First Who, Then What

leadership, business, team building, teamwork, efficiency

The next principle in “Good to Great” is “First Who, Then What”.  All of the Good to Great CEO’s focused first on getting the right people on the bus before they decided where they wanted to drive it.  They knew that strategy comes after people.  Once they got the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus, they led with questions and engaged in vigorous debate until they decided where they wanted to go.  Here are a few takeaways: 

  • When you have the right people, trying to motivate and manage largely goes away.  The right people are motivated by excellence, not money.  Everyone must get paid, but once that box is checked, it is the pursuit of excellence that drives the right people.  Character and Integrity are more important than knowledge or skills.
  • When in doubt, don’t hire, keep looking.  Your growth as a company will be limited by your ability to get the right people.  Don’t try to outgrow your people.
  • If you have the right person, make sure they are in the right seat.  Don’t put an offensive tackle at quarterback.
  • Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems.  It is tempting to put your most capable people on your biggest problem to make them go away, but that would be limiting for them and for the business.  Think maximum value creation. 

Surround yourself with people that you enjoy being around.  If you spend the vast majority of your time with people you love and respect, you can enjoy a great business and a great life.

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