Craig Groeschel - Four Keys to Spot the Talent Others Miss
Every strong leader wants to surround himself or herself with great people. But many leaders lack the confidence on how to recognize potential in other leaders. So today we're gonna talk about four keys to spot the talent that others overlook.
Welcome to another episode of the Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast, where we believe that when the leader gets better everyone gets better. If you're new with us, maybe it's your first time to listen, we drop a new leadership teaching on the first Thursday of every month. This is a bonus episode, that means it's an extra one. This one's free, well, actually, they're all free. But I hope this adds value to you. If it does, something that you could do for me that means a lot is you can invite others. I see a lot of you sharing on social media, inviting your teammates, or your friends, people you know, to be a part of our community. It also helps if you write a review of the podcast wherever you watch or listen. You might want to subscribe, that way you'll receive every one that we do, including bonus episodes. There may be some of you that want the detailed notes. We have something we call the leader's guide. You can go to life.church/leadershippodcast. Just request it, and with every episode we'll send you the leader's guide with notes and questions for your team.
If you missed the last episode I'd recommend that you pause this one, and go back and listen to the previous one. Because this is kind of part two of spotting talent and looking for high potential people. In this episode what we're gonna do is we're gonna talk about the four keys to spotting talent that others overlook. Previously, we've talked about the surprising principles of high potential players today. We're gonna talk about how do we actually spot them. Now, one week from today we're releasing another, yes, bonus episode. This one is crazy powerful. I got to interview my good friend, Chip Heath. He's the author of the fantastic book called The Power of Moments. He and his brother wrote this along with other fantastic books. The Power of the Moment, it's why certain experiences have extraordinary impact. This will impact you as a parent, as a spouse, as a friend, certainly, as a business leader. It's one of my favorite books I've listened to in the last few years. And you get to hear this interview next week.
Let's look today at a couple of questions that came in. A lot of you email questions. We'll dive into two questions, and then we'll look at new content. Mike was asking about scheduling and meetings. Mike asked this, he said, "I would love to know more about scheduling. How do you schedule meetings properly, and what do you want to accomplish in your meetings"? Mike, big important question, let me try to answer it briefly. On meetings you want to be clear on the why, the who, and the what. Why you have them, who's in them, and what do you want to accomplish through them? Let's start with the why, why do you have the meeting in the first place? And it may seem obvious, but it's imperative that your team clearly defines the why. The truth is if most leaders were honest the reason they're having the meeting this week is because they had the same ineffective meeting the week before, there's no real clear why. What you want to do is you want to be clear on the why. That way you can invite the right who, and you can accomplish the right what.
So you have to start with the why. This is my opinion, so I may disagree. But I believe a single why is better than multiple whys. In other words, a focused purpose for your meeting is better than several purposes. So, what are some possible why's that you might have the meeting? One, it might simply be to communicate, and that's not a wrong why. All we want to do is make sure you all have this information we feel like a person on the computer, or whatever, this is the way to get you communication. Or it might be evaluation. In other words, you're looking back and evaluating something that you did, so you can improve that same type of thing in the future. Another why might be planning. We're not looking back, now we're looking forward. Another type of why would be dreaming or brainstorming. This is different than planning. We're not just planning an event, we're thinking about what's possible. This type of meeting often works better periodically, or spontaneously, or sporadically, often on an off-site location just to mix things up.
Once you know the why, then you can determine the what. What are you trying to accomplish? Without a clear why or purpose for the meeting the what becomes what we did the last time, and that's not much. What is the what, the what is the action. It's the when, it's the decision. The what is the thing that creates movement or change in your organization. Once you determine the why and the what, then you can determine the who should be in the meeting. And this is important, the who should not be based on title or rank, but on skill and assignment. What you want to do is you want to answer the question who is the best person, or who are the best people to accomplish the what? We don't just have people in the room because of their rank. We have them in the room because of gift, passion, and the ability to accomplish the what.
Now, unless your why is simply communication or to inform at the end of the meeting you want to be able to clearly answer the question, who is going to do what and by when? What you're doing is you're trying to create movement. You're trying to create accountability toward a real purpose. If you can't answer that question you may not want to continue doing the meeting. Let me say it again, who is gonna do what, by when? If there's no clear answer to that, then you may want to abort that meeting.
