Building A Great Organization

group of people in an office talking and laughing

Finding the right people to lead your company is vital to helping your firm weather any market.

In every organization, you have a hard worker, a likable, efficient person on your leadership team that you have nagging doubts about. However, you prefer to push those thoughts away. After all, you tell yourself, they work hard, and everyone likes them. Great, you’ve got someone who fits your culture, but your brokerage can’t truly get ahead until you position that person in the right seat on the bus.

I see this quite frequently at brokerages who struggled through the down market thanks to employees who stuck by them—maybe even took a pay cut. The employee wore multiple hats; after all, brokerages were barely getting by. They didn’t have money to hire, so the people in the office took on more responsibility, and now you’re loyal to them.

No one can predict the changes that will come our way in the industry. But, you can build a team that is ready to capitalize on those changes. According to the book, Good to Great, “The good-to-great leaders understood three simple truths. First, if you begin with “who,” rather than “what,” you can more easily adapt to a changing world. If people join the bus primarily because of where it is going, what happens if you get ten miles down the road and you need to change direction? You’ve got a problem. But if people are on the bus because of who else is on the bus, then it’s much easier to change direction.”

Take a good look at the people who make up your leadership team and support staff. Chances are you know the people who aren’t in the right seats. The only way to truly market proof your business is to analyze the strengths and weaknesses of all leaders to ensure they are adaptable and can bring your business to the next level, no matter what changes are thrown their way.


First Who, Then What—get the right people on the bus—is a concept developed in the book Good to Great, by Jim Collins. Those who build great organizations make sure they have the right people on the bus and the right people in the key seats before they figure out where to drive the bus. They always think first about who and then about what. When facing chaos and uncertainty, and you cannot possibly predict what’s coming around the corner, your best strategy is to have a busload of people who can adapt to and perform brilliantly no matter what happens next. Great vision without great people is irrelevant.


This article originally appeared in the November 2019 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter. It is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends, Inc. Copyright © 2019. To read the rest of this issue & more, please visit our Real Trends page online.


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