people, a business’ most valuable commodity

Location, location, location…

That used to be the secret to success. Then came along this little thing called the Internet and rewrote all the rules of the game.

Gone are the days where information was a premium and access limited.

Today we face a whole new world, one in which people take front stage.

However, despite the changing landscape of business. One constant remains: people.

Companies think that cool products and clever marketing are the keys to a successful business when in actual fact, the most successful businesses are successful because they are able to attract the best people.

Peter Drucker, THE expert when it comes to management, back in the early 70s sat down with Mort Mandel, the then-CEO of Premier Industrial Corp., and while his insight into business strategy and priorities were invaluable, the topic that was most talked about was people.

Mandel asked Drucket how they could make their company grow faster. To which Drucker replied “Put your best person on your biggest opportunity.”

“If my best person is a dentist, would I put him in charge of running a brass foundry?” Mandel inquired.

Drucker went on to explain what that dentist would then do (if he’s the best person). “He’ll walk into that building, tour the plant and speak to the employees. He’ll immediately realize he doesn’t know anything about a brass foundry. But he’s going to get his people together and figure it out. He’ll try to find someone on that team who is qualified to run the plant. If he doesn’t come up with one, he’ll find the best foundry man in the country. The dentist will soon learn how to improve the leadership and the culture and reinforce the values.”

In other words, identify your highest performers, and then place them in charge of the most crucial roles.

Mandel went on to apply this knowledge with great effectiveness and, as a result, he went to great lengths to hire only the very best, or “A players” as he referred to them.

By bringing in A-players, Mandel explained, “you get a multipier effect.”

A-players understand what it takes to succeed and are able to inspire other A’s in the organization. As my mentor, Jim Rohn, is famous for saying, “To attract attractive people, you must be attractive.” In other words, excellence attracts excellence.

Personally, I like to think of someone who doesn’t accept mediocrity. As such I have had the chance to work with many people over the years as, unfortunately, C-players just don’t last long.

Winners want to work with winners for the simple reason that they are both appreciated and challenged at the same time.

The problem with most businesses is that they feel people are interchangeable. As such, they don’t bother investing much time and money into their growth, fearing they’ll leave.

However, it’s precisely that attitude that makes them leave.

Companies often think that it’s money that is the most important factor in whether someone stays or not, but in my experience it’s not even close. Knowing your company trusts and appreciates you ranks way higher.

Personally, I want to work with winners. Because the cost is just too high not to.

I have a feeling Drucker would agree with me.

To put it another way, never underestimate the value of a good employee.

Adrian Shepherd

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