Every now and then moments of such absolute clarity come along that one refers to the experience as an epiphany. I had one such epiphany while working in the media industry.
After two decades in telecom, I transferred divisions to lead some promising new product development projects in the media division. One day, I found myself in a brainstorming meeting. The topic: How to make “Jersey Shore” more successful in Canada. For a guy who now works at Museum of the Bible, you may get a sense of just how awkward that moment was for me. Professionally, it was even worse. Not only did I not want “Jersey Shore” to succeed, I would have been thrilled to see it fail.
My “Jersey Shore” epiphany was simple: Time to leave and find another career. With the absolute clarity mentioned above, I realized I was no longer fully aligned with the mission to grow audiences for advertisers. When you lack passion and drive, work performance eventually follows.
Over the last three years, Museum of the Bible has hired hundreds of people and seen dozens depart. Our small, intimate office in Oklahoma City has acted as a human resources observation lab, an easy place to witness both successes and failures. What’s the single most import success criteria? Easy: an alignment with the organization’s mission. Aligned employees work harder, are more conscientious, perform better in teams, resolve conflict more constructively, show up in the morning with a smile on their faces, and become our best brand ambassadors.
“How do you align with our mission personally and professionally?”
In the hiring process, managers interview for technical skills, competencies and relevant work experiences; for the ability to lead, to communicate and to get along with coworkers. Yet rarely do we directly interview for alignment with mission and vision. When I first started asking candidates, “Tell me how you personally and professionally align with our mission to invite all people to engage with the Bible?” the candidates usually answered a different question altogether. They would often tell me about their belief in God or the love they had for their church. That wasn’t quite the answer I was seeking. I wanted to know why they wanted people to engage with the Bible. What I thought was a clear and straightforward question was being misinterpreted.