I started out my career as a software engineer. Software doesn’t tend to be quite as elegant as other forms of machinery, but I totally get the concept that things are beautiful when they run efficiently and reliably.

That’s why I’ve found it amusing that my emphasis has shifted almost entirely to the “people side” of business. People are messy, unpredictably, and endlessly challenging.

I guess it’s because I’m a problem-solver at heart, and people offer an infinite array of problems to work on. Yet, we envision our businesses as that “well-oiled machine,” running like a top.

Here’s the brutal truth: Yes, we’re always seeking reliability and predictability through well-designed processes. But those are also the failure points because they represent fragility.

That’s where you have to rely on your people. For some of us, people are 99% of the business. For others, there’s a large component of processes and machines and capital equipment.

But the energy and creativity of your business always comes from its people.

This became apparent in 2020 when we were all trying to figure out how to deal with a global pandemic. For those companies which survived, we’re still trying to figure out what a stable future looks like.

Because nobody knows, but it’s what we all want.

So focus on getting and keeping the best people you can find. Develop YOURSELF into the best leader you can be.

Because that’s where the leverage is.