There were two particular notables
- The Cap’n, of course. He managed the ship’s reputation, designed bloodthirsty flags to scare people into surrendering without a fight, made hard executive decsions about where to plunder, who to shoot and when, maimings and maroonings. The Cap’n got the parrot, but was also radically accountable. If the crew felt he wasn’t delivering, they marooned him. The elected Cap’n dealt with star Exec tactics within an (illegal) regulatory framework called articles of association, which everybody signed up to, laying down the ground rules.
- Enforcing the articles was the job of the Quartermaster. He (and very occasionally She) dealt with the enforcement of the rules, resolved disputes between pirates so that they didn’t damage the ship, dealt with health and safety, repairs, crew welfare, discipline and supplies. S/he also handled transitional arrangements between Cap’ns if the boss went mad, got shot, or fell overboard. Cap’n and Quartermaster were entirely dependent on each other to perform at a high level, or everybody got hanged.
Now I notice that a lot of human enterprises need these two different kinds of functions performed well and mutually. I can even think of teams of clergy and churchwardens who divvy up the work like this very effectively. But what history does not record is the existence of a kind of Uber or Super Cap’n who could somehow perform both roles simultaneously and effectively.
Now as I read person specs in parish profiles for new vicars, I notice a tendency to try and bag everything in a one-shot genius. People brainstorm lovely things about the best vicar they ever met, and roll it all up into a Poly-Combo Super Amazing Ask. S/he will be better at boiling the Gumbo than the cook, super navigator, entrepreneurial, rational-bureaucratic, inspiring storyteller, incisive questioner, ship’s doctor, carpenter and purser. Why, S/he even has to fly better than the ship’s parrot, whilst simutaneously making fewer waves than the ship’s Cat — and all this on cabin boy’s wages.
Not surprisingly this kind of recruitment usually disappoints. How could it not, when it’s all based on fantasy? It would more effective for the crew to work out answers to few more basic questions — what kind of ship is this? what kind of crew? what are we willing to forego in our Cap’n?
OK. Here’s a particular snare. The last Cap’n was very inspiring, but not terribly good or enthusiastic about swabbing the decks. So the cry ascends for a new Cap’n who is absolutely as inspiring, drum roll, but also far more infrastructural. What we recruit is a new cap’n who is slightly more infrastructural, slightly less strategic. We think we’re all going to be happy but before long we’re disappointed because s/he is not enough of either. And s/he gets fed up too, because s/he feels s/he’s simply expected to be everything in an unfocussed way. Which of course s/he is. Result disappointment. Another perfectly good vicar is semi-successfully forced into an artificial mould that kills off their giftedness and enthusiasm. And the cult of mediocrity notches up another skull, and lumbers on in its highly effective quest to take over the entire C of E.
So, if recruiting, ask, who are we looking for here? How is our lousy job going to fulfil anyone who’s up to doing it? How realistic are we being? What are we willing to do without? How will they fit in with the gifts and skills of everyone else? If you want an inspirer who is gong to inspire them? And if you want a quartermaster, who is going resource them, and do the inspirational star stuff in a genuinely collaborative way?