There's a great book by Patrick Lencioni called Death by Meeting, that may be helpful to you. Let's deal with another question, Helena asked this. "How do you not allow good, constructive feedback to make you doubt yourself? How do you let feedback strengthen you and not make you insecure"? It's interesting to me, Helena, I think a lot of people feel this way, that whenever someone gives them feedback they often feel not good about themselves. And we have to remember that the purpose of feedback is always to help make you better. It's a result of caring and believing in you that people are gonna give you feedback. There's a good book on this subject by Sheila Heen and Douglas Stone called Thanks for the Feedback. I'd also recommend if you want more information from my teaching, episodes 27 and 28 of the podcast are all about giving and receiving feedback.
Remember, feedback helps us grow. Feedback is not something we endure, it's something we embrace. It's not something that we're dreading, we're looking forward to it. We don't tolerate it, we need it, we crave it, it helps make us better. One of the reasons why so many of us don't like feedback is because we think when someone's telling us how to improve it's a critique of who we are. We have to understand that helping us improve is not critiquing who we are. Feedback is about what we do, not who we are. It's about performance and actions, not identity. So whenever I find myself getting defensive what I try to do is say that's a clue that you have something to learn. When I'm most defensive that's probably the time when I have most opportunity to learn. Because it's triggering something inside of me that makes me feel insecure. Also, when you're receiving feedback you're gonna want to ask clarifying questions. Don't just listen to what they're saying, but try to draw more out of them.
Remember, sometimes the person giving you feedback is really nervous. They don't want to hurt your feelings. They're nervous they're gonna say something wrong. So you want to make sure you learn everything you can from them by asking very specific questions. Remember, general questions rarely lead to specific answers. General questions rarely lead to specific feedback. We're gonna ask specific questions, like help me understand what you mean by that. Can you give me an example of when whatever? How could I do it better next time? What do I do that makes you think this of me? What could I do to change your opinion? So we're asking specific questions. Over time what's gonna happen is you're gonna see feedback provides great value to you as a leader. You're not just gonna wait for it you're gonna seek it out. Because helpful and honest feedback could be the difference between you being a good leader and a great leader. So, let's briefly review the last teaching and dive into the new content. We talked in the last episode about four surprising principles of hi-pos, high potential players, or high potential leaders.
Number one, performance doesn't necessarily equal potential.
Number two, most hi-pos don't know they're hi-pos.
Number three, those who think they are probably aren't.
Number four, every hi-po has extremes. And extreme gifts are also matched by extreme weaknesses. The stronger the potential the bigger the shortcomings. Don't let the shortcomings scare you away from the potential.
New content, how do we spot them? We've got leaders all over our organization, we've got volunteers. Some look good, we're not sure about others. Some have obvious gifts, others it's not quite as obvious. How do we spot the talent that's in our organization, that's within our access, within our ability to influence? How do we spot them when so many others miss the potential talent? Four keys to spotting talent that others miss.
Number one, trust your first impressions. When you see someone, and you feel like there's something special there, there might be a spark, there might be a fire, there might be a drive, trust it when you think you see someone in there. For me it can be on a handshake, when I can see confidence, I can see posture. I sense a little bit of fight in the person. You might be in an interview, and in the first moment you recognize there's a little bit something different about this candidate. For me, I've been in a book signing, and I've met someone that I thought was special and said, hey, call my office. I was on a boat ride one time at camp.
And there was, probably, 20-year-old boat driver. And in a 20-minute boat ride I said I want you to call my office. And when you're through with this job I want you to interview, and we ended up hiring her. It was on a 20-minute boat ride, I saw something special. One of our biggest players in our organization, he's a central group leader over logistics, John Davis. It was 30 seconds into a meeting at the gym where this guy was a business person in another field. And I said there's something special in this guy, and invited him to lunch to get to know him on a different level. Trust your first impressions. How do we spot the talent that others miss?
