and clever way of moving or behaving.

To succeed, strategies can’t just live on paper – they must be part of employees’ everyday actions and decisions.  They need to be a natural action for them.  How can this happen?  By making them invisible or stealth.  The leader should talk about them.  Repeat them often.  Explain them and then talk about them again.  Rinse and repeat.

Why would you want to make who your team truly is and what they stand for a mystery?  Why would you want to hide your team values?  Everyone should know them and understand them and believe them and live them.

Culture matters … a lot more than you may believe. You can either spend time finding employees who share your organization’s values, or deal with the brain drain of managing conflicts that arise due to opposing values. Ignore culture in the hiring process and all other hiring initiatives will be diminished, if not lost altogether.

By @ 08/21/14 in Leadership, Networking

The blog series continues as we talk about my philosophy of building the best creative team —  an A-Team.  Today we look at the fourth principle.

Number 4:  Always be in talent search mode

Yes.  That means always!

Long before I took my new position as Pastor / Creative Arts at Chandler Christian just a couple weeks ago, I had my eyes open for possible team members.  As I network, I am always filing away thoughts and records of people in which I come in contact.  And I not only note those I meet but also those who I hear about.

And yes, this principle applies even if you are not yet ready to hire.

Never let your church (or organization) be put behind the talent 8-ball, because great talent is almost never available on a moment’s notice. Some of the best hires I’ve made over the years were people that I spent months, and in some cases, years developing relationships with.

And if your reading this blog post you know who you are.  You were worth the wait.

Just remember: always keep your eye open for talent.  Cultivate the network and relationships of talented people.  And wait for it.  The talent you choose will be well worth it.

By @ 08/18/14 in Creative Team, Leadership, Team

We continue this blog series talking about my philosophy of building the best creative team — a great team —  an A-Team.  Today we look at the third principle.

Number 3: Take your time

I don’t know how long ago I heard this and learned this.  I don’t even remember who it came from, but I have learned over the years being a creative leader that it is a wise “rule” to follow:

Hire slow and Fire fast!

It’s easy to get yourself in a panicked situation and talk yourself into something that might be right, but you haven’t done the “due diligence” yet.  It’s O so easy to make a regrettable hire and then in the future (and often it’s the near future) realize you made a regrettable hire — and it was out of desperation.

Give yourself plenty of runway.

And it will be different with each hire.  Some planes need a long runway to take off, others very short distances.  Sometimes the information about the candidate will be there quickly and from numerous sources.  Each time you turn around more great information about the person is hitting you in the face.  And the chemistry — just right.  You can feel it.

Other times — well — it doesn’t come so quickly.  You literally have to wait for it.  And it comes or it doesn’t.  Either way, the point is to wait for the answer.  Either the “yes” or the “no.”

It will behoove you (I just thought I’d use that word today — behoove) to take your time and make a good hire and resist the urge to use the “ready-fire-aim” method of hiring.

Wait for It!

By @ 08/13/14 in Creative Team, Leadership

In this blog series we are talking about my philosophy on building the best creative team — but not just any team —  an A-Team.  Today we look at the second principle.

Number 2:  Be Able to Sell Your Team

You are the creative leader.
And you are trying to build the best creative team?
And you are looking for the best talent, correct?

(So let me say this and then I’ll offer my explanation)

it is essential that you put your best foot forward and be able to market your team’s and church’s strengths.

Good talent and talented creatives want opportunities for continuous learning.  The REAL GOOD ONES will never stop learning.  And they want a team leader, a church, a creative atmosphere that will allow that.

Talented people also want the ability to grow and develop their strengths.  The same principles apply here — the good ones crave it and demand it.

So what?

This is important.  To attract great and talented creatives, you must sell them on the creative team they will be joining.  Sell them on the church’s vision.  Sell them on your leadership.

The creative leader needs to be able to sell the prospect on these facts:
1. In order for the team to be its best, you need them to join the team.
2. In order for them to be their best, they need to join your team.

This is a marriage and both parties need to be sold on the commitment.

By @ 08/11/14 in Creative Team, Leadership

Starting in today’s post I’ll begin to lay out my philosophy on building a the best creative team — and not just any team but an A-Team.  The principles of this philosophy are the best way to insure that your hires for the creative team will be tier-one talent.

