Have you read the book Good to Great by Jim Collins? If not, I’d recommend you grab a copy and give it a read (or listen if you’re like me). It’s an excellent book on how businesses mature and get past the stage of “good” into the world of real growth, sustainable scalability, and true greatness.
An excerpt from the book I really like is as follows:
“Look, I don’t really know where we should take this bus. But I know this much: If we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great.”
I sat down with our team of twelve earlier this week and did a little retrospection. In the past 19 months, we’ve brought seven new people onto our team and had 3 move on to other endeavors through retirement and new opportunities. Every time we add a member to our payroll and sit them at a desk, it’s not just a changed team… it’s a new team. As we look back with this in mind, it explains some of the hecticness of the past couple of years, and especially the past 6 months.
We’ve added some great and highly skilled members to our team including help-desk techs, cyber-security pros, and experienced software architects and programmers. We’ve transitioned people from life-long careers into entirely new avenues of work based on their personality and behaviors, not just their professional resumes. We even watched one of our long-loved team members retire (the first one we hired that “knew more about this than me”). Some of these changes forced us to consider some of the “what’s next” questions we really needed to force ourselves to think through at this stage in our business journey.
Jim’s book is one I need to revisit myself, but the concept of “First Who, Then What” rings true with all the changes we’ve seen through this. I imagine you have experienced this as well on your own business journey. If you get the wrong people “on the bus” or even in the wrong seats, the ride will be rough, bumpy, and full of detours and missed opportunities. As you get the right people on the bus (including those times when a “right” rider decides to step off), it’s like a fog lifts, the road becomes clear again, and the journey can have a renewed excitement as it goes ahead.
Knowing the destination is not always a necessity when you’re on a journey that matters. Sometimes the journey, and those you travel with, is the destination. I’m thankful for my team members, my mentors, our clients, and all the others that we get to share our business journeys with.
Thank you as well for your part in my journey, even if we’ve never met.
For publication in the Business Leader