I’m a big believer in "first who, then what." (From the wonderful book Good to Great) This means that having great people in place is more important than having a super-duper strategy. Why? If you have a great strategy but you don’t have the people who can execute on that strategy, you’re out of luck. But if you have great people and a lousy strategy, your people will fix the strategy, then execute it superbly!
There are zillions of books and courses on how to hire and keep great people. At PFL, we have our own systems for making sure that we attract, hire, retain, and promote only high performers. But it has taken us many years to develop our people processes.
If you want the short version, check out marketing guru Seth Godin’s post on "Sheepwalking" for the best summary I’ve ever seen on a great people philosophy.
Seth Godin is a brilliant marketing guy who says the best marketing is to deliver a great product/service, then let your happy customers be your marketing force. I generally like his viewpoint. It was Seth’s talk in Dallas that lead us to combine two of his concepts into an important PFL focus: "Create Remarkable Interactions!"
This post is amazing, and it captures PFL’s people philosophy perfectly: Hire great people, and don’t ask them to be sheep! In fact, don’t let them act like sheep!!
I define "sheepwalking" as the outcome of hiring people who have been raised to be obedient and giving them a braindead job and enough fear to keep them in line.
The biggest step, though, comes from anyone who teaches or hires. And that’s to embrace non-sheep behavior, to reward it and cherish it. As we’ve seen just about everywhere there’s been growth lately, that’s where the good stuff happens.