I have an amazing job. I am completely aware of it, and grateful for it. I am not being self-deprecating when I say that there are many smarter and more qualified folks who could sit in my chair. It does not make me insecure – just increases my gratitude, and drives me to do my job better. There are many obvious tasks and responsibilities of the General Manager at a place like Vista Verde, but a number of you are catching on that there are a few other components that often get overlooked, and I am going to let you in on our “little” secret. I am involved in probably the single most important factor in our success – the selection, training, and personal development of our staff. Now you know….
I use the word “involved” because there are many leaders here at the ranch who are active and passionate about “finishing people through tasks.” Like any other organization, we are tempted to take the easy route – simply “finish tasks through people.” What a missed opportunity that would be. We are entrusted with some outstanding young adults every season, many for multiple seasons. I remember being in my 20s – college degree in hand – wondering what job will have me leaping out of bed with excitement and anticipation. Like many folks, I had most of the answers – that was not the issue. The issue was that I had a lot of answers, but the wrong questions. I was so focused on what I thought I wanted that I never asked who I wanted to be. I was trying to answer the question of how I could accumulate “things,” when the real question is how to take my gifts and talents and make a difference for others. I thought I wanted “success via stuff,” but I didn’t take the time to answer the question, “What do you REALLY want?” I know, I know…. Sounds idealistic and it won’t pay the bills. I am guessing that in that last statement you may be hearing your parents’ voices as I heard mine (they were GREAT parents, by the way).
I hear a couple of common questions from guests on a regular basis, and they are quite flattering and based on some astute observations. So, in the next few installments, I hope to let you in on our little secrets, with the hope that it will explain more of your experience here. I would be flattered if you were inspired to steal it and use it at your jobs, clubs, places of worship, etc. – imitation is the best form of flattery, right? So… the questions:
1) Where do you find such nice kids (staff recruitment and selection)?
2) How do get them to behave/serve/work the way they do (training and leadership development)?
3) There is a magic here – what are you doing (culture/organizational health)?
Disclaimer: We do not consider ourselves the foremost authority on these topics, but we read authors, listen to podcasts and speakers, and discuss these topics amongst ourselves. We have made mistakes, and learned from them, which makes them more an investment than a mistake. We appreciate your part in this aspect of our mission. Maybe you didn’t realize it, but you are a big part of the leadership development of our staff. Hopefully, in the next few installments, you’ll see how we do it, and, more importantly, why we feel it to be so important.