Julie Andrews, and Rogers and Hammerstein, had it right in the Sound of Music.  Forgive me for bringing up this well worn musical.  The idea of starting at the beginning seems to be lost.  To remind you of the words from the song:

  • When you count you start with 1,2,3  (won’t work when you start with calculus problems)
  • When you read you start with A, B, C (won’t work starting with Tolstoy’s War and Peace)
  • When you sing you start with Do, Re, Mi (won’t work starting with arias from La Boheme)

The starting point or beginning to improving things isn’t as easy to determine as Julie leads us to believe.  But it always starts closer to the people , their experiences, and their talents than it does with the vision and desired outcome, not matter how noble or glorious the the vision and outcome is.

Yes one needs a vision, a BHAG, a sexy strategic plan.

But it will be built on the skills, talents and experience of the people on your front lines.  Vision, strategy, BHAGs, Brand Promises have to be translated to the front line.

The front line may have it all wrong, but to change them you have start with them.

When building an organization, or fixing one, or improving one.  Julie has it right.  You have to start at the very beginning and the beginning is the people.  Start there.

“When you start to grow you start with the people”