Good to Great – CH03

First Who, Then What

“There are going to be times when we can’t wait for somebody. You’re either on the bus or off the bus.” –Ken Kesey

FIRST STEP: First get the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and THEN figure out where to drive it!

  1. This makes change simple
  2. The right people don’t need to be managed & motivated, they are already self-motivated by the inner drive to product the best results & to be part of creating something great
  3. Having the wrong people prevents you from EVER becoming a great company regardless of finding “right direction”

You get the best people, you build them into the best managers in the industry, & you accept the fact that some of them will be recruited to become CEOs of other companies.

This is not just about assembling the right team. It’s that FIRST fix the people and THEN find the direction.

Sheer rigor needed in people decisions in order to take a company from Good to Great.

Nothing to do with executive pay structures, incentives, or compensation packages!

The right people will do the right things & deliver the best results they’re capable of, regardless of the incentive system.

Compensation system is ONLY about attracting and retaining the RIGHT people, who are already self-motivated to deliver results because it’s who they are. The wrong people can NEVER be incentivized enough to deliver.

“We hire 5, work them like 10, and pay them like 8.”

Rigorous, NOT ruthless!

Consistently applying exacting standards at all times & at all levels, especially in upper management. When rigorous, not ruthless – the best people need not worry about their positions & can concentrate fully on their work.

“The only way to deliver to the people who are achieving is to not burden them with the people who are not achieving.”

  1. When in doubt, don’t hire – keep looking
  2. When you know you need to make a people change – ACT!
    1. The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you’ve made a hiring mistake! The best people do NOT need to be managed! They don’t need to be disciplined, motivated, incentivized, etc. Bad business all around. Act right away and let the wrong person go.  Be sure to first ask, “is it the wrong person or the wrong seat on the bus?”
  3. Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not our biggest problems
  4. When you decide to sell off your problems, don’t sell off your best people.
    1. If you create a place where the best people always have a seat on the bus, they’re more likely to support changes in direction
  5. You need executives who argue & debate – sometimes violently – in pursuit of the best answers yet who unite fully behind a decision, regardless of personal or parochial interests.