BocaLead, a ministry outreach of Boca Raton Community Church that mentors local business leaders, just celebrated its 50th meeting on Thursday, April 4th, 2019.

We started with 25 people in a room who said let’s figure out how we can talk about integrity and character, and let’s get 50 people in a room. Pastor Bill Mitchell

BocaLead began in 2014 with a vision to raise the bar of ethics and character throughout South Florida. The first meeting brought in just over 100 people. Today, the BocaLead luncheons sell out each month at 400 seats. 

Pastor Bill Mitchell, Senior Pastor of Boca Community Church and also a businessman for 25 years, told Palm Beach Christian Voice, “We started with 25 people in a room who said, ‘Let’s figure out how we can talk about integrity and character, and let’s get 50 people in a room.’ We were going to do it four times: March, April, May and June of 2014. Fifty became a hundred, and some of them said, ‘What if we brought in a table of employees and customers,’ and the rest is history.”

Admitting that Boca Raton and South Florida in general has not always had the reputation of having best business practices, their goal was to raise the bar in our community. They inspire guests so that the guests can in turn mentor others and lead our community.

The mission is not to become a large conference. “We want to keep it intimate in a room like this, not in the Boca Hotel with a thousand people. Plus it gets expensive. We aren’t sponsored by anyone. It’s a safe place. The networking happens at the table. Networking is organic,” Pastor Bill said.

Thursday’s meeting opened with table discussion with the challenge to pretend that each table is the hiring team at their respective offices and to answer the question, “What qualities should every person you hire possess?”

If you treat people like people, like everyone is a lady or gentleman, your business will thrive.

After about fifteen minutes of table discussion, Pastor Bill shared the qualities he looks for when hiring new people. 

1. Integrity.

2. Diligence. They have a work ethic to do what you’re hiring them to do.

Pastor Bill shared, “Those of you that bemoan millennials, can I tell you, some of the best people that work for me (and we have about 30 full time and about 300 volunteers) are millennials. They are some of the best, most diligent workers we have. If you give them a vision and a purpose for what they’re doing, they will outshine the baby boomers and the GenEx-ers. When we don’t give them a vision, they look lazy. They’re just upset at us that we haven’t given them a reason to do what they are doing.”

3. Excellence.

4. Communication. Every employee must have the ability to communicate within the team.

5. Fit/chemistry/team player.  “You have a culture within your organization. Do they fit within that culture. Do they agree with the vision?”

Pastor Bill referenced Horst Schulzeco, founder of the Ritz Carlton Group and author of the recently released book, Excellence Wins: A No-Nonsense Guide to Becoming the Best in a World of Compromise.

Look at the top five things that customers want, so that when you are hiring someone, you will have the end in mind, which is a satisfied customer.

Sharing the story of the first time Horst came to the U.S. on a high school trip, Pastor said that everyone in Horst’s group wanted to see Madison Square Gardens, the Statue of Liberty, or a Yankees game. At 17 years old, Horst Schulzeco wanted to go to the Waldorf Astoria. He wrote a paper while doing this internship, and that’s when he coined the words in German, “Ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen.”

The phrase was about casting a vision for respect and excellence, “If you have a vision, it doesn’t matter how old you are, you can move towards it.” 

These principles apply to every industry. If you’re in hospitality, you have guests. In retail, you have customers. In education, you have students and parents. In government, you have taxpayers. In non-profits, you have donors and members.  They’re all the same. People are people, however you deal with them. Fill in the appropriate title for your industry.  

Look at the top five things that [customers] want, so that when you are hiring someone, you will have the end in mind which is a satisfied [customer].

1. They want a product, service or output, with no defects. Whatever they are paying for, they want no defect. The customer wants perfection, which is impossible. Know this in advance, and know that this is what you are dealing with.

2. They want timeliness. They want want you to be honest. We love to give good news. We avoid the bad news, so we haven’t given them the whole truth. And the whole truth has to be given in a timely fashion. Pastor Bill shared an example from his own experience with a local car dealer who ultimately honored an extravagant offer made to him on a car lease.

3. They want the person with whom they are dealing to be nice. Every doctor or lawyer he knows used to say, “You’re not hiring me to be nice. You’re hiring me to be smart.” However, times have changed, and in today’s world with all of its competition, people expect a person to be good, smart, and nice.

“If you treat people like people, like everyone is a lady or gentleman, your business will thrive.”

4. They want to be treated as individuals. You may do everything over and over again, but people want to be treated like individuals. 

5. They want personalization.

Pastor Bill also shared five decisions you can make as a leader, as you are dealing with your customers.

1. Strive to inspire. The difference between motivating and inspiring is that motivating is external. “We’ve got to get this project done by Friday.” You can motivate with money or job security or whatever external factors you want. Inspiration is getting it inside of someone.   

Referring to education, Benjamin Franklin said,  “It’s not the filling of a bucket. It is the lighting of a candle.”  You want to light people’s candles. You can fill the bucket. Motivating is good, but motivation stops when the project stops. 

Long term relationships strive to inspire. 

2. Don’t settle for less. Pastor Bill shared, “You know what average is, right? Average is the top of the bottom. Or, if you’re an optimist, you’re at the bottom of the top. In this town, people do not like mediocrity. And if you’re new in town, you need to know that. People in Boca do not accept mediocrity. They want you to be more. Settle for excellence. Move forward in whatever your vision is, identify excellence and keep moving towards that.” 

3. Let nothing cloud your vision. Avoid mission creep. There are times you need to add to your vision, but if you have a great vision, stay on track or all of the sudden you’re going to wake up one day not doing what you’re supposed to be doing. 

4. Always seek to improve. There are others innovating that are coming up next to you. Yesterday’s innovation is today’s legacy and tomorrow’s dinosaur. Keep moving forward in innovation.

5. Own your mistakes. You’re going to make mistakes. Whether you’re the head of the organization or one person in a group, you have to be willing to own up to mistakes, and when you do, forgiveness will usually happen and relationships will be strengthened.

The May meeting is sold out but June tickets are available at BocaLead.org

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