In the End, It All Comes Down to People
● Hire someone who has already successfully done exactly what you want done. Looking for a major-gifts officer? Don't hire someone because he or she likes people or has experience in sales. Hire someone who has successfully generated major gifts. And don't just take candidates' word for it. Have them give you specific examples of major gifts they successfully secured.
● You get what you pay for. Be willing to pay for top talent. Don't sell people short. Come to think of it, don't sell your organization short either. Remember that their compensation isn't just monetary, but the opportunity to make a significant difference in our world.
● Hire for attitude. Train for skills. Ideally you want both, but when forced to choose, it's almost always easier to train a positive, make-it-happen person than to change the demeanor of a negative person.
● Hire above what you think you need. Use every new hire to upgrade the position and the organization.
● First-class managers hire first-class people. Second-class managers hire third-class people. Don't be afraid to hire someone stronger than you are. It can make you both better.
Seminars and industry education opportunities are important training tools. But I've found the best way to grow employees is one-on-one mentoring tied to the daily performance of their jobs.
● "Take them along." Bring them to meetings with you, and debrief afterward so they understand how you think. Let them know how they're doing and how to do even better.
● Past is prologue. Ask if they've successfully done what you need accomplished. If so, watch them do it again. If they haven't, show them how to do it. Then have them do it with you. Then watch them do it, and give feedback. Then let them do it.