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How to Get the Right People on Board at the Beginning

Moses was an outsider among the Israelites. Remember, he was never a slave. He was raised in Pharaoh’s palace, a prince of Egypt. When God tells him to lead the people out of Egypt, Moses is terrified. What if they reject me, he wonders?

God suggests Moses speak first to the elders of Israel. In effect, Moses gets the key leaders on board first. He populates his leadership team with family and reputable figures. Their presence gives Moses greater credibility. Had he not done so, Moses may well have been rejected before he had a chance to lead.

Do you have the right people on board? Did you ever lack credibility because you did not initially get the right support?

Getting it Right

Expert Jim Collins in his Good to Great book wrote, “First Who, Then What—get the right people on the bus—is a concept developed in the book Good to Great. Those who build great organizations make sure they have the right people on the bus and the right people in the key seats before they figure out where to drive the bus.” He went on to say, “Look, I don’t really know where we should take this bus. But I know this much: If we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus, then we’ll figure out how to take it someplace great.”

Greatness doesn’t just happen or is a lucky coincidence it is an expected predetermined process. Having the right people doesn’t mean they all agree or come from the same background. It means they are great at what they do and believe in the system. They have difficult conversations, hold each other accountable, and trust each other to always do the right thing for the right reasons. A beautiful flower doesn’t just pop out of the ground. It fights its way up around different soil conditions, rocks, and other barriers but when it blossoms it is beautiful. Dominic Monkhouse of Monkhouse and Company coined the phrase “productive conflict”. I like the idea of haggling your way to the best outcome possible.



Who Are the “Right” People to Invite on Your Bus?

It starts with defining the key roles needed for success and then filling them. Naturally, we start with looking at leadership. We have talked about strong leadership in previous articles, but a quick recap may be in order. Leadership comes in different forms, shapes, and sizes, or in other words many different styles. But we know the following is essential for all the leaders on the team. Notice, that I wrote leaders on the team. A leader can be anywhere in the organization from the greeter at the door to the CEO. But it is essential that all people in places at the top of the org chart be leaders, first and foremost.

  1. A leader is encouraging all around them.
  2. They teach, mentor, and allow people the room to fail and learn.
  3. They can communicate well and provide clear, concise, verbal, and written messages.
  4. Flexibility is another trait that is essential. The ability to adapt, pivot, and change course when needed.
  5. They are positive.
  6. They champion the people around them.
  7. They fully understand the “Why” they are doing what needs to be done and they can communicate it clearly.
  8. Most importantly, they listen.

How do we get great leaders on our team?

Although I shared earlier that Jim Collins wrote, “Those who build great organizations make sure they have the right people on the bus and the right people in the key seats before they figure out where to drive the bus.”  It stands to reason that you know what your company is all about and what it is intended to do. With that in mind, you will need a clear definition of what your company is good at to give the leadership team a solid starting point.  

Adam Bryant of Merryck & Co. writes, “How often people give feedback is just as important as how they deliver it. Some leaders tell their employees upfront that they are going to give them frequent feedback. That way, employees are not so alarmed when the feedback comes, and they’re more open to hearing it and acting on it.” It is essential that you set the same guidelines for your leaders. We all need to know expectations and be held accountable.

A fabulous line that I ran across from the Lighthouse BLOG was, “Let go of your fears and desire for direct control.” In other words, get over yourself, you can’t do everything yourself, and get out of your own way. Jack Welch, former CEO of GE puts it, "Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is all about growing others." Come to terms with the idea that you need a team. As a team, we can do so much more, so much better.

Finally, you need to impress upon them the opportunity they will have and then provide them the space and tools for success. Understand what makes you excited, and what makes them excited, and project those attributes in your proposal. Then promise to stay out of their way and do it – lol. Money is not always the most important factor in taking on a new position, it is the knowledge that you can make a difference and have the freedom to do it. 

Chuck Groot is an author, speaker, and teacher. His love of God has spanned over 6 decades and he finds the more he studies the Bible, the less he knows, the more he succeeds the more dependant on God he becomes, and that there is nothing outside of loving God our Father, and being loved in return.



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