Number one, trust your first impressions. Number two, don't trust your first impressions. That's right, don't always trust your first impressions. Why, because many people have way more in you than they have the ability to show the first time they meet you. Sometimes, in a meeting they're nervous. And that's not that big of a deal, the presence of nerves does not equal the absence of potential. It could be that they're kind of naturally shy. They're out of their comfort zone, maybe they're humble. They may not make a great first impression because they got a headache, or they got a sick kid at home, or there's something that's weighing on them. What I like to do when I'm getting to know someone even just as a friend I always like to dig a little deeper in the conversation.
People tend to keep the conversation on the surface. What I like to do is I like to try to go three levels deeper with kind of probing questions. And I'll give you an idea. Again, you're gonna be on the surface. You're gonna say what do you enjoy doing? You know, where'd you grow up, what do you do? What I want to do is encourage you to ask three questions on the other side of the basics, deeper into diving in to see what's inside of a person. For example, instead of just saying what do you do for a living ask that question, that's natural, and then you could ask questions like this. I like to ask, so, what do you love about doing that, what you do? What I'm looking for there is I'm looking for the heart. I'm looking for the motivation. I'm looking for the passion behind their job. I'm looking for their values. What do you love about what you do?
Then I like to ask this, I'll say something like, you know, you're obviously good at what you do. What makes you good? It's interesting to watch how people respond to that question. They'll generally smile because you just affirmed them. And on the other side of the affirmation they'll often open up to you. What makes you great at what you do? They're often shocked because people rarely ask them that. But then they can kind of start to unfold a little bit about what makes them passionate or makes them special. Then, once they tell me about that I like to ask a third and deeper question. Where'd that come from, what made you that way?
Here's where I'm looking for the story behind their success. Or even better, the story before their success. It's the story, that something in them that's going to make them successful later. They might say something like, well, when I was a kid we didn't have much. Or, you know, my dad died when I was only three, or whatever. But you're giving them permission to unpack some layers deeper within them. And you're seeing potential that others overlook. You're not staying on the surface. You're asking the why, you're asking for the drive, you're asking for the values. You're looking to see the fight. You're looking to see that something that's deep inside that people who just look at the surface overlook. So, how do we spot great talent in others?
Number one, you trust your first impressions. You can often see it, feel it, sense it. Number two is you don't trust your first impressions. There's often more in them. The third thing, and this is rather easy to look for, but really important is you look for initiative, you look for initiative. You want someone who's not afraid to make mistakes. He gets in and kind of mixes it up, because everyone's gonna fail. Everyone, including you, we're all gonna fail. I would rather find a person that fails at making aggressive mistakes than passive ones. I love to see a person who's not waiting for permission to make things better. Whenever you're around a person with initiative they're not just pointing out problems. Anybody can say this is wrong, this is wrong, this is wrong. A person with initiative is bringing solutions. Here's an idea, here's something we could do.
Around a person with initiative you're gonna see them creating systems. You're gonna see them recruiting volunteers. They're gonna be adding extra revenue. They're gonna be creating opportunities. Even if their ideas aren't amazing I'd rather have someone with kind of average ideas than someone with no ideas at all. We're looking for initiative. Too many people, they just coast passively. They only do what they're asked. They just kind of do what was done before. We want someone that creates movement. We look for someone that isn't waiting for permission to make something better. How do we spot that talent, there's someone that has initiative?
Number one, we trust our first impressions.
Number two, we don't trust our first impressions.
Number three, we look for initiative.
And then, number four, we're looking for what I simply call unquenchable passion. That burning fire that's within someone that they may not be as talented as the next girl, they may not be as incredible as the next guy, but there is some kind of fight in them. There's a scrappiness, there's a grit, there's a hunger, there's a drive. There's a deeper caring that makes them hit harder and last longer. We're looking for that unquenchable passion. Sometimes that person, they may have a bit of an edge. They may be hard on themselves. They may be a little demanding. They may come across as a little stubborn. Why, because they care, because they care. If you can find that thing that really moves them, then you can take that, and that person could be potential of greatness.
One of my favorite examples of this is in my organization. I lead a lot of different churches, so we have pastors that will oversee a local site. And years ago when I was involved in the interviews at that level we were interviewing two potential people to be a local campus pastor. There's one guy from the outside that had the resume, the credentials, the experience, the education, everything that you would think you would want. There's another guy that was from the inside that was a pharmaceutical sales rep. He had no ministry education, no experience, but he had been transformed at our church. These guys were running against each other. And the first candidate had every reason on paper why he should've been hands down by far the best. But in the interview he was flat. There was no fight, there was no drive, there was no passion.
