Before Donald Trump says, “You’re Fired”

Sometimes nonprofits tolerate incompetency in staff, largely out of a heart to help others.  Are we really helping?  Want to help others grow, and see great outcomes?  Then don’t enable, but empower!  If you have a staff member in your organization that needs to grow, change, get motivated, etc., Dr. Henry Cloud suggests you seek a commitment to 8 things.  Such a commitment suggests hope for change, so try it before you say “you’re fired”.  You must see some “desires fulfilled” if you are to have hope for a person or ministry to change.

Practical Application: 8 Requirements For Hope That a Person Can Change (ALL 8 must be present.)

1.       I must see you involved in a proven change process. (i.e. agree to go to therapy)

2.       I must see adherence to additional structure placed in your life (i.e. specific dates, tasks, timelines, pert charts, goals, schedules, etc.)

3.       I must see and receive new wisdom brought to the table (that shows me how to help this person change–that which I did not know before)

4.       I must see new experiences and the development of skills. (This may require more resources invested in the person.)

5.       I must see self-sustaining motivation. (Are they chasing whatever it is that will make them better?)

6.       I must hear an admission of need for change and help. (Remember, “You can’t help someone who doesn’t have a problem.”

7.       I must know that they have a support system for when they lack the energy to keep changing. (Get actual names and contact info.)

8.       I must see some actual movement. (It may not be quickly as maturity takes time. But I must see something.)


There should be no more “Mr. Bad Guy” that comes in and simply delivers bad news for bad performance. If they are willing to do ALL of the above things, then it’s fine to move forward in relationship/employment. If they are not willing or able to ALL of those things, then they must “self select” another relationship/company/organization where they can continue to live without having to change. If they do not get to the point where they can see this for themselves, then they must be told. But as Joshua told the children of Israel, “If serving God seems desirable to to you, then, choose you this day whom you will serve.”


Pastor Dave Michener, who supplied the above notes from Cloud’s presentation, asked Dr. Cloud if it was really necessary that someone meet all 8 of those requirements, to which he replied, “You tell me which one of those requirements should be left out.” Point taken.


How do you help staff to grow?  Or, decide it is time for them to move on?

About Gary Coiro

Nonprofit & Church Leader Nonprofit Leader and Consultant since 2004, following 15 years as a pastor. Competencies include board development, fundraising, staff development and management, strategic planning, church work, Bible teaching, and capital campaigns. Currently consulting and serving on the Church Ministries Management Team for a large multi-cultural evangelical church.
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