The title for this session was Hiring, Firing and Board Meltdowns which, I will be honest, didn’t really appeal to me. I do have an Advisory Board, (for more on how I use an advisory board in my speaking and writing ministry, download my article,) but I don’t hire or fire anyone in my organization (actually, I do hire, but it has always happened by either marrying or giving birth to the future employee.)

However, I did find many of the principle that the panel talked about applied to dealing with others in my industry. So far I have had great relationships with my publisher, publicity people, and my agent. But I will be honest enough to say that there have been a couple of event planners that I should have seen coming.

This session also gave me some great insight into working with other teams – retreat planning teams, family, and book teams. Here are the people on the panel:

Dr. Henry Cloud is a clinical psychologist, best-selling author, and business consultant with unique insights on relational dynamics in organizations.

Carly Fiorina is the former Chairman and CEO of Hewlett-Packard. She was the first woman to head a Dow 30 company and was named “The Most Powerful Woman in Business” by Fortune for six years in a row.

Dr. David Ireland is senior pastor of Christ Church in Montclair, NJ, a 6000 member multi-ethnic congregation which he founded in 1986. The author of several books, he holds a PhD in Organizational Leadership.

Patrick Lencioni is founder and president of The Table Group, Inc., a specialized management-consulting firm focused on organizational health. He is the author of six best-selling books, including Death by Meeting.

And here are the best things that they said (my thoughts are in italics):


Most of these ideas apply whether you are hiring someone to be the Junior High Pastor at church or a contractor to repair your roof. I would also say that these principles, in a large part, would apply to volunteer teams.

  • “First impressions are frequently wrong.” Carly Fiorina
  • “The best way to hire someone is spend 8 hours with them on a plane.” Patrick Lencioni
  • Question to ask: What would other people say about you? (I can’t remember who said this, but it is a great way to get an honest answer out of people.)
  • Ask the same question 3 times, just like they do on CSI Miami.
  • Question to ask: “How would your weaknesses affect the rest of our organization?”
  • “Organizations that have a strong culture – the right people will flock to it and the wrong people will be repelled.” Patrick Lencioni
  • Before hiring someone for a job, list the needs of the organization and make sure those are met.
  • Follow the process – don’t tweek the process to meet the needs of that applicant.
  • Bill Hybles said – Every time we feel desperate to meet a need and hire quickly, we have failed.


Bill Hybles – A firing should never be a surprise.

Dr. David Ireland‘s Three step process of firing someone:

  1. Retrain – Have I trained them well enough to do the job I have given them? If not, it is my responsibility to retrain them.
  2. Reposition – Maybe their gifts would be a better fit in another part of the organization.
  3. Retire – Last resort.


“The kindest form of management is the truth.” In churches “The kindest form of management is avoidance.”