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The Congregational Consulting Group, organized in 2014 by former consultants of the Alban Institute, is a network of independent consultants. We publish PERSPECTIVES for Congregational Leaders—thoughts on topics of interest to leaders of congregations and other purpose-driven organizations. —  Dan Hotchkiss, editor

What Buck Stops Where?

A famous sign on Harry Truman’s desk declared, THE BUCK STOPS HERE. “The President—whoever he is,” Truman explained, “has to decide.” Truman’s example has inspired many leaders to accept appropriate responsibility. But a careless reading of his slogan can lead to the mistake of thinking that whoever can make a decision always should.

How to Fire an Employee

No one likes to fire anyone, but most of us will have to do it someday. If you follow the basic steps below, more or less in order, deliberately, and without procrastination, you will be able to do what you need to do and maybe even end up in one piece. I began this article by …

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Boundaries and Partnership

by Dan Hotchkiss
Building a healthy partnership—negotiating roles, addressing misbehavior, setting and achieving goals—is hard work that requires an atmosphere of trust. Firm boundaries and self-differentiation—knowing who I am and how I feel while keeping lines of communication open—are essential for a healthy partnership.

Working around Incompetence on the Team

Slalom from Flickr via Wylio
© 2008 BePak, Flickr | CC-BY-ND | via Wylio

We aspire to build staff teams of competent, motivated individuals who work in dogged pursuit of a clearly articulated vision. What most of us have are teams with some outstanding staff and some not so outstanding staff, working side by side towards a vision that seems clear, on some days.

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“I Promise…”

by Sarai Rice
“I promise that no one will lose their job unless they really mess up.”
I’ve heard these words, or something like them, twice in the last ten days—once from the chair of a large congregation’s personnel committee and again from the executive director of a social services non-profit created through the merger of two other organizations.
These words scare me.

Supervision Myth Busters

Pastors generally do not enter ministry with a strong desire to supervise the work of others. For many, supervision is a necessary job, a burden to be tolerated on the way to the good stuff. If you are struggling in your role as supervisor, you may be harboring false assumptions about supervision—myths that get in the way of a healthy supervisory approach.

Examining these myths and replacing them with more truthful assumptions is the first step in developing an effective supervisory style. The act of supervision becomes easier, and a more natural expression of your authentic personality, when you begin with the right assumptions.

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It’s Time to Talk about Performance

by John Wimberly
To change the world, our congregations need to be performing at peak efficiency. If we can make “performance” a driving agenda rather than a dirty word, a lot of obstacles to our effectiveness will disappear.