Building Something Great Requires Great People
Great organizations, great systems, great products, great service. What do they all have in common? You guessed it, they are all managed and led by great people. I’ve been thinking a lot on the subject of building great organizations. I’m in the middle of a transformation in my professional life and so I’ve been pondering on the subject of greatness a lot lately. What makes an organization great?
My initial thought was an organization must have vision and a well thought out plan or strategy to meet that vision. I envisioned a great company with a set of well-defined systems intertwined with a clear set of boundaries and accountability to keep it under control. I’ve discovered that those things are important and necessary, but irrelevant if the right people are not in place.
Greatness always boils down to one singular principle that must come first. Find great people and you will find greatness in your work thereafter. I was reminded of this idea as I recently read Jim Collins book, “Good to Great.” His research reveals that the first order of business for ALL companies that ultimately achieved greatness was to get the right people on “the bus”, get the wrong people off the bus, and then get the right people in the right seats.
I’ve found that this principle also applies to life. We all strive to be better than we are now, constantly fighting to improve our situations in all facets of our lives. In order to achieve greatness in our lives, we must associate with the right people. This can be hard, especially when we discover that some of our closest friends and family members are just not a positive situation for us. Protecting your inner circle of friends and family is critical if you desire to improve your life and achieve your greatest contribution in this world. So how do you go about the process of developing your inner circle?
- Define your inner circle – Your inner circle is your safe place, a place of growth and trust. These people have your best interests in mind. They are people that encourage you, but they also hold you accountable. They are mentors and friends. They challenge you to be better, they applaud your success and they mourn your failure. Pray that God will bring these people in your life and that you will recognize them when they arrive. Cherish them, they are your most important asset to a better and more fulfilled life. When you have the right people in your inner circle, you feel a sense of incredible strength that is endless and you can draw from at any time.
- Reciprocate – Serve and support those that are in your circle, for they are close enough to you that you probably add value to them. Encourage them, build them up, hold them accountable be there for them, just like they are there for you in times of great joy and deep sadness. Your inner circle is a source of strength and trust that is only as strong as the bond that you form through relationships and experience. Nurture it.
- Protect your inner circle – Most people in your life will not be in your inner circle to include many of your family members, and that’s ok. Love your family, support your family, but be mature enough to know the difference between family and a member of your inner circle. Your inner circle will challenge you and shape you. Yes conflict will occur, but it doesn’t have to be toxic. Recognize the difference and don’t allow it to penetrate your inner circle. When it comes to friends, recognize the relationships that tear you down and eliminate those friendships sooner than later.
- Serve humanity – Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and to serve your fellow man. As long as your inner circle is intact, you will always have a place to go for support and to recharge your spirit. Never forget that we are all charged to love and support one another and to serve one another. This is much easier to do when we have a strong inner circle for support.
Life is about choices, and there is no greater choice than the ones you make regarding your inner circle. Get the right people on your bus and in the right seats and then go out into the world and achieve something great. The world needs what you have deep inside your soul!