Last night I had an interesting conversation with one of my daughters, a high school senior, about the “Good to Great Myth.”
I popped into her room after work to say hello and noticed she was reading Jim Collins book Good to Great. . .
I said, “Good to Great, huh…”
She said, “Yeah, it’s homework for my business class. Have you read it?”
I said, “Of course… What have you learned so far?”
She said, “Well, it seems like one of the key points is that a leader’s job is basically to find the right people, get them onto the bus, and get them in the right seats.”
I said, “Sure, but what are your thoughts? Do you think that’s a leader’s main job?”
She said, “Well, it says here: ‘If you have the right people on the bus, the problem of how to motivate and manage people largely goes away. The right people don’t need to be managed or fired up; they will be self-motivated by the inner drive to produce the best results.”
I said, “Very good. But there’s a problem with this theory: While it may have been true 20+ years ago, the world has changed a lot and it’s no longer relevant today. It’s just another management myth.”
She said, “Oh yeah, why is that?”
I said, “For starters, it’s virtually impossible to build an entire team or organization around these fully formed ‘A Players’ because they’re hard to find.”
She said, “Really? Why aren’t there many A Players?”
I said, “Because while companies continue to hunt for these elusive A Players paying recruiters tons of money to steal them away—most managers are busy recycling ‘B’ and ‘C’ players without much (if any) coaching or development.”
Then I clarified, “I wouldn’t necessarily say this theory is wrong; it’s just incomplete.”
She said, “What do you mean?”
I said, “Well, once you find the best people, get them onto the bus, and get them into the right seats—then what? In today’s hyper-competitive marketplace if employees don’t feel that they are being coached and developed they’ll quit and go to work for someone who will coach and develop them.”
Sensing that my window of opportunity was closing before she started tuning me out, I managed to sneak in one last nugget.
“Remember: Unlike mediocre managers, world-class leaders of high performance teams understand that their job isn’t done once you find the right people and get them into the right seats… For them, it’s just the beginning.”
“World-class leaders of high performance don’t obsess about the talent they don’t have. They focus on coaching, developing, and consistently getting the most out of the talent they do have.”
I paused as she sat quietly with this contemplative look on her face.
Then she said, “Dad, isn’t this what your Weekly Coaching Conversation book is about?”
I said, “It is, honey. And if Mrs. Moulden is interested in having your class read it, I’d be willing to give her one hell-of-a discount!:)”
P.S. True story, btw