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Arranging the Passengers on the Bus

(and why it makes me sick).

Recently at work, I had to look in the eyes of someone and tell her she could no longer be part of our team. Her final day would be in two weeks. She looked back, unblinking, almost uncomprehending, and then her large, brown eyes began to well with tears.

Her friends on the team felt hurt by the decision. The farewell party, despite the fancy cake, was visibly strained.

Meanwhile, I was reading Good to Great (HarperBusiness, 2001), in which Jim Collins explains the traits of leaders who transform good organizations into great ones. "We expected that good-to-great leaders would begin by setting a new vision and strategy," he writes. "We found instead that they first got the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seat—and then they figured out where to drive it."

Makes eminent sense: If you get the right people, in the right seats, then you and they will be able to figure out where to take the organization. Once you've heard, "First, get ...

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