Want a Great Organization? Build a Great Team


Among the top military brass, elected officials, entrepreneurs, and the most successful leaders I have met or worked with, there is one ingredient that all have for a great organization: they have the right people.

As Jim Collins in his book “Good to Great” writes, the success of an organization is based on having the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and more importantly, the right people in the right seat. From personal experience, I have seen organizations with plenty of money and resources crumble due to an ill-fitted team, and I have seen organizations with little to no resources grow leaps and bounds because they had the right team.

I learned this the hard way with one of my business ventures. I felt bad firing people and gave more second chances than I should have. By letting that person go, I would have actually done a favor for both us, that person could find a better position for himself and I could find a better person for that position. After learning this lesson, I didn’t hesitate to let someone go who later I found to not be the right fit and found a person that was. It was one of the best decisions I had ever made.

The number 1 ingredient for a successful organization is the people you hire. It is not about the right amount of financing, or the perfect product, or even the best marketing plan, but it is about who is on your team. It is much better to have one “A” person than 2 or 3 “B” or “C” people. It is much better to have a mediocre product or service with a superior team, rather than a superior product or service with a mediocre team. If you have the former, it is only a matter of time that your service or product will become superior.

Well known entreprenuers like Richard Branson or Brandon Cruz, president of health insurance leader GoHealth, believe that their success is based on hiring the right people and giving them the room to do what they need to get the job done. Shawn Riegsecker, CEO of the digital advertising firm Centro, stated that he doesn’t hire what he needs now, but what he will need for the future. He goes after what he wants, not settling what he can get. This is the right mentality!

I love sports, and one of the greatest sport teams in history was the “Miracle on Ice” Olympic hockey team that beat the Soviets in the 1980 Winter Olympics. The Soviets had better known superstars, better known coaches, and a better record and reputation. But the US team knew that with the right team put together, you could beat anybody. This is why coaches bring their own assistants, recruit their own players, and can command such high salaries.

Just like the coaches on those teams, and executives at places like Google, Apple, Facebook, and Twitter, they are always fighting to hire the best talent. In order to stay relevant in the sports arena and/or business, you need the right people on the bus and the right people in the right seat!

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