Getting the Right People on the Team
One of the surprising findings of the Jim Collins watershed research on what makes some teams grow to greatness, as captured in his best selling book “Good to Great”, is the importance of, as he puts it, ‘getting the right people on the bus’. The researchers expected to find, first, the importance of vision and strategy, instead they found that it was initially more important to have the correct people, working in the team.
Apparently, it is more important to begin with ‘who’ than ‘what’. The right people don’t need to be tightly managed or motivated, they will be self-motivated. When markets change, strategy must change and with good people on board, a team can better create and implement a new strategy. The results show, having good people comes before having a good strategy. Good people create good strategies.
One of the key points is the degree of sheer rigor needed in people decisions to take a team from good to great. The research team discerned four (4) practical disciplines in being rigorous in people decisions.
Practical Discipline #1: When in doubt, don’t hire, keep looking. No team can grow revenues consistently faster than its ability to get good people on board.
Practical Discipline #2: When you know you need to make a people change, act. The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you’ve made a hiring mistake. Good people do not need to be managed. They may need to be guided and taught, but not managed.
Practical Discipline #3: Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems.
Practical Discipline #4: Take team players on board. Not only must hires be talented, but they must also meld their strengths into doing whatever it takes to make the team great. The spectacular West Indies Cricket Team of the 1980s had many great, talented stars, but they worked together to make a great team.
Importantly, the research revealed that the right persons have more to do with character traits and innate capabilities than with specific knowledge, background, or skills.