People are still – and will always be #1.

Many of you are familiar with my interest in the Corner Office articles appearing in the New York Times on a regular basis. These articles, by Adam Bryant, focus on varying approaches taken by CEOs to lead their organizations.

A recent interview with Fuse founder, Bill Carter, reminds me of two critical variables that are easily lost in our haste to always move to the next issue. First, above all, having the best people is the only antidote to business mediocrity. I’ve said it time and again, and virtually everyone knows this deep down (but very few put it into practice) …  that the organization that excels identifies the best people, makes certain they are properly rewarded, and never stops looking for top talent. In some ways, this is analogous to the Jack Welch process of weeding out the bottom 10% of under-performing employees every year.

Carter also emphasizes the importance of being with the people in your organization rather than being holed up in your office. He recounts how so many of us tend to burrow into our offices when we’re not traveling, focusing on what we need to get done. Instead, we should be taking that opportunity to talk with our people and learn about how well we’re doing communicating our goals and objectives. This is in the same family as my favorite MBWA mantra — Management by Walking Around — but it’s vitally important to keep your finger on the pulse of your business.

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