First Who, Then What

By: Ildiko Oravecz 3 years ago

Imagine you’re the director of a film.  It’s expected to be a Hollywood blockbuster and make millions at the box office.  Who will you cast in the lead role? Will you choose just any actor who has taken an acting class and maybe performed in one community theatre production? Or will you cast someone who has studied the craft for years, performed in countless plays and other films in a variety of roles, and who is committed to making the film Oscar-worthy? The difference could make or break your film’s success.

It’s the same with your business.  Your business IS your blockbuster. And if you have the wrong people in critical leadership roles, you just might have a flop on your hands.

That’s why, as a business owner or leader, your mantra should be “First Who, Then What.”  Jim Collins, renowned business consultant and author of the bestseller Good to Great uses a great analogy involving a bus. He says don’t worry about figuring out where to drive the bus first. Get the right people on the bus, and decide which people need to be in certain seats – then figure out where you’re going.

Sounds counter-intuitive, doesn’t it? But Collins’ extensive research shows that the most successful companies – the ones that go from good to great – use that approach. They cast the right people in leadership roles, putting the right people on their “bus.” Then, as a team, they use their combined skills and strengths to determine the best route to take.  Companies that do the opposite – come up with a plan of action or a goal and then hire people they think will be the best fit to implement that plan, never achieve greatness.

So here’s a question for you:  Who’s on your bus? And are the right people in the leadership seats? Cast the right team before you tackle anything else, and you just might have that blockbuster business you’ve always wanted.

User Comments