The other guy, his name's Trevor, who's life had been changed here, didn't have the credentials, didn't have the experience. And at the end we just told him you're completely unmatched. You don't have nearly what this other guy has, why would we go with you? And Trevor sat back in his chair, he got quiet for a minute. And then this ex-college football player took his hand, and he pounded it on the table. And he said, boom, "You want to know why, I'll tell you why. And then he started crying, he said, Because I was on the seventh row when I was addicted. And I gave my life to Jesus at this church, and I've been transformed here. And if you give me a chance I will lead with passion, I will run through walls. I'll make a difference, I'll bleed"...
And you just went at the end of the interview like, okay, okay, okay, okay, okay, okay. We can do something with that. We can do something with that. And we hired the guy that didn't have the experience, didn't have the resume, didn't have the education. But what did he have, he had the passion. And today he's leading one of our strongest campuses years later because there was something in there that we could work with. I always say this, you can teach skills, but you can't train passion. What are you looking for? You're looking for that unquenchable passion. Then, when you see potential in someone you start to develop it. And what I honestly like to do is I like to tell them. I like to take them aside, make it a moment. And say something like I really see more in you.
And what I want them to do is I want them to remember that moment because I'm helping give them confidence in themselves. And then I often like to ask a question that goes something like this. Do you mind if I gave you more responsibility? The reason I'm asking it is because that actually gives them a sense of power. Do you mind if I put a little bit more on you because I see more in you? It gives them the freedom to say no. They're not gonna say no, but it empowers them to say yes. And when they say yes they feel like they're getting to rather than they have to. I'm receiving this joyfully rather than you're dumping something on me. It helps create ownership in them, and it taps into the very thing that could make them really, really special. At some point you're gonna have to take a chance on them. Meaning you're gonna have to put some people that don't look fully prepared into a very significant role to see what's in them.
I always say if you wait until they're completely ready you probably waited too long. You're gonna ask this question, how do I know if I can trust them? How do I know if they're good enough? How do I know if they're ready? How do I know if I can trust them? And the answer is the way you find out if you can trust them is to trust them, to put them in the game and see what they've got. Put the freshman in the starting lineup one time, and see if they can take a hit, if they can throw one back. What's inside of them, and what you might find is you might find greatness in someone that everyone else overlooked. What do we need to remember about this. The potential of your organization always rests in the strength of its people.
Most leaders are obsessed with finding the right strategy. Not you, you're gonna be obsessed with finding the right people. Take risks on them, empower them, set them free. If you don't you're gonna be the lid of what's possible in your organization. We're looking for potential, we're bringing it out. We're giving people the chance to shine. Let's review our content. The four keys to spotting talent that others miss.
Number one, trust your first impressions. Sometimes you'll see a spark, a fire, a drive, trust it when you do.
Number two, don't trust your first impressions. Many people have way more inside of you than they're gonna show you. Dig deeper with the extra questions. Do not insult them by staying on the surface. There's treasure if you'll dig for it. Ask something like, what do you love about what you do? You're obviously good, what makes you good? Where did this come from? You're looking for the story behind the success or the story before the success.
Number three, look for initiative. You're looking for someone who isn't just pointing out problems, but finding solutions. You're looking someone that's not waiting for permission to making things better.
Number four, look for that passion. Why, because you can teach skills, but you can't train passion. Then, take a risk on someone. How do you know if you can trust them, well, you trust them. Reflection questions, number one, who in your organization exhibits unusual initiative or uncommon passion? Answer that, who in your organization has what you believe is something extra? Number two, most leaders give tasks away. How can you give those people more responsibility and see what's in them.
Remember, we're gonna say this a million times, when you delegate tasks you produce followers. When you delegate authority you produce leaders. How can you give more to them? Take a risk, stop waiting, let them in the game. If you have some high potential leaders in your midst you want to give them room to create, decisions to make, and people to lead. Thank you for being part of our community. Remember, share this with others, invite them to be a part. Next week, The Power of Moments. Be yourself leaders, people would rather follow leaders always real than one who's always right.