One of the best uses of a creative leader’s time is to make sure that he/she makes the best hiring decisions possible.

The principles laid out over the next few weeks will help with this endeavor.  So let’s look at the first one:

Number 1: Be Sure What You’re Looking For

And this is important, because if you can’t very specifically describe the “what and who” you are looking for, you have little chance of finding it!

Simple, huh?

And this description needs to be both in terms of the job description and the profile of the individual most likely to be successful in that role.  Let me expound.

The job description needs to be broad enough to cover all your wishes and the demands for the job.  And it only should be as specific as it needs to be.  Most of the time, tasks for a particular team member change a little through the annual creative process, so, definitions of job tasks on the job description shouldn’t be terribly specific.

The part of this principle that is often overlooked —  the time placed on knowing the person most likely to be successful in a particular role.  And not just in that role, but know the person that will work great on YOUR team.  As a creative leader, you know what you want done, how you want it done, how the creative process works, and how you like to lead and how you want your team to produce —  keep all of these in mind when you develop the job description but really think on these things when you choose the person filling any specific team position.

Bottom Line:  If you can’t define what and who you’re looking for, you shouldn’t be looking.

By @ 08/06/14 in Hiring, Team

If you want to build an effective and creative A-Team, it begins, quite simply, with having the best people. Forming a creative talent advantage starts with smart and specific hiring.

In my experience, as I’ve watched other leaders build their creative team, it never ceases to amaze me how many of them put little energy and time into a thorough search for talent.  Smart and creative leaders do more than just hire smart and creative people … they first develop and utilize a smart hiring process and/or methodology.

OK.  Listen to this next principle.  It’s important.

Talent matters!!

The problem is that very few creative leaders actually possess the talent to identify talent. Identifying and recruiting talent is way much more than just reading and screening a resume and having a set of great interviewing questions to guide you.

There are always issues of values, vision, culture, context, competency, chemistry etc. that need to be creatively and intuitively addressed in the hiring process.  And let me say this loudly — these need to be well bathed in the spiritual principles of truth.  In other words — God needs to be at the center of the search and hiring process.

What I will write about, starting next week, are the principles of building an effective and creative team.  Not just any team, but an A-TEAM!

See you then.

By @ 08/04/14 in New Assignment, Team

For those of you who are regulars to my blog, you know that I like to write about things that I’m involved with at the moment — right now.  It gives me a chance to hone in on the principles, protocols, systems, and processes of that particular discipline.  It’s all about getting better.

And while in the midst of a project, especially one I’ve done many times, I like to explain to my readers the when-what-why-and how of the process.  It’s actually more fun for me because I get to explain the nitty-gritty of what’s happening and use an “in the process” and current example.

I’ll begin a new venture in a week from today.

And I’m excited about it.  It’s another assignment putting me in a place that I really love to be in — building.

I just completed a blog series on keeping your creative team, so now, I’d thought I’d write about my new assignment — building a new team — new processes — new systems.

And over the next few months, as I travel through this new adventure, I’ll want try to not repeat the simple and obvious things that I’ve already talked about in my past blog posts.  What I will try to do is briefly mention the PRINCIPLES  and hone in and explain the PRACTICAL.


OK. Here we go.  I’ll spend the next several posts on “building a great A-Team.”  I have no idea how many posts it will take.  I’ll finish when I have nothing more to say.  LOL.

See you Wednesday.

By @ 07/30/14 in Creative Team, Leadership

This is the final blog post of this three-week blog series.  We’ve been talking about the 10 mistakes Creative Leaders make that cause them to lose their talented team of Creatives.

The reason for the discussion was two-fold.  In my years of working with other churches and watching organizations from a far, I’ve seen teams turn over — way too much and way too often.  But I also know how difficult it is to put a great team together.  It takes time, lots of it.  It also takes patience, so why would you want that team to go away.  You don’t!!

So keep the team together and keep your talented Creatives by heeding the ten (10) mistakes we’ve been discussing.

Bottom line: if creative leaders spent less time trying to keep their talented Creatives, and much more time trying to understand them, care for them, invest in them, and lead them well …  we wouldn’t be having this conversation would we?  It would take care of itself and your Creatives would hang around!!

Let me know your thoughts on this subject.  Love to read your comments.