The Right People Is Most of the Battle

I’ve just rediscovered for (for the umpteenth time) one of the most basic truths about building a high-performing business: adding the right people is most of the battle. Seems like a no-brainer, doesn’t it? And yet we all get distracted from this basic wisdom from time to time.

Sorry ladies; we’re back to sports metaphors, so let’s choose one that includes both men and women. Imagine we’re about to put together a professional basketball team. We’re in a strategic planning meeting and the discussion goes something like this:

Coach: “We need a dominant Center who can score on offense and who can control the inside and keep people from driving to the basket on defense. We need an A Player (top 10% performer).”

General Manager: “Yes, I understand that, but those kind of players are expensive. Why don’t we just hire a C Player (average performer) that costs less? That will be good enough and we can keep our costs down.”

Coach: “But then we won’t have the quality of team that will win games, bring in the fans, and make our sports franchise really profitable.”

General Manager: “Yes, but I have to keep an eye on overhead costs, and I’d rather not spend the money to get an A Player, so a C Player will have to do. Next discussion item…”

Huh? My experience has been that if you add the right people to your team (e.g., happy, right values, passionate), then you can spend the majority of your time leading (setting the vision and inspiring people to achieve it) versus managing (directing, coaching).

While both leading and managing are both important functions in a high-performance business, imagine how much more enjoyable and profitable your business can be if you’re not spending most of your time trying to coach a C Player into being a high performer.

If your goal is to create a world-class business (or sports franchise), then you’re going to need both a strong team and strong teamwork, but you’ll never get there without the former. Even the best teamwork in the world won’t make up for a lack of pure individual talent at the elite levels of competition.

Yes, A Players are more difficult to find and they’re more expensive, but what’s the alternative–sell more hot dogs?

High-Performance Habits

  1. Take the time and spend the money to hire A Players (or at the least B Players with A Potential); they’ll bring you the greatest Return On Investment in the long run.
  2. Treat them with caring and respect when they’re on board so they’ll stick around and fulfill the financial potential you planned for.
  3. It’s better to have a smaller and slower-growing high-performance organization with A Players than a larger faster-growing organization with C Players. With the latter you’ll lose control of your quality, ruin your brand in the marketplace, and implode financially (happens all the time).
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