I just taught a series of business success seminars to about 300 entrepreneurs in Amsterdam and wanted to send a super special “Thank You” video to my hosts and the attendees on what I felt were a few of the MOST important things to focus on in order to run a highly successful organization. Once I finished the video I thought the information was so powerful that I decided to post it here on my blog for all of my followers to benefit from. I truly hope you find this video of great value and I challenge you to take at least one or two key ideas and begin implementing them right away.
I was talking to a good friend of mine, Bob Fetterman, who is the manager of the performing arts center at our local college, when he turned me and said, “In one word, what is the most important thing in business?”
I thought about it for just a few seconds and then confidently answer, “Talent.” Bob looked back at me and said, “It’s the same in the theater.”
The truth of the matter is it’s the same in just about every organization. If you’ve done a truly good job of finding highly talented people you have built the foundation for a sustainably successful organization. Because no matter what’s wrong in your business; if you have great people they can figure out a way to fix it. On the other side of the coin, no matter what’s wrong in your business, if you have bad people they will make it worse.
In the class I teach on strategy at Wharton I tell my students that we are entering an era where there is very little opportunity to create sustainable competitive advantage. Your competitor can copy your products, they can put a location right across the street, they can spend ten times what you do on marketing, they can drop their price, they can offer free shipping, they can do lots of different things to try to win in the marketplace, but if you have superior talent, your people will figure out how to win against the competition. To me, two of the only sustainable competitive advantages left to most businesses are:
The quality of the people that you can get, grow and keep on your team
The relationships they create with your customers
Which means that talent acquisition, talent development and talent retention should be a major strategic imperative in your business. In addition, you will need to create a winning culture of highly engaged, satisfied and loyal employees who are fanatical about delivering only the highest quality products and services and having only superior customer relationships and will tolerate nothing less.
Years ago I had lunch with a gentleman who built his business from one acre on the edge of a dairy farm, to a multibillion-dollar enterprise and I asked him what he felt the most important thing in running a successful business, he didn’t hesitate, he looked at me and said, “John, you can kid yourself about a lot of things in business but at the end of the day it’s always people, people, people.”
It has long been one of my core themes:
The success of your business is directly tied to the quality of the talent you can get, grow and keep on your team.
Think about this carefully, it’s a simple but extremely important business idea. If you agree with me, then you should be approaching talent acquisition, talent developemtn and talent retention as a key strategic objective in your company. Here is a video that outlines the six most important things that top talent looks for in the company where they work. I hope you find this helpful and that you share with your network – thanks so much – John
Last week I got an e-mail from one of my most treasured friends and professional colleagues, Hirofumi Leung – or as everybody calls him: Hiro. I met Hiro years ago when he was just graduating college and told me he was about to start a sushi restaurant in the most expensive building in our town. I was extremely skeptical that this “kid” would ever follow through on his wild scheme, but am happy to report that nearly 10 years later his restaurant: “Dragonfly Sushi & Sake Company” has won numerous awards and he has become one of the most respected restaurateurs in this area of Florida. I have enjoyed a long relationship as a mentor and friend to Hiro and he often asks me for input, suggestions and ideas. Here is the e-mail that I received from him asking for some help in preparing for an upcoming talk he had been asked to give on creativity in entrepreneurship... Continue reading “Some Ideas on Creativity and Failure” »