While government contains a lot more complexity, bureaucracy and (hopefully) politics than business – no doubt the decisions on your people is very similar to any other company. This week our Prime Minister John Key took himself off his own bus, leaving on his own terms at his own time. People were in shock – but was it really as shocking as it was made out to be?
A metaphor for managing your people is often the bus analogy. James and I focus a huge amount of our time speaking and thinking about the people on our bus. Eleanor Roosevelt is attributed to have said ‘Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people’. Now while in some contexts this might be true. In business it’s certainly not true. A business is nothing without a group of people connected and working together toward a mutual goal and vision.
As leaders within the business it is our job to focus on our people because ultimately they determine our bus. They determine how fast it goes, what route it takes and where it stops. People can sometimes be on the wrong bus, or in other cases they are on the right bus but in the wrong seat, or they might be on the right bus at the wrong time. Let’s be honest – it’s pretty complicated.
So getting back to John Key, while I certainly can’t pretend to speak for him – I do understand where he is coming from. He has driven the bus for many years, he’s set the pace, planned the route and faced challenges and setbacks along the way. Cleary he has had a co-driver who has been carefully groomed to take over the bus upon his departure.
We should all take our hats off for his driving skills and his dedication to what no doubt has been a relentless job. There are very few people in this world who are cut out for the level of responsibility and scrutiny that comes with such a high level of accountability. So while his decision might seem surprising or spare of the moment. I sincerely doubt that to be true. Leaders spend years planning their path and it wouldn’t surprise me if this has been on his roadmap for quite some time.
Ultimately, John Key’s decision should serve as a reminder to all of us – you shouldn’t only make sure that you are on the right bus, but also have a clear understanding of how long that bus is right for you and when you’ve reached your final destination. Good news is that we love our bus and are looking forward to driving into 2017 and beyond.