Saturday, January 12, 2013

Never Say Someone’s No for Them

I remember asking a CEO once, “Who are you thinking about for your next board chair?”

The God-honoring CEO told me that the Lord had been nudging him recently about asking a certain board member, Jeremy (not his real name), to take the helm.

“But after thinking about it,” the CEO shared, “there’s no way Jeremy would say yes. He would be perfect, but he’s too busy. He’d say no. So there’s no point in even asking him.”

That encounter (and dozens like it every year) prompted me to share Bill Hybels’ wisdom with the CEO. In his wonderful book, Axiom: Powerful Leadership Proverbs, Hybels writes:


“It’s an odd tendency I see in even the most discerning and faithful leaders: when they’re trying to add a great board member or an elder or a small group leader or other key leader, they ask God who would be the very best person on planet Earth to fill the position.”

He adds, “Upon receiving the answer, they proceed to pursue everyone but that individual. In almost every case, the ‘very best one’ is a fantastic leader who is already busy doing extraordinary work somewhere else. ‘That’ person might have to agree to a pay cut to join our team. ‘That’ person might have to relocate from some balmy utopia to the Midwest…and surely they won’t do all that just to come serve alongside us.”

Hybels concludes his two-page axiom (one of 76 axioms in the book), “…nothing is ever lost by leaving room for the surprising and supernatural emergence of a yes.”

QUESTION: Who is on your board prospect wish list that you have not yet asked for fear of a no?

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