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First Who, Then What



One of my favorite books is a book from a man called Jim Collins called Good to Great. And he talks about the principles that a company goes through in order to go from good to great. And I like the book. I like the book from a business standpoint. And I also like the book from a personal standpoint, I tend to believe that these steps that it outlines actually apply fairly well to the steps that one can take to transform their life from Good to great.


And the very first principle in the book talks about First, who then what." And I talked a little bit about this in the first episode of this podcast, when we talked about the gentleman's lounge, but I wanted to share just a few of the excerpts from the actual book itself. And remember the book comes from the standpoint of what it takes to have a company go from good to great. But I think that, again, it also applies to a person's individual life as well.


The principle is this that you first decide who needs to be on the bus before you decide where to drive it, because the idea of surrounding yourself with the right people should come before deciding on your vision before deciding on your strategy, your tactics, your destination, or your mission. First get the right people on the bus, because if you first begin with who rather than what, you can more easily adapt to a changing world.


And I think it's very important. I think if anyone has been around the past couple of years, we can all signify and corroborate that the world has changed significantly in the past couple of years. And we realize how much we've needed other individuals in our life, in certain key positions in order to just keep ourselves sane. And when you have the right people on the bus, when you're surrounded by the right individuals in the right places, it makes adapting that much more easy to accomplish because great vision without great people is irrelevant.


So even as you're crafting your second half success plan, whatever that is, wherever you want to go, you first, are going to need some particular kind of people around you in order to get there. So that's one of the excerpts I wanted to share with you.


The second thing is as you're selecting the individuals, a key point is that sometimes the right people that you select, you might want to place greater weight on character attributes than on specific educational background, practical skills, specialized knowledge, or work experience.


Now they were speaking about this in the context of a company or organization where typically skills and knowledge and expertise might trump the kind of person that they are, but they're reversing that paradigm here to instead say that wanna first focus on hiring individuals who are of a particular character, cut from a particular mode or cloth because everything else in terms of the skills and knowledge and experience...


That stuff is learnable. It's teachable. They can learn that. It can be acquired, but character attributes are typically something that's hard won. It's developed over a long period of time. It's ingrained and it's probably very difficult to either teach or difficult to correct if it's the kind of behavior that is not in alignment with where an organization wants to go. So as you are considering who you need to surround yourself with with on a more regular basis, there may be key individuals that you need to have in certain positions.


So for example, if you're trying to chart the best path for you, for your finances in terms of your money, certainly you might want to get a competent and skilled and knowledgeable financial advisor or expert. And along with that, you're gonna want to also understand what kind of person this person is, or as you're seeking them out, possibly you might want to get some of their references.


Who have they worked with before and speak to those individuals. What was the experience like working with this person? What kind of character do they display? How do they walk someone through their future financial plan? What do those things look like? So it's important to consider those things as you're deciding who you're gonna be spending more time with in specific areas of your life.


Okay. Next thing. Is that when you need to make a people change, you have to act. It's often been said that not everyone in your life needs to be there for the entire journey. There are people that we still hang out with, that we interact with that have been with us on this journey, because we've known them since high school or since college, or even since before then.


And they're still around. And it's possible that they no longer need to be on the bus or maybe no longer need to be in the seat on the bus that they've been occupying. Perhaps you've been going to this person for a particular kind of advice for a particular kind of council, or they've been your sounding board in a number of different occasions in the past. You might wanna evaluate the effectiveness of that kind of interaction with them.


How has it brought value? Where is the juice and is that juice worth the squeeze in terms of using that individual for that particular reason. Not using like you're manipulating, but certain people serve certain functions in their lives for certain reasons. And the thing you want to decide is, do you need to make a change?


Does it need to be a reduction in how often you interact with this person. certain individuals get some occasional time, not consistent time, maybe not quality time. Maybe you have to increase the amount of time you spend with certain individuals because of the value that's there. And the way the relationship is reciprocal.


The illustration they use in the book is that if you work in a place and you have that one or two people that are just toxic. They are not good for your team. They're not good for the organization. To know when you've got the wrong person on the bus, there are two questions you could ask is: If it were a hiring decision, would you hire this person again? Or if this person were all of a sudden to tell you that they are resigning, would you be secretly happy?


And if the answer to the first question is, "No" or if the answer to the second question is "yes", that's a sign that the wrong person ison the bus. Go ahead and make a decision. In this case from a personal life standpoint, maybe don't cut them out entirely., But maybe you simply reduce the amount of time that you spend with them. Maybe you have to cut 'em out entirely, maybe that's necessary, but that's the kind of question you want to ask there.


And one of the biggest things that he sort of ends the chapter with is this: "Adherence to the idea of first, who might be the closest link between a great company and a great life for no matter what we achieve. If we don't spend the vast majority of our time with people we love and respect, we cannot possibly have a great life. But if we spend the vast majority of our time with people, we love and respect people, we really enjoy being on the bus with, and who will never disappoint us. Then we will almost certainly have a great life, no matter where the bus goes."


And I think that's interesting and it's a good parallel. It's a good way to understand how important it is to surround ourselves with the right people. Wherever your second half success plan journey is gonna take you, wherever that is, you probably don't want to go there alone. It's gonna be a much more enjoyable journey if you go there with people you are going to have fun being on the journey with.


And sometimes because you're on the bus with the right people, the destination might even become secondary. It may not even become that important to get there because you're having so much fun and you're enjoying the ride itself just because of who you're surrounded with, who you're interacting with, who is feeding into you, who you are feeding into, that makes almost the destination secondary.


So I will leave you with those excerpts from that book. Again, It's Good to Great. Jim Collins. It's a great book. I love it. God bless and take care.

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