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It’s the people. It’s the people. It’s the people.

A few moth’s ago I wrote a post titled Your People Have To Be Your #1 Priority. In that post I referenced a blog post from Seth Godin titled, Krulak’s law , where he wrote:

The experience people have with your brand is in the hands of the person you pay the least.

Act accordingly.

(This involves training, trust, responsibility, leadership, dignity, authority, management and investment. It mostly means seeing the front-line people in your organization as priceless assets, not cheap cogs.)

In a recent episode of the podcast No Turning Back, Stanley McCrystal and Chris Fussell interviewed Sam Kennedy, the President and CEO of the Boston Red Sox. At one point in the interview they were talking about stewardship of a brand (part of Being a Good Ancestor) and Chris Fussell asked Kennedy about how he thought about the “center of gravity” of the Boston Red Sox. Fussell, a former Navy SEAL officer, explained, “Center of Gravity was a term we used in the military when we were trying to pick apart a complex problem whether it is an adversary or understanding yourself, and determining what is the center of gravity that holds this thing together and then we can build a plan around that insight.” Fussell asked if the center of gravity for an organization like the Red Sox was the legacy of the team, or the players in the franchise or something else. Many would assume it is the roster of players who get paid millions of dollars. Kennedy however, explained, “It is absolutely the people. The people on the frontline in the ballpark the day of the game. The day of game people who take tickets, the security, the ushers, the grounds crew, and the parking lot attendants.” He went on to explain, “The frontline of Fenway Park, they are the individuals who represent and create the very good, warm, friendly feeling towards our customers, and our players, and their families and the visiting players, the media that comes in, and the visiting media. The experience you have at Fenway Park is driven 100% by the people. So I think the people are our center of gravity.”

At the end of his interview on the Changing Discourse podcast and the end of his TEDx talk Chad Ford shared the following Maori proverb:

He aha te mea nui o te ao
What is the most important thing in the world?
He tangata, he tangata, he tangata
It is the people, it is the people, it is the people

As a leader always remember, “it is the people, it is the people, it is the people” and your job is to lead, serve and develop the people. Let the light shine on the people. Make your people the hero, and stay in the background as the wise and humble mentor.

The people on the frontline of your organization are the face and the future of your organization. Make them a priority, show appreciation to them for the work they do, find out how you can best serve them and then strive to be the leader they deserve.

Remember that leadership is a choice and a journey and it starts with you. Choose well, keep learning and enjoy the journey. The Dare to Be Great: Strategies for Creating a Culture of Leading online workshop was created for aspiring leaders and frontline leaders to help you on your leadership journey.

Brian Willis