Who’s On Your Bus?

March 31, 2021

You probably never planned on being a bus driver, did you? Me neither.

Think about it. If you own your own business, it’s kind of like being a bus driver. You have to keep the bus moving and going in the right direction. You’re responsible to make sure the bus and all your passengers get safely to the right destination.

The key to success – according to Jim Collins, author of Good to Great – is having the right people on the bus with you. Along the way you might need a mechanic, a navigator, a peacemaker or a relief driver. If you’re missing one of these vital people, it can slow you down, take you off course, or stop you in your tracks.

Having the right people on the bus can make the ride smooth and pleasant, but having someone who doesn’t fit can be a miserable proposition for everyone. It can cost you time and money and prevent you from reaching the destination – serving your customer better than your competition with maximum profits.

It’s not enough to have the right people on the bus. They also have to be sitting in the right seats.  The right people are the ones who:

  • Share and support your company’s values,
  • Have a strong sense of ownership for their area of responsibility,
  • Possess high-level skills in their field of expertise,
  • Communicate clearly, and
  • Adapt easily.

Once you know you have the right people on the bus, it’s also important to make sure that they are in the right seats. Ask yourself these questions to make sure your team is sitting in the right seats:

  • Are all of the key seats filled?
  • Are people assigned to the roles that best match their skills?
  • Does the team mesh and work effectively together?
  • Could a person move to another seat if necessary?

If things are not going well, ask yourself first if the person meets the criteria for being on the bus, then examine if a change of seat might make an improvement. If the answer to both questions is “no,” take action to get the person off the bus as quickly and compassionately as possible.

As conditions or destinations change, the mix of people on the bus may need to change. The best bus drivers (and business owners) make sure the ride is smooth and successful by constantly making sure that they have the right people on the bus and that they are sitting in the right seats.

You might not have planned to be a bus driver, but now that you are….

Go forth and do great things,

Martha & Chris