Today a ministry leader asked me how to hire a person to fill a key administrative role. This is her concern:

“Most of the people who have some great ‘downtown’ admin experience (which is what we are looking for), don’t have the DNA of the ministry/mission. And vice versa.¬†How have you handled this in the past? Is there a ‘trick’ to finding people with the whole package?”

This was my response:

“I agree that you might struggle to find someone who embodies your values and has the administrative skills for this position. When I have confronted this kind of challenge in the past, I have preferred to look for someone with the right skills first. It will be difficult to teach someone to be administrative. However, if the administrative person is humble, flexible, and teachable, they can learn the corporate culture. On a number of occasions I have seen people go from a total lack of knowledge about the organization to one of the biggest promoters in a matter of months. Sometimes, in their zeal, they misrepresented something about the organization, but I did not mind that because they were doing much more good than harm. Over time, they learned more and became solid contributors in every way.”

My approach is to hire character and skill. Then, teach culture.

What would you tell this leader?