So you’ve worked hard to make sure that the right people are on the bus.  With all the pressures of an organization like yours, how can you make the decision to move people from one seat on the bus to another?  Actually, this is a time when you cannot make any other decision…and still succeed.  Carl George was right when he said, "Leaders allocate the finite resources of the organization to the critical growth path."  There’s a lot in that statement.  First, only leaders are able to make the right call.   Hesitation, second guessing, and blinking in the face of confrontation…is not the realm of leadership.

Second, resources are always finite.  Whether you’re talking about funding or the right people, they’re always in limited supply.  It’s a zero sum game.

Last, there really is a single critical growth path.  That is not an overstatement.

Tough spot isn’t it?  That’s why it’s called leadership.

The Critical Growth Path
  • is it really a “zero sum game”? is there really even such a thing?
    particularly when we’re dealing with people, i think we always have the potential to produce resources by investing in people for growth and multiplication…
    i don’t disagree that “leadership” is difficult, but i wonder if the “zero sum” assumption holds us back sometimes?

  • Hmmmm. It may be semantics, but what I mean by a “zero sum” game is that you can only spend the resource on one thing. Yes, in the case of people you have a lifetime to invest. But at any moment in your organization’s existence and effort, that one person’s talent can only be spent one time. In other words, they have a finite capacity. When they’re sitting in the wrong seat on your bus (their choice or yours) and spending their finite capacity on a project that isn’t the one that leads to the critical growth path…well, it’s a zero sum game. Not that you can’t recruit and develop other players, but that every one of the players you do recruit has a kind of capacity that must be invested in the right effort for maximum return.
    Does that make more sense?