Joy Ride

Date: Feb 19, 2010
By: Joel Lazer, FCPA, FCA, CIRP


I recently read How the Mighty Fall and Why Some Companies Never Give In by Jim Collins. He is the author of Good to Great, a terrific book in which Collins sets out five levels of leadership which distinguish great companies. All five levels are necessary to attain and maintain greatness. Collins emphasizes the importance of getting the right people on the bus and in the rights seats. He offers many reasons, some obvious and others not so obvious. The book is worthwhile reading if you haven’t already done so.

Excerpted from Page 20 of Good to Great, the five levels of leadership are:

  1. Highly Capable Individual – Makes productive contributions through talent, knowledge, skills and good work habits.
  2. Contributing Team Member – Contributes individual capabilities to the achievement of group objectives and works effectively in a group setting.
  3. Competent Manager – Organizes people and resources toward the effective and efficient pursuit of predetermined objectives.
  4. Effective Leader – Catalyzes commitment to and vigorous pursuit of a clear and compelling vision, stimulating higher performance standards.
  5. Executive – Builds enduring greatness through a paradoxical blend of personal humility and professional will.

How the Mighty Fall contains two passages which struck a chord with me. The first emphasizes why we need to have the right people on the bus. Collins explains: if the right people are not on the bus, we compensate by adding rules and structure. Rules are supposed to assist people. However, rules dampen the spirit of the right people. The result is, the right people will be unhappy with the loss of freedom, the loss of being able to use their judgment, and the requirement of needing more approvals. They will be less satisfied with their work. This, coupled with having to work with less competent people, will drive them to seek new opportunities. And the result of that may be that we will compromise by hiring more people who are not right for our bus. This results in even more rules, which results in more good people leaving. Not hiring right can have long lasting and disastrous consequences. The adage “hire slow and fire fast” is, for me, confirmed.

The second passage that’s stayed with me is, “Success is falling down, and getting up one more time, without end.” That’s simple enough. It emphasizes a can-do attitude. There is much literature about the power of positive thinking. When we believe we can, then we can. When we don’t believe we can, then for sure we can’t. Think and Grow Rich, a classic by Napoleon Hill, is all about visualizing what you want. TEC speaker Boaz Rauschwerger talks about positive affirmations. A positive affirmation is a saying which sets out the result as though it is already true. Years ago my affirmation was, “I am a very patient person.” It is true today; I am a very patient person. If you repeat a positive affirmation out loud twice a day for thirty days, you will have remarkable results.

Lazer Grant has the right people on the bus. We help our people grow and, at the same time, help our clients be successful.

The information in this article is intended for general guidance only. Readers are requested to contact their professional advisor prior to acting on the basis of material contained herein.

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