The people, stupid!

Just like James Carville’s famous reminder about the economy to his candidate in the 1992 presidential campaign, this phrase flashes in my brain whenever I realize I am getting too bogged down in less important stuff.

I remember a situation from years ago when a team of us were analyzing mall-based store performance.  We were trying to find the magic answer as to why some stores were doing very well and others were not.  We looked at every  possible variable – mall shopper traffic, income demographics of shoppers, store location in the mall, mall anchor stores, in-line vs. kiosk format, etc.  No matter how we sliced the data, we could not find a consistent correlation between any variable and positive store results.  So, we started to talk through each of the stores.  We decided the top performing store was an outlier in our analysis since that location had such an outstanding main salesperson.  We decided the same for the second best store, and then the third.  Voila!  Our magic answer was revealed!

We’ll leave the issue of “nature” vs. “nurture” as the key driver behind good people for another discussion.  Let it suffice to say for this discussion that having good people (or not-so-good people!) trumps most other variables when it comes to driving success for our businesses.  If you have caring, responsible, focused people, you probably have a team that will figure out how to deliver positive results.


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