The “People” Component of a Successful Business

It’s a new year and with it come opportunities to better ourselves and our businesses. As a foundation for a more fulfilling and prosperous year, I’ve been developing my Five Ps of Business Success philosophy – about which you may have read previously – into a model for a business operating system. Profitability is necessary for the success of any business but is affected by a variety of factors, not all of which are strictly financial.

These factors, the “Five Ps,” are Product, Pricing, People, Process, and Planning. The Five Ps represent the precious resources that are critical to your company’s success, which must be kept in mind when creating your strategic plan, and be priorities and the object of your attention to move your company forward.

As you dive into a new year, all elements of the Five Ps come into play, but WHO dives in with you is at the heart of your success. Let’s take a close look at the “People” component of a successful business.

Highly effective business leaders often credit their success to the people with whom they’ve surrounded themselves. None of us can operate our business alone and having the “right people” on our team can mean the difference in struggling versus smooth operations where things seem to easily fall into place.

So who are the “right people” and what defines them?

The “right people” will first and foremost share the core values of your company. They will be a natural “fit” and thrive in your business culture. You’ll enjoy being around each other and they’ll make your organization better. Articulating your core values, starting with why you are in business, will help shape the qualities you’re looking for in the people who will support your company’s success.

Having the right people on board is a foundation for success, but they must also be in the “right seat.”   In other words, each employee’s roles and responsibilities should closely match his or her unique talents and abilities. When your people have the chance to bring their unique gifts and passions to their work they feel energized rather than drained, improvements come naturally, they feel valued, and their work creates value for their associates and the business. Having the right people in the right roles is a formula for a successful and thriving work environment.

As a leader you must articulate and delegate roles and responsibilities. But to maintain forward momentum your “right people” need to be able to run with the ball that’s been handed off to them. If they are in the right seat, that will happen. To evaluate whether that is the case, I’ll borrow from Gino Wickman, author of Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.

Wickman identifies three assets – which he refers to as GWC – that are present when people are in the right seat. These people get it, want it, and have the capacity to do it.

  • G = Get It. The people who “get it” truly understand the company’s culture, its systems and pace, their role, and how their job fits into the big picture.
  • W = Want It. The people who “want it” understand their roles, genuinely like their jobs, have a motivating spark for the work, and want to do it based on fair compensation and responsibility.
  • C = Capacity to Do It. “Capacity” includes having the level of intellect, skill, knowledge, emotional intelligence, physical ability, and time to do the job.

Wickman asserts that, even though you have the right person, they may not be in the right seat if any of these assets – GWC – are missing as they apply to the particulars of the job. When that’s the case, you may have to shift who’s in which seats. Or you may choose to invest time and money in the person to elevate their assets to the level needed to fill that seat.

When the right people are in the right seats there is a productive rhythm to your business and an absence of significant frustration and burn-out. Start by building or refining your leadership team and work your way down. In addition to the considerations mentioned above, ask yourself these questions as you’re evaluating the “People” component of your business.

  • What skills and behaviors are required?
  • What are the primary job responsibilities for the position?
  • Does the staff member engage the customer? If so, at what point?
  • What is your hiring process?
  • What is fair pay for the position?
  • What is your on-boarding and training process?
  • Do you hire fast and fire slow? Or, hire slow and fire fast?

As the former owner of a multi-million dollar company, I’m a CFO with a CEO perspective, which provides me with a unique understanding of the Five Ps of Business Success and how each contributes to a company’s overall financial picture. I’d welcome the opportunity to help you get the “right people” in the “right seats” and work with you to put the pieces of the business success puzzle together for your company.

Written by

Rick Arthur is a CFO whose expertise is built on Financial Intelligence and 35 years in senior financial roles. Coupled with a CEO’s perspective and the experience of building his own $20 million company, he brings a unique depth of insight into business from the top down. Wired to get to know people, Rick works hand-in-hand with business owners of intentional, growth-oriented companies, solidifying relationships as a trusted advisor and confidant to his clients. He leverages his experience to help business owners gain traction and stay laser-focused on the company’s vision, cash flow, and profitability – all while creating big picture solutions for strategic planning, growth and sustainable success.