Monday, August 23, 2010

First Who…Then What

Continuing on my analysis of Good to Great by Jim Collins. Here are my favorite quotes from Chapter 3 - First Who…Then What.

…they first got the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figured out where to drive it. (41)

Great vision without great people is irrelevant. (42) LOVE THIS QUOTE

You get the best people, you build them into the best managers in the industry, and you accept the fact that some of them will be recruited to become CEOs of other companies. (43)

I don’t know where we should take this company, but I do know that if I start with the right people, ask them the right questions, and engage them in vigorous debate, we will find a way to make this company great. (45)

If you have the right executives on the bus, they will do everything within their power to build a great company, no because of what they will “get” for it, but because they simply cannot imagine settling for anything less.

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

…but to get the right people on the bus in the first place, and to keep them there. (50)

The Nucor system did not aim to turn lazy people into hard workers, but to create an environment where hardworking people would thrive and lazy workers would either jump or get thrown right off the bus. In one extreme case, workers chased a lazy teammate right out of the plant with an angle iron.

In determining “the right people,” the good-to-great companies place greater weight on character attributes…(51)

To be rigorous mean consistently applying exacting standards at all times and at all levels, especially in upper management. (52)

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

To let people languish in uncertainty for months or years, stealing precious time in their lives that they could use to move on to something else, when in the end they aren’t going to make it anyway – that would be ruthless. To deal with it right up front and let people get on with their lives – that is rigorous.

Rigor in a good-to-great company applies first at the top, focused on those who hold the largest burden of responsibility. (53)

Letting the wrong people hang around is unfair to all the right people, as they inevitably find themselves compensating for the inadequacies of the wrong people. (56)

But how do you know? Two key questions can help. First, if it were a hiring decision (rather than a “should this person get off the bus?” decision), would you hire the person again? Second, if the person came to tell you that he or she is leaving to pursue an exciting new opportunity, would you feel terribly disappointed or secretly relieved? (58)

The good-to-great companies made a habit of putting their best people on their best opportunities, not their biggest problems.

…building your opportunities is the only way to become great.

The right people want to be part of building something great…(59)

…each core member of the team transformed personal ambition into ambition for the company.

You need executives, on the one hand, who argue and debate – sometimes violently – in pursuit of the best answers, yet, on the other hand, who unify fully behind a decision, regardless of parochial interests.

All of debates were for the common good of the company, not your own interests. (60)

He was good at assembling the right people around him, and putting the right people in the right slots, that he just didn’t need to be there all hours of the day and night. That was Colman’s whole secret to success and balance. (61)

Members of the good-to-great teams tended to become and remain friends for life.

They enjoyed each other’s company and actually looked forward to meeting.

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.

The people we interviewed from the good-to-great companies clearly loved what they did, largely because they loved who they did it with. (62)

Whether someone is the “right person” has more to do with character traits and innate capabilities than with specific knowledge, background, or skills. (64)

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