Put Yourself in the Position to be the Best

Jim Williams
Jan 24, 2024

On a recent The Getting Thru Podcast I was lucky enough to have a good friend, small business owner and professor on and we got to talking about talent and people; he had an amazing quote that I want to base this month’s blog post on…

“Put yourself in a position to be the best at what you do. It doesn’t matter what you do, just put yourself in a position to be the best at it”. ~ Todd Wottring

The context of our discussion was the mindset of the college student today and advice he finds himself sharing with them as they chart their education and their future employment opportunities. In my view it is outstanding advice as it helps his students to focus on what they are really good at which is likely what they love doing.

Leading and managing talent in an organization is the single highest value activity there is. If you run a business, on your own or in a large company you will only be as good for your customers as your employees are for you.

When it comes to talent, I have often used the metaphor of people on a bus. In many of the roles I have been in over the last 15 or so years it has involved either leading a team in turning around a poor performing business or playing a leadership role in a large business transformation, where we were charged with large scale change impacting people, customers, end to end business processes and technology. Often in these types of scenarios, you would hear things like “some people won’t make it”. While that may have been true, I have found that with the right leadership in most cases you can change people, not just change them out. This is where the bus comes in, key is to find the right seats for your people to be in.

This is what I loved about Todd’s point of view. In my mind when you have people doing what they LOVE doing the outcome is far more likely to be positive. This perspective allows you as an individual to position yourself “on the bus, in the right seat” for you which will drive maximum value for the organization.

As I think about my career over the last 30 years, I have spent most of my doing what I love, leading people to become the very best version of themselves. At times I have been highly successful at that and in some cases not so much. As I look back at those periods of great success it was when we as a team had defined, together what success looked like and then went after it, together. It was truly a “one team, with one goal” mentality. At times that I wasn’t as successful I had failed as the leader to create the circumstances for that mentality to perpetuate. The reasons for that generally came down to topics I discuss on my The Getting Thru Podcast, blog posts like this and on other social media content…

1. Mindset issues on my part.

2. Poor Talent Decisions on my part.

3. Lack of purposeful engagement behaviors, modeled and led by me.

4. Failure to consistently align my teams on our strategy and the behaviors needed to deliver it.

5. Not measuring what truly mattered and facilitating a one team with one goal mindset.

Leaders are made. They are not born, and they certainly aren’t a leader based on the title they hold. I think a leader takes a diverse group of people, appreciates them for who they are and then positions them to be the absolute best at what they do to achieve an outcome they are all committed to delivering. As Todd said, getting people in a position to do what they are great at is where they want and you want them to be.

Lead and Inspire On!

~ Jim