Good to Great by Jim Collins is a book you will see me acknowledge and quote from time to time because it is one of the best books on leadership, efficiency, and management I have ever read. Mr Collins and his team of college-aged researchers set out some 15 years ago to find the answers to what made good companies turn into great companies. Along the way, they found logical and practical answers to some of industries most glaring questions. I won't go into all the details, but the chapter that always seems to resonate with me is "First Who...Then What."
The chapter discusses the idea of getting the "right people on the bus." No matter what bus you are driving or where you are driving to, it is imperative to get the people who are the right fits for you to join you on the start of your journey.
The multiple times I have had the opportunity to chair a search committee or hire a new assistant, I have made it a point to re-read this specific chapter. Each time I read it, I am amazed at how simple of an idea "the right people on the bus" is and should be to all. However, I have learned that most managers care more about the "what" than they do the "who." It is these managers who end up failing more times than not.
Have you ever worked with someone who hired someone based on their ability to be manipulated? How about a manager who refused to hire someone they perceived to be smarter than them for fear of being made to look bad? I've witnessed numerous hires that were made out of convenience. "We could do a national search for the best person, but that takes a lot of time and effort. Let's just promote Betty or Jimmy to the position. They can learn as they go."
To have a great company, staff, or marriage even, it should be your top priority to pick those who will challenge you, the status quo, and others in the organization. Don't fear intelligence, strength of character, passion and compassion. Embrace those qualities that will raise the bar across the board.
Although I have been blessed with wonderful assistants and colleagues over the years, the best decision I ever made was to propose to a woman who was smarter, more talented, more focused, more responsible, and much better looking than me. In the end, whether it was my wife or those great people who have carried my career all these years, I have put myself around people who simply made me better and challenged me to want to be better.
Build that great team and then decide where to take the bus. You may find that your new team will take that bus further than you ever imagined it could go.
Have a great day!