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First The Who ... then The What

By Llinas Jean-Christophe, 5:15 PM on December 22, 2015


In a world where everything is constantly changing, the company must adapt quickly and often.

But before defining « The What », you need to focus on « The Who ». This is one of the first councils given by Jim Collins in his excellent book "Good to Great".

If your colleagues join you for The What, what will happen to you if you need to change course? Whereas if they come for « the Who », they will follow you in all situations.

You must surround yourself with employees you need, positioning them in the right place and get rid of those who are unnecessary for the company. Like this, you remove the problems of motivation. These employees don’t need to be closely monitored. They just need to be guided and trained. They are self-motivated to produce the best results and take part in the creation of excellence.

Conversely, if you don’t have the people you need, whether you have taken the right direction or not, you will not reach the goal.

Great vision without great staff does nothing.

To be sure that someone is not in place or worse he must leave the ship can take time. However, as soon as is it known with certainty, you must act quickly. To help you in this choice, you can simply ask yourself these two questions:

  • Will you hire him again?
  • If that person announces his departure, will you feel disappointed or relieved?

We've all experienced or observed the following scenario : you have recruited an employee who doesn’t match your needs and you know it. But you wait. You push the deadline, hoping he will have the intelligence to leave the ship on his own initiative. You try other ways and give him a third, then a fourth chance, you invest time to control this person and you invent "system" to compensate for his shortcomings ... But the situation doesn’t get better and your energy is wasted thinking about that person or talking about him constantly. Worse, the time and energy you spend for him is diverted away from labor to accomplish with your top colleagues... And during that time, they wonder what you are waiting for ...

Parting from unnecessary people in the company is one of the best ways to retain the best.
Successful people are motivated by result and frustration is not far when they are challenged by a dead weight and they have constantly to cover for him ...

If in doubt, don’t hire and especially limit your recruitments at your capacity of integration!

This idea of "first the who" seems to be pretty easy to understand, but extremely difficult to implement, especially in France …

Only humble leaders on a personal level, passionate, ambitious for their business, with a commitment and rigor of iron, on a professional level, have a chance to get there.

I encourage you to read "Good to Great" by Jim Collins and good luck on the road to excellence!

"Good to Great" by Jim Collins, Pearson Publishing, 2011, 287 pages.

You can’t slog a dead horse!

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