It IS All About Your People

By Kevin on September 8, 2010 in HCM

I love Roy Williams, The Wizard of Ads, and his weekly Monday Morning Memo. But he once wrote something that is very, very wrong:

I’ve encountered dozens of business owners who believed in their hearts they had extraordinary employees. None of them ever did. Properly enforced systems, methods, policies and procedures allow a company to get exceptional actions from ordinary people. If your business requires you to attract and retain extraordinary people, you’ve got a dangerous business model.

In my experience it’s almost all about the people. Now I’m also a nut about systems, process, and operations, too. But you can have great people and terrible systems and win. I’ve never seen great systems and terrible people win in the long term.

By great people I mean hiring the top 10%, and ideally the top 3%. The problem of course is that this isn’t easy. There are some keys however:

– Be willing to hire great people when you find them; not just when you need them

– Realize that great people usually are already employed somewhere, they aren’t sitting at home sending blind resumes into random companies (i.e., they are passive candidates not active candidates)

– Realize you need to do a lot of screening and interviewing to find the top 3%

– Sometimes an individual won’t join you unless you hire the other members of their team, too. So do it.

– You’ll pay a premium, but it’s worth it



Kevin Kruse is a NY Times bestselling author and keynote speaker. Get more success and tips from his newsletter at and check out keynote video clips. His new book, Employee Engagement 2.0, teaches managers how to turn apathetic groups into emotionally committed teams.

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