This past month, I’ve been noticing the importance of an extremely key element in making the leap from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
Whilst coaching a few clients through enormous changes. Changes which they are bravely making in pursuit of their world impacting dreams, I have noticed a piece of the puzzle which seems to be many times the hardest piece to have to place but perhaps the most important.
This piece in the puzzle is having the right people with you, around you and supporting you. Jim Collins puts it, in his book Good to Great, ‘having the right people on the bus’.
From thousands of hours of research Collins and his team did on how companies outperformed their competitors, one big difference in their approach was how they dealt with people. CEO’s of these outstanding companies, firstly concentrated on sifting through management, keeping all the best leaders and getting rid of ones that did not show potential. They would then spend time ensuring these handpicked leaders were in the best positions to play to their strengths. The unusual piece to their approach is that they made sure they had the right people BEFORE they decided what they would be doing exactly. In other words they decided on getting the right people on the bus, before deciding on where the bus was going. So vision and strategy was not fully developed until the leadership team was in place. The assumption being that these leaders would help develop the vision. This was in companies where there was already momentum of some kind in place, so some kind of vision and something built. This approach is totally counter cultural to the way most companies think and counter cultural to the way most of us think in our lives. I propose that to some degree we can consider this approach not only in our organizations and leadership but also in our lives.
What I have been seeing in various client’s lives and business situations is when personal growth happens, a life vision is created and a plan devised to change the world in a way that only they can; not having the ‘right people on the bus’, so to speak, severely limits potential. How amazing is it for people to finally find their heart and passion, but it’s very soon apparent that we can only get so far on our own.
Having the right people around you working with you, supporting you, championing you and helping you to grow and shape your vision enables you to reach your fullest potential. This seems to be a vital component of success as we pursue our big dreams and take big risks moving towards a vision which is beyond the ordinary. This could look like having the best leadership in place in your business or it could look like having the right people supporting you as a friend, a mentor, a coach, or a champion of some kind. I’ve seen time and time again the results of this. Clients have gone from being completely stuck to being re-inspired and motivated and propelled ahead, once starting a course of coaching or when key partnerships and friendships come along that they need. We have all heard thay common reason stated as to why a teenager made poor life decisions, ‘they got in with the wrong crowd’.
So, if our potential is so linked to who is in ‘our crowd’, what can we do to build this foundational building block? Do we perhaps need to consider the ‘who questions’ before or at least alongside the ‘what questions’? What could our dreams and our vision look like with the right people on the bus, strong visionaries riding with us?
Many times when people are in the process of making significant changes, one of the difficult areas I see that can hold them back is existing relationships. Sometimes friends or family cannot understand big vision and cannot accept the way you are changing and growing. I see people getting discouraged and sometimes losing the vision all together when they hear enough resistance and objection to it. Whether you are dealing with this problem or not, it is vital to have people alongside you who see the same level of potential and more that you. Look for people who are willing and able to commit for the long-term to run alongside you, encouraging you and doing whatever is necessary to meet the challenges along the way. People, who will not see difficulty as a sign of giving up, people who will show tenacity and belief. People who will catch your vision and add to it and grow it and make it their own. In fact realizing from the beginning that your vision will be shaped, changed, improved and grown by having those right people on your bus is healthy. It’s allowing yourself to lead something that will be bigger than you.
These champions to your cause must be strong enough to disagree and challenge you along the way. Not people who challenge you insinuating that you are slightly crazy in pursuing something too big or risky! Rather people that are challenging you in the interests of finding the best way forward. People who are challenging you to realize the future potential of the ever growing and expanding vision. Most of all, these are to be the people with whom you have the most fun with. People who make the journey more fulfilling. Having your dream grown and shaped by people you invite onto your bus, which you can love and respect, will result in a fun life no matter where the bus goes.
So how are you doing? How full is your bus? Is there anyone on your bus who needs to get off at the next stop? How many seats on your bus are full? Is there anyone on your bus in the wrong seat? Which seats still need filling?