In his book, Good To Great, Jim Collins presenting his finding that a key distinguisher for the companies that went from merely good to great performers in their market space was what he nicknamed “Level 5” leaders. These aren’t the flashy, flamboyant leaders we read about in the trade press. These are very focused leaders who surround themselves with good people and then consistently stay the course on what they are passionate about.
Too often we see companies changing CEO’s as a way of driving change, bringing in a new leader to solve their strategy and execution problems. The new CEO fires a lot of people, creates a new strategy, and the company has a temporary burst of energy and improved results. However, more often than not, once the dust settles, the company isn’t all that much better a performer, just different.
Surround yourself with good people.
Always prioritize job candidates with the best qualities over those with specific, relevant experience. You can always teach a good person specific things that they need to know to perform in the job, but you can’t teach them to be committed, passionate professionals who would consistently care about doing the best work they could. They may have a slightly longer learning curve, but the long term benefits will more than pay for that.
Gather the best team you can, even if you have to change the roles you had in mind, or create new roles. Then let that great team help you figure out how to make your operation produce outstanding results.
Apply this principle to your business network as well. Don’t just surround yourself with people who agree with you. Get connected to people who will serve as good mentors, who have skillsets you may be weak in, and who will ask you the probing questions that challenge you to do your personal best.
If you do this consistently, you will be quickly recognized as a strong leader.