A Relationship Story
Which is More Valuable: Great Ideas or Great People?


The chicken and the egg.  Which must come first to create great success?  It is easy to argue either way.  Are great ideas more likely to make people great or will great people more likely make great ideas happen?

How can any company succeed without a killer idea?  It’s hard to believe that is possible.  On the other hand, a company that is satisfied with B players is also destined to fail, isn’t it?  This is quite the quandary and I expect it could fuel a fantastic debate.

In the amazing book by Ed Catmull, Creativity, Inc., he describes the special culture of Pixar and his philosophy on successfully leading creative people.  He has a very strong opinion about our question:

“If you give a great idea to a mediocre team, they will screw it up.  If you give a mediocre idea to a great team, they will either fix it or come up with something better.”

The wildly successful Pixar story suggests that getting the team right is the necessary precursor to getting the ideas right.  I find myself fascinated by this concept as I believe it is central to the success of our own growing search firm (we have more than 30 people), and I believe that everyone is a “creative person” – I believe “creative” is a descriptor for a lot more than just the computer animators that make Pixar special.  Perhaps this is also true in your own organizations?

A final quote from the book:

“Getting the right people and the right chemistry is more important than getting the right idea.”

…and of course, please don’t hesitate to ask or refer me if our firm and I can help make “the right people” happen.  Thanks for sharing time with me; as always, I welcome your feedback.  Please feel free to pass this message along to others who may find value.