n his powerful book, “Good To Great”, Jim Collins emphatically declares that “people are not the greatest need for an organization, the right people are”. That’s my paraphrase. The message is clear and simple. “The right people” come about as a result of the “right connections”. Further in on the book, Collins gives an analogy of the organization being a bus. He says that the very first thing that needs to be done is to stop the bus from moving. Get the bad people out of it, make sure that you have the right seats and then put the right people in the right seats. Once that is done, then you decide where you want the bus to go!
Good to great is not a book published because of some theory. It was a book that came out of years, in fact, decades, of research of great companies as compared to average ones. From this message, Jim Collins is telling us that above vision, systems and processes as well as resources, connections are the most important part. I am so sure that your boss will want you to know just that. This is not some theory, this is needed practically. In the previous posts, we have determined that your boss would love you to know the following about connections.
Today, let’s discuss one more thing that your boss wants you to know about connections.
You can have systems in place, resources, buildings, machinery and all the assets you can gather. However, if there are no connections, all those things are phantoms. They are skeletons. They are “whitewashed tombs” so to speak. It is connections that bring these things to life and make them to work. It is connections that cause the very purpose of the existence of the organization to be rallied and realized. In other words, if your organization is to achieve anything, if your organization is to scale its purpose to fruition, it will never do it without the power of connections. Your boss, I am so sure would want you to have this message psychologically embedded in you. It is something that probably you might not be trained on. However, when they are making selection of the “right people” to steer the “bus” wherever they want it to go, those with this knowledge will be the “right people”.
There are scores of organizations with great vision. In fact, several African countries have always had some vision or another. We have had vision 2030, vision 2040 and so on. I can tell you one emphatic thing: without the right connections, that vision will be as hollow as anything. There is no way that a country or an organization will achieve their vision without connections. Connections, like I have indicated are the conduits through which the vision is achieved. This is done in the following ways:
Remember the analogy of getting people on the bus? Aha. That happens a lot. Recruiting someone into an organization is not necessarily a guarantee that they will end up being a conduit of relevance to the purpose of the organization. People have different things that they are looking for. That is why some graduates will say, “just give me any job”. They are looking for sustenance. They are looking out for themselves. Nevertheless, that is where these connections begin. Your boss is pretty much aware about this and is under no illusion that you will fall in love with the organization at this stage.
When people are given job descriptions, they get functionally connected to their work and by extension, to the organization. These types of connections cause people to find some meaning, some certainty and some avenue through which they can contribute. Your boss is really desiring that you will not only get monetary gain as an employee, but you will also get psychic gain from it. This means that you will love and enjoy doing what you are doing. Your boss does not just want you to show up and get paid. A progressive boss wants you to know the importance of finding meaning in what you are doing. Such a boss is OK if you get something better to do than work for them.
As you keep on working, something else happens. You individually get personally connected to the vision or the purpose of the company. This is a rarity though, but when it does happen, you get passionate people. Your boss is always dreaming for this kind of a connection. She knows pretty well thought that it is a rare thing to happen. However, it does happen. When people are emotionally attached to wha their company stands for, that is one of the most powerful connections in the world.
As it goes on, the individual people who got connected to the vision of the company now get connected one to another for the mere fact that they share an emotional attachment to the cause of the organization. The easiest example is religion. In the business world, the easiest example is Apple. When more than one person is emotionally connected to the vision and purpose of the organization, that is when those connections become the authentic conduits through which the organization will realize its vision. It is a beautiful thing to watch.
When all is said and done though, you can easily trace the downfall or the wavering of any organization to any form of disconnection especially in the four facets mentioned above. All in all your boss would like you to know that the realization of the company’s main objectives is done through the conduit of connections within the company first.