There’s a very interesting manifesto titled “The Talent Myth” published at ChangeThis by Malcolm Gladwell, author of The Tipping Point. His basic argument is that when it comes to businesses, individual smarts may not be as important as having smart systems. His chief example is that of Enron, which is a company that went with the “promote genius individuals at all costs” method.
This is a point I’ve been making for a couple years now about small businesses, church organizations and professional service firms. For a one person outfit, genius and talent are key. The larger an organization gets, though, the more important process and systems become. Both from the point of view of marketing and other business functions, and from the point of view of how you work with your members. Working together well is more important than having a couple stars on the team.
The great thing about good marketing systems is that they will survive the loss of any given person or administration, too. If you rely on the personality of a “rain maker” to bring in all your new members, what will you do when he/she leaves? You will go thirsty. But if you develop and document effective programs, you’ll be able to continue refining and perfecting them throughout the tenure of many different leaders.