“People are not the greatest asset to your business, the right people are.” Jim Collins – Good to great.
At the heart of every institution are people. At the centre of every lean transformation process are people. At the heart of your business are people, visionary and non-visionary companies had/have people. The question then begs; what is the difference between the visionary companies and those that haven’t made it to this category so far, in terms of people?
Research has established that the right people and the right disciplines guided the visionary companies into their great success.
As you think of how to take your organization or department to the next level think carefully about the people aspect.
If our boards pick the right people to the top, then we will begin to get it right on people all through the business. In order not to destabilize your business, it’s highly recommended that you select and promote from within except in circumstances where no ideal candidate can be found internally. Why do we recommend that you select internally? Because these people understand your purpose, philosophy, vision, values and culture better than outsiders. They have grown with the business. If you need to hire senior executives from outside then select people who agree with your Core Ideology above.
Once we have the right leaders at the top, they in turn will get it right by selecting and creating an environment for selection where people, whose personal values marry with your organization’s values, are given priority. Once you do this, training them about the work for which you are hiring them becomes a lot easier. Two can’t walk together unless the values are aligned.
When recruiting, the visionary companies placed a lot of emphasis on character attributes rather than on specific educational background, practical skills, specialized knowledge etc. Not that these are not important but they figured out that these are more teachable, whereas dimensions like attitude, character, work ethic, basic intelligence, commitment to fulfilling tasks, motivation, self-drive and values are much more ingrained.
Of course if you get people with a blend of everything from Education background to appropriate ingrained attributes it’s an added advantage, but people shouldn’t be denied an opportunity simply because they lack something that can be taught. Once hired, train them and they should be quick to learn in order to gain the necessary skills.
Visionary companies did not use layoffs as a Primary tool for transformation. They seldom lay off; even in times when some plants had to shut down. Instead they will first reassign people to other territories, departments etc. However when a layoff must happen, (this needs to be more of an exception than a norm), then they will get the wrong people off their teams in order to achieve their goals faster and much more cost effectively. If you have people who don’t live your values, who don’t understand where you are going as a business, who don’t show commitment to your vision and don’t contribute to your overall strategy, then, yes, the most logical & cost effective thing to do is to release them and then steer the business in the right direction with the right people.
Built to Last, Good to Great, The Toyota Way