Thursday, July 15, 2010

Great Leadership: Opportunities and People

Always put your best people on your greatest opportunities rather than your biggest problems. This simple but profound leadership lesson comes from Jim Collins and his research team as they distilled this principle from the mountains of data on organizations that took the leap from "Good to Great".

Yes, this principle is simple and profound, yet difficult to apply in real life. I've been working at this for a number of years and here a few of my learnings along the way.
  1. Getting people into the right role, with the required resources is largely a matter of discipline. 
  2. Therefore, I review regularly, I look for who has "flow" and who is "stuck." It always takes time and this particular job is ongoing.
  3. People and problems go together, as do growth and problems. We all do better at tackling the problems when we accept this reality. 
  4. One person's problem is another's opportunity. Many times a "problem" in one are is an "opportunity" to improve in another. I try to diagnose if a problem can be addressed somewhere else or by someone else. 
  5. I must tackle some of, even many of problems and protect my leader's time, energy and efforts.
I spend a large portion of my time thinking/reflecting on this principle and my people. I'm learning to be a student of the people I work with and particularly those I lead. Each one is a precious resource and worth the effort. Also, I love the opportunity to find that "flow" when personality, passion and skills are deployed on a meaningful opportunity for impact.

Try this principle on for size. See what happens in a week, a month or a quarter.

The results can be amazing and the journey can be fun!

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