This book has been floating around my “must read” lists for years now. Finding a copy available at my favorite library was just enough to sway me to reading it. The book itself is short so I’m not sure if summarizing it in a review would do anyone any good. Instead I’ve decided to pull out a few things that resonated with me.
The Bus Analogy
I’ve heard this one time and time again. The advice being that you have to know WHO is on the bus before you can decide WHERE the bus is going. I’ve had trouble with this one. To some extent I’ve seen this play out well and I’ve certainly considered it when hiring people. It does make me wonder though, does this advice get abused? I’ve seen nepotism play out at more than one company, and I know of plenty of jobs where someone was hired without an interview because they were trusted in some way. I’ve seen people who at first glance, are terrible hires, yet they turn into fantastic employees. Who can say that how you know someone personally will carry over to their work professionally?
Great Individuals vs Great Companies
This was an interesting topic to me because one of the things I started to dislike about myself as I moved up the corporate ladder in previous jobs was my growing ego. It made me reflect on my career so far and realize that when I was able to put my ego aside I made my biggest advancements. These usually came first for the company then followed by personal success. In western culture the idea of a great person is idolized, but deep down it’s a great team that makes long-term success. And this point plays into the next bit…
Hiring Outside Talent vs Promoting From Within
I had always had a gut feeling that promoting from within was the best way to have good leaders in a company. For someone to remain with a company for years it shows an immense sense of loyalty and respect. This is certainly the kind of person who has put their ego aside for the greater good. Additionally, they know the company, how it works, how to get things done, and they have the interpersonal connections to motivate their coworkers. It was no surprise to me that Jim Collins’ data showed that promoting leadership from within a company lead to great companies more than hiring outside talent.
Obviously, there is a lot more to the book than what I have mentioned here. As with any good business book you can only absorb just so many pointers per reading. Being that this was such a short book, I expect I’ll be revisiting it again every year or so to check back in with how I am moving myself from good to great.