Jim Collins is the author of the best-selling business books addressing this simple but vexing question: Why do some companies become great while others flounder? On the book “Good to Great” I first read about the Bus Theory. If you run your own business this is an article you should definitely read.
In the metaphor, CEOs are bus drivers. The bus is the business and it’s your job to get it running. You have to decide where you’re going, how you’re going to get there, and who’s going with you. Most people assume that the business idea is the main element; they think that where you want to go is the key to success. Jim Collins argues that great companies start not with “where” but with “who”.
Before deciding where and how to drive your start up, you need the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus.
There are three main reasons to focus on people:
- First you can adapt more easily to a fast-changing world. If people get on your bus because of where they think it’s going, you’ll be in trouble when you get 10 miles down the road and discover that you need to change direction because the world has changed. But if people board the bus principally because of all the other great people on the bus, you’ll be much faster and smarter in responding to changing conditions.
- Second,if you have the right people on your bus, you don’t need to worry about motivating them. The right people are self-motivated: Nothing beats being part of a team that is expected to produce great results.
- Third, if you have the wrong people on the bus, nothing else matters. You may be headed in the right direction, but you still won’t achieve greatness. Great ideas with mediocre people still produce mediocre results.
But if people are more important than even your business idea, you could be in big trouble. How do you identify the right people and how do you pay them in the early stages?
Stay tuned for insights.
Written by Simone Cimminelli