This is the second in a series of posts focused on relating the findings of Jim Collins’ “Good to Great” to entrepreneurship.
After Level 5 Leadership, the second trait of Good to Great companies that Jim Collins discovered was the ability to bring the right people “on the bus,” without necessarily being clear on which direction the bus(iness) was headed. In the corporate arena, the people he’s referring to are the leaders and teams of an organization. He states that great companies were very deliberate about who got on the bus, even if they didn’t know exactly what role that person would take.
How does this finding apply to the entrepreneur?
When it comes to the bus that is your business, you clearly are the bus driver. You decide the speed and direction in which your business moves. You also control the door and who gets on and off the bus. The passengers that you choose to join you range from partners, collaborators, affiliates, clients, customers and vendors.
Each of these passengers can add or subtract value from your business. In order to attract and invite the “right” people, you have to know who you want to work with. It’s important to know the traits of your ideal collaborator, client and vendor. And those people need to be aligned with your values; if they’re not, you will continually be pulled to the side of the road and have to work really hard to keep the bus steering straight ahead.
This all means that it’s important to have clarity about who you want to work with, and who and what you’re going to say “no” to (who’s not getting on the bus). We can be tempted to open the door to anyone who wants to work with us. It’s not easy to say “no.” Sometimes a potential client or partner seems to fit when it comes to achieving a similar goal… yet, there’s not that “click” you feel when you’re connected with your ideal partner. Your business is too important and your energy too precious to be sidetracked by relationships that feel like square pegs in round holes.
As introverts, it’s important that we be especially intentional in choosing who boards our bus. We do best when we connect with people who don’t sap our energy in every interaction. Some people, even though they are terrific and we love them, wear us out. Relationships are central to our business success. Make sure that everyone you choose to spend significant time with helps you gain, not drain, energy.
Think of it this way: your passengers form your tribe. Your tribe is made up of the people with whom you want to engage in conversation, create change and carry forth a message. I also think of the people I want on my bus as my chosen family. When I’m surrounded by smart, loving, motivated people, we’re all buoyed by the ease and flow that our collective energy creates. We genuinely like each other, believe in each other, respect and trust one another. Those are the people I want on my bus!
To consider: Who are the people on your bus right now? Who’s missing? Who should be dropped off at the next stop?