The People on the Bus

The People on the Bus

I am hoping to start a preschool co-op in my new hometown. Right now, my key challenge with this start-up is finding the right people.

To me, it doesn’t really matter WHAT we do exactly. It’s about finding a group of people that we like, who like us, who we can spend some regular time with each week.

Once we gather a group of people, we can work out the details: activities, curriculum, location, day, time.

Whenever you start something new, it’s important to have the right people.

Or, whenever you want to expand that good thing you’re already doing, you have to have great people in place.

Ideas aren’t enough. When my husband and I started a new church, people would come to us with a lot of great ideas for new programs. But we had decided in advance that we would not start anything else unless we had the people in place to carry out the ideas. So, our first question when someone came to us with a new idea was always “Who can do this?”

At the time, I had never heard of Packard’s law. Maybe you’ve never heard of it either. Here it is, simply: in order for an organization to grow and thrive, it needs to have personnel in place to support the growth. Jim Collins explains it well in How the Mighty Fall.

No company can consistently grow revenues faster than its ability to get
enough of the right people to implement that growth and still become a
great company. [And] If a company consistently grows revenue faster than
its ability to get enough of the right people to implement that growth,
it will not simply stagnate; it will fall.

In an interview with Fast Company in 2001, Jim Collins said “If I were running a company today, I would have one priority above all others: to acquire as many of the best people as I could.” It’s timeless advice, really. You can’t do anything within your organization if you don’t have people in place to do it.

Whether you’re planning a preschool co-op, with a half dozen families, like I am, or starting a multinational corporation, the same law applies. Get the right people on the bus first.

Join the conversation!

What do you do to ensure that you have the people in place in your organization before you expand or start new initiatives?

What happens when organizations don’t follow Packard’s law? Have you experienced this first-hand?

This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is reposted with permission. 

About Becky Robinson

I am the owner of Weaving Influence and the leader of the Weaving Influence team. We help authors and thought leaders grow their online influence. I am also a wife and mom of three daughters, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, a good cup of coffee, and dark chocolate.

Share This Article

What People Are Saying

  • So true. It always comes down to available resources and people are the most valuable resource.
    It is better to have slow, sustainable growth than to expand beyond one’s abilities.
    Good luck on the coop.

  • Good post. I think we over-emphasis Collin’s right people on the bus statement and under-emphasis his follow up: find the right seats. If you don’t include the second statement, you end up on a meaningless chase for talent, which recent research is proving useless. Instead, I think Collins’ means to find the right people for the specific task at hand, more a matter of qualifications. Sure he says get the right people on first, figure out the seats later…but its doubtful most of those organizations starter to see increases in performance until those people were in the right seats. Everyone DOES have to be seated and buckled before takeoff.

  • I do have a questions… It all seems right and there is value in all said, however… We are running a non profit organization in South Africa where each staff member is actually a volunteer as they need to raise their own support. None are given a salary and therefore it is difficult to get staff willing to work under these conditions. We have found that whenever we wanted to start something new, very little interest came until we have taken some steps into making it happen. Our experience has shown that people connect to things that are working. We always have to start it, with or without available people, and we always get people along the way willing to become part and then eventually take responsibility for it…
    So my question is, How does the Packard’s law apply to our experience?

Leave a Comment

We use cookies to give you the best possible experience on our website. Learn more.

Sign up to receive practical tools and insights for marketing your book