In my last post, “Effective Leadership – Are Your People Loyal to You or Your Vision,” I discussed the idea that there are several businesses with which I’m currently working that are performing and several that are not. The difference between the two is that they either have a culture of likability or a culture of accountability. The immediate differences between the two suggested differences in leadership, people, and focus on results.

In my first post, I defined leadership as the ability to influence people in such a way that fosters commitment to accomplishing a task. In this post, I’ll talk about the importance of having the right people. In the underperforming businesses I’m writing about here, the people on board are all decent people that I’d refer to as starters. They aren’t extraordinary individual performers, but they all have the capability of performing at much higher levels. They are all extremely likable people, and they get along great with their leader and with each other. They might describe their level of teamwork in very positive terms. I would not. They are more pals than colleagues who have joined together to accomplish something.

So, who are the right people? Think about the person whom you most admire and then think about why you chose that person as the most admired on the list of people you know. Why do you admire them? Is it because they have an MBA from Harvard? Is it because they have a tremendous resume with great skill sets? Or is it because of the kind of person they are, their character? If your people exhibit a strong work ethic, average intelligence, dedication to achievements and fulfilling commitments, and high degree of moral values, then you have the right people. In Jim Collins book, Good to Great, he says that the right people are rigorous in “consistently applying exacting standards at all times and at all levels.” 

Evaluate your people today. Three practical disciplines are outlined in Collins book that you may find helpful:

  •     When in doubt, don’t hire…keep looking.
  •     When you know you need to make a people change, act.
  •     Put your best people on your biggest opportunities, not your biggest problems.

 Sign up for our monthly e-newsletter to stay informed on how to overcome related succession planning issues.