What's more important, the principle or the person?
I was in a fascinating discussion the other day with some university deans. I had just introduced them to my 7 Cs of Success (for more on them, go to the web page located at my site, http://www.tomvmorris.com/the7csofsuccess/. We were talking about successful individuals and organizations and what makes for their success, consulting the wisdom of the ages.
One of the deans asked something that posed an interesting question: What's most important, people or principles? In his well known book Good to Great, Jim Collins talks about the crucial importance of, in his favorite metaphor, getting the right people on the bus, and then getting them into the right seats. In the recent political election, I found myself reminding people over and over that you can vote for principles and policies only by voting for people you have good reason to think you can trust to implement those principles and policies. So, considering Collins and politics both, it can seem like principles have to take a back seat to people. If you want a great business or great team, hire the right people. Principles like the 7 Cs may be interesting, on this line of thought, but are never the most important.
It's an interesting line of thought. But my reply is that the people we deem to be best for our teams and organizations are precisely those individuals who have, however explicitly or intuitively, lived and worked in accordance with what I call The 7 Cs of Success, which crucially include a Character condition, from which trustworthiness grows. In the end, it's so important to have great people because those are the people who act in the right ways to attain proper success in any endeavor. Then, when we show them a framework of wisdom like The 7 Cs, we give them more of a perspective on what they've been doing and will need to do to retain the trajectory of their success in new challenges. The framework itself, in its universal comprehensiveness and logical inter-relations, will help us to take whatever we do to a next level.