My new friend David ended our interview for the iDisciple podcast by asking me this question . . .
“So, what’s the number one piece of advice you’d give leaders?”
I thought a quick minute, then I said . . .
“We are always people away from our objectives.”
Puzzled, he asked for an explanation.
I explained that no matter what you’re after, it takes people to get there. Whether it’s team members, helpers, lawyers, or leaders, there’s almost nothing one can accomplish by himself.
You think “Hey, I’m an individual performer . . . a freelancer or a coder. I work all alone.” True, but another person has to hire you, collaborate on your work, and accept your work product. Even the inventor working in his private shop will ultimately have to connect with other people if it’s to go anywhere. The isolated artist has to buy paint and food, interact with a delivery person or a doctor, and have the refrigerator fixed now and again. “No man is an island” is still true.
People are the most important asset in any organization. Good businesses focus on customers, employees, and stakeholders . . . in that order. You hear companies say “our customers come first,” but try giving good service through an unhappy employee. Suppliers, service technicians, delivery people . . . virtually every business or organization is dependent on its people for success.
That’s why the best organizations put people first. Even when there’s not a direct, immediate connection between a specific person and a specific goal, pouring into the people of the organization is the best long-term investment a business, school, hospital, government, or church can make.
Besides, people are the only thing (other than God’s Word) that go from this world to the next. Maybe that’s why Jesus was so clear about His greatest commandments in Luke 10:27 . . .
“He answered. ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
Question: Do you love things and use people? Or love people and use things? Will you put people first today? One at a time? No exceptions?