The People on the Bus

bus_1318987cIn Jim Collin’s book, “Good to Great” (Harper Business ©2001) he says, “…to build a successful organization and team you must get the right people on the bus, get the wrong people off the bus and put the right people in the right seats.”

Collin’s goes on to talk about the value of people.  He states:  “People are not your most important asset.  The RIGHT people are your most important asset.”

Have you ever been a part of a team that had the “wrong people” on it?  I’m not saying that they’re bad people, I’m just saying that they weren’t right for the team, at that time?

I remember recruiting team members to join our organization and within 2 days I realized that I had made a mistake.  I underestimated how much we had changed since I had the initial conversation with these team members, and by the time they arrived, we had a different focus, different priorities and different needs.  Their arrival changed the dynamics of our team. They didn’t know where they fit, they weren’t passionate about what the rest of us were working on and there was some conflict right at the beginning.  I saw the tension and thought I could fix it, but what happened was a year of struggle, conflict and distraction.  They weren’t interested in changing with the organization and they let everyone know that.  I took the blame and spent the next 8 months trying to figure it out.  It ended with them leaving and the rest of the team breathing a sigh of relief.

Sometime this happens.  As organizations change we have different needs and different dynamics and we need to pay attention to that.

The biggest lesson I learned from this experience was the idea that Collins addresses in his book:  When you KNOW you have someone on the bus that shouldn’t be there, as the leader, you must do something about it. Don’t wait too long and don’t use all of your time and energy trying to fix it.  Sometimes the best decision is to have them leave before they cause problems with other team members.

Jon Gordon writes in his blog that there are 5 steps we need to take in getting the right people on the bus:

#1)  Identify who the right people are.  Each organization and team will have different needs so your right people may be different from other organizations and teams.

#2)  One exercise you can do is to sit down with your leadership and human resources team and identify several people in your organization who you wish you could clone.  Write down their characteristics and traits and create your own benchmark of the right person for each position.

#3) Identify the type of person that fits your organization and team culture. For example, if you want to create a positive culture make sure you hire positive people.  If you want to create a culture that is creative then hire creative people.

#4)  Make sure you take your time during the hiring/recruiting process.  If you invest your time, resources and energy to get the right people on the bus you’ll have fewer headaches, expenses and flat tires later on.

#5)  Remember, the people you surround yourself with will determine the kind of ride it’s going to be.

If you are the leader of your organization or you are in leadership, you need to spend time:  evaluating your team, recruiting for your team, identifying the kinds of people you need for your team and ensuring that everyone is in the right place.  This is something that you can’t delegate to others.  This is a priority for your job!

Look at a previous post on PICKING A LEADER

Russ Cline has wide experience in church, mission, and global leadership. Beginning in the local church in Southern California, then moving to Ecuador for 16 years to be a part of launching three distinct organizations, Russ is now back in Southern California working with Extreme Response International in providing leadership coaching and organizational development to leaders around the world. Russ' passion is to come alongside organizations and to help them identify areas of growth, focus and change, resulting in greater impact and effectiveness. Russ graduated from Azusa Pacific University with a degree in Business and Christian Education and completed his graduate work in Organizational Development. He has been married for 30 years to Gina, and they have three kids: Rheanna, Riley and Raylin. To learn more about Russ, visit: www.russellcline.com Write directly to Russ at: rcline@extremeresponse.org www.extremeresponse.org www.leadermundial.org twitter: leadonesource, leadermundial

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