Friday, 14 September 2007

Our People are our Greatest Asset

I've been writing and rewriting a post on this topic for months now.

I guess the problem is that I'm horribly conflicted about the concept. I fully believe that the people in an organization are the most important asset it has. But I think most corporations may approach this concept from entirely the wrong direction.

Jim Collins proposes, in Good to Great, that rather than figuring out strategy first, an organization should make sure it has the right people. In his analogy of 'Getting the right people on the Bus" he posits that the Level 5 leader will say:

“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.”
This seems intuitively wrong, but I really think it's right. The right people are going to be the right people regardless. They will adapt as needs and the business environment evolve. I don't want someone who is amazing at leading in a bullish economy when the economy goes bear.

But very few organizations recruit this way, and they hamstring themselves right at the start.

I know I've recommended it before, but you really should read Good to Great.

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