I’m a huge Peter Drucker fan. I’m a student. Though he has gone to be with the Lord, I still pull down two of his works I hold most dear. They are classics in my mind: The Effective Executive and Managing the Non-Profit Organization. I’ll get back to Drucker in a moment but first allow me to set up this blog post.

I’ve made some serious mistakes as a leader. Yes, my history is filled with many wins but the mistakes compete for space in those recurring memories. In some regards, I am a perfectionist so I’m always failing in one way or another. I do not recommend this trait of perfectionism because it’s not good for you or those in your life. I’m working on a better balance in this regard. Details of the past (wins and losses) fade but the principles are captured for life.

One such principle is what I like to call “permission to play” values. In other words, if one does not pass the permission to play values, they cannot play on my team. I’ve learned this the hard way. I must remind fellow leaders out there that we do not hire people to help them; we hire people to serve our mission, to help us. In return they also are helped. To reverse this process is to risk relationship, trust, character, and mission.

Most permission to play values are about character. I happen to believe that character goes beyond the virtues that come to your mind. I believe they empower and purpose the strengths you have. At first glance, Peter Drucker’s thoughts on this topic may not align with mine but maybe they do. Read for yourself:

“By themselves, character and integrity do not accomplish anything. But their absence faults everything else. Here, therefore, is the one area where weakness is a disqualification by itself rather than a limitation on performance capacity and strength.”
(The Effective Executive, page 87, 2006 edition)

The mistake, my mistake, was to assume character in a candidate by simply doing a cursory examination. I will tell you quite directly that when we do not take the hiring process seriously… maybe even to the point of perfectionism, we are guilty of hubris and will most certainly suffer the consequences. In my post “Hiring From Within”, we will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of hiring and promoting from within.


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