How to choose between good ideas and good people
I recently created a poll asking what was more valuable: good ideas or good people? Obviously, a good company would be able to produce both of these. However, what if you were forced to choose just one, which would you choose?
Okay, you caught me. You have probably sniffed out the false dichotomy by now. The answer to this question is quite simple: ideas come from people. Consequently, the most valuable is always good people, for good people will produce good ideas.
This seems simple enough, but many of us get caught at this intersection. We think of ideas as singular entities that float through space waiting to be grabbed out of thin air and put into practice by any average joe. Ideas are not singular; ideas are hammered out though thousands of conversations and decisions made by creative people.
"This is true of products in general," says Ed Catmull, President of Disney and Pixar Animation, "the iPhone, for example, is not a singular idea-there is a mind-boggling depth to the hardware and software that supports it. Yet too often, we see a single object and think of it as an island that exists apart and unto itself."
To state this another way, put your energy into people. Are they maintaining healthy work habits? Are they being encouraged to use their talents to their fullest ability? Have you created an atmosphere where people don't fear failure? Does your team feel valued by you? You cannot always control the direction of vitality of ideas, but you can manage the culture of your people.
People are the most important asset to your business or church. If they create the products, package the products, or purchase the products, it all revolves around people, not ideas. Invest in your people; invest in your team. What you will find when you do this is that a healthy team generates a healthy flow of ideas and innovation.