Opt 6 Sept 7

What makes a successful business? Is it vision; is it strategy, or ??

Geoff Smart and Randy Street, authors of the book Who, make a compelling case for the value of management talent as the #1 determinant of business success. In their interviews of 400 CEOs and business leaders, they found that 52% rated talent as #1, followed by 20% for execution, 17% for strategy and the good news, only 11% for external factors.

Additionally, in the research they did with the University of Chicago in 2007, they found that the CEOs who make money for investors are those that have both high EQ (Lambs) and work hard, are persistent, set high standards and hold people accountable (Cheetahs). And surprisingly to some and somewhat controversially, those that accentuate their Cheetah skills were successful 100% of the time.

So, does this mean that we, as leaders, should abandon vision and strategy altogether, hire great people, set high standards, hold them accountable and we are done?

Not so simple in my experience. What I observe is great people want to work for great companies. And, great companies not only have high standards and hold people accountable, i.e. operational excellence, they also can answer Simon Sinek’s, “Why?”.

So, yes, hire great people, and give them and your customers a reason to want to work for you and do business with you.


Elisa K. Spain



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