Brain Food

March 25, 2017

Why, in Business, People Trump Strategy

Good to Great, by Jim Collins




You probably know that, to execute a strategy successfully, a company needs the right people. But, for some companies, the entire strategy is people.

For instance, in 1966, Dick Cooley took over as the CEO of the bank Wells Fargo. At the time, a major change loomed on the horizon: the deregulation of the banking industry. Cooley knew he couldn’t possibly predict the major changes and turbulence that this would create. So how on earth could he ensure success?

With the right people, a business can weather any storm

Cooley’s solution was people. He reasoned that, by finding the best and brightest minds, his company would find a way to prevail, no matter what curveballs it faced.

The result?

The company prospered in the new business environment and Warren Buffett subsequently called Wells Fargo’s executives “The best management team in business.”

But Cooley was not alone in his views. Focusing on finding great people is an obsession at many successful companies. Such companies tend to hire good people immediately upon finding them, even if no position is vacant. The reasoning is that people with the right character and drive can always be trained and educated to do anything successfully, whereas people without these attributes will never change, no matter how much training they get.

Discover other secrets of great companies – including what hedgehogs have to do with success – in the blinks for Good to Great, by Jim Collins