Welcome to the Summer Camp Leadership blog. For those of us who lead summer camps, making a positive difference in the lives of young people is our passion. Turning that passion into a reality, however, takes more than the ability to lead songs, teach archery or plan craft projects. Creating camp experiences that truly transform lives takes leadership. Leadership that creates a vision for the future, leadership that inspires and engages others, leadership that remains focused and stays the course. My hope is through this blog you'll find ideas, inspiration and tools to help you be a great summer camp leader.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Who's on Your Bus?

This week I revisited one of the most influential management books of the last decade, Jim Collins' Good to Great. The book was the result of research to identify the characteristics of companies that made the leap from good to great and then sustained that greatness for at least 15 years.

One of the key characteristics of the great organizations is what Collins referred to as "First Who...Then What." Exceptional organizations start by finding the right people. They seek out people who have the knowledge, skills and motivation that fits the needs of the organizations. These organizations work to build deep, strong leadership teams. They believe it's essential to have the right people on board to help create the vision and develop the strategies to give direction to the organization. 

In the organizations that didn't move from good to great, direction preceded staffing. The leader(s) crafted a vision and developed strategies, with limited input from others. They then recruited people (often of limited capability) to help them make that vision a reality. This approach, referred to as "Genius with a Thousand Helpers," rarely led to greatness.

As Collins says the "good to great did not figure out where to drive the bus and then get people to take it there. No, they first got the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figured out where to drive it. "