EP11 – How To Ensure You Have The Right People And Plan – Part 1

This episode is the first in a two-part series about ensuring you have the right people and plan to be successful in your business. This first part talks about having the right people and introduces the concept of fountains, buckets and pourers.

The Growability® podcast is designed to teach business owners and non-profit leaders a more excellent way to run their business.

Podcast Transcript:

Joshua MacLeod:
No matter what business you’re in, you need people in your organization that are either a fountain or a builder or a pourer.

Podcast Announcer:
Welcome to the Growability Podcast, teaching business and nonprofit leaders a more excellent way to run a business. Visit growability.com for your leadership, coaching, consultation and business collaboration needs. In this two-part series about having the right team and plan for your business, this episode introduces the concept of fountains, builders, and pourers. Here are your hosts, Joshua MacLeod, and Bernie Anderson.

Joshua MacLeod:
How does a leader know that she has hired the right team? How do you know that? How do we know if we’ve got the right people in the room together? Back in the day, I met a guy who was one of my mentors who was a guy named Warner Butters, and Warner was a hospital administrator. He’s actually like the CEO of a hospital. And so he would go in, he had a 500-bed hospital. They brought him into this hospital and it was in like an eight-year decline or something like that. They never made any money. It was a hot mess. He came in and turned it around in like one year. In two years, they were growing and exploding and better than 50 other hospitals in the state kind of scenario.

Joshua MacLeod:
So I asked Warner like, “Okay, how’d you do that? How did you come in and fix the hot mess that the hospital was in? And he said, “One of the key things that I did is I empowered all of the fountains in the organization.” And I said, “Okay, well, what does that mean? What is a fountain?” And he said, “A fountain is an individual in an organization that is an idea factory. They come up with a workaround. If you’ve got a problem or you have an opportunity, they come up with the idea and they’re like, ‘We could do this. We could take this market. We can serve these patients better.'” And he said so what had happened in the organization is all of the fountains, all of the good idea people were being so shut down by the system and by the man that every time they came up with an idea, they got smacked down. And so there weren’t any really good ideas happening in the organization, in the hospital.

Joshua MacLeod:
So he said, “So one of the things I had to overcome was is I had to figure out how to empower fountains to bring their best idea to the table. The next thing we needed to do is we needed to have really good systems and processes.” And I’m like, “Okay, what kind of individual… If you have fountains, who are the individuals that are your systems and processes people?” And so he said, “So I would call these people builders.” So builders, they build the bucket to catch the water from the fountain. Fountains are fantastic in that they create these great ideas, these great concepts. They’re a little dangerous. If you walk into a room and there’s a fountain shooting off, well, now there’s a mess everywhere. So there’s water on the floor, there’s water on the ceiling. How are we going to catch all this? So what the builder does is the builder comes in and says, “I see your idea there. This is a really great concept. I see what we can do. Let’s see if we can build some structure around that idea, a container for that concept so that nothing spills out.” When the water flows into the bucket, it’s something that we can contain. We can make it profitable. We can make lots of people do it.

Joshua MacLeod:
So he had fountains and he had builders. And then he said, “Finally, there’s the pourers.” The pourers are the people. They don’t have to come up with the idea. They’re not a fountain. They don’t have to come up with the bucket. They’re not like the structure and the system and the process and the communication. But they’re the people that are just going to show up every day and, “I’m going to do the job.” So this is the nurse. This is the doctor. This is the administrator. This is the front desk person. “What’s the work to do?” They go to the bucket builder, the person that’s built this bucket and they say, Okay, give me my bucket, and then I’ll go pour it out.” So if you’re going to water plants, you need water. They take that bucket and they go and they pour it.

Joshua MacLeod:
So in an organization you have three different types of people. You have fountains, they’re idea factories. You have builders, those are systems and processes and communicators. And you have pourers. These are the worker bees that get everything done and they make it happen. If you’re in a hospital like Warner Butter was in, you need fountains, builders and pourers. It’s the same exact thing if you are in a manufacturing company. I need fountains. I need builders. I need pourers. It’s the same thing if you’re in a restaurant. We need fountains. We need builders and pourers. If you’re a CPA firm. No matter what business you’re in, you need people in your organization that are either a fountain or a builder or pourer.

Joshua MacLeod:
So the first step to make sure that you have the right team is to make sure that you have at least one fountain in your organization, at least one builder in your organization, and at least one pourer in your organization. Because if I have a fountain that’s coming up with all these concepts and all of these ideas, but they’re never put into a system or a process, so it’s just a fountain that flows out, but it never makes it to the bucket, then that water is never going to make it to the plant that needs the watering. If the fountain just flows out, it never creates a profit. It never creates a return. If I have a great fountain and I have a great builder, I have a great bucket builder, and I’ve got all these great ideas and I’ve got all these systems and processes, but there’s nobody actually getting it done, sometimes the people that come up with the systems and processes get bored doing the work.

Joshua MacLeod:
So they can tell you this is how to do it, this is how to implement, but when it’s actually like go out and dig the hole all day, they don’t like digging the hole all day, so they don’t actually make that happen.

Bernie Anderson:
Actually, Joshua, just what you said is really… It’s good. That, hey, my business needs different pieces to accomplish different purposes. I need a fountain. I need someone to build systems so that the water can go into a bucket, a bucket builder. I need someone to pour the water in the right place at the right time with the right people, right? I’m just wondering what kind of advice we can give to people to help them do that.

Joshua MacLeod:
So one of the first keys is just really understanding you’re not going to be fantastic at all three of those things. But now, one of the things that I’ll tell anybody that wants to start a business is you have to at least get a B in fountain and builder and pourer. It’s not like you can just pass by, “Well, I’ve got this… My idea’s so good that it’s just going to make everything happen.” No, your idea is not so good. If you don’t have that idea in a system and process that’s actually going to make money, and if you don’t show up and work from nine to five every day, making it happen, it’s not going to go anyway.

Joshua MacLeod:
The first thing is to think, “Okay, at least in our organization, we need to have a B across the board,” but then figuring out, “Where am I an A+?” Like, “Which of these tools am I an absolute A+? So am I an A+ fountain or am I an A+ builder? Am I an A+ pourer?” And then you surround yourself with the right team to actually implement the missing ingredient. Think about making the movie, the Lord of the Rings.

Bernie Anderson:
Okay.

Joshua MacLeod:
So here you have J.R.R Tolkien. He’s an incredible fountain, but he also does the diligence to actually build a plan to where I can write this book and then he actually writes the book. So he’s the solo entrepreneur that has to do all three of these things. So J.R.R Tolkien writes this trilogy. It’s incredible. And so now you have another fountain, Peter Jackson, who says, “The Lord of the Rings should be a movie.” And so the technology comes about to where Peter Jackson is like, “It’s time now. I think Lord of the Rings should be a movie.” So Peter Jackson is a fountain. He is like, “The technology is here. We should turn this incredible book series into a film series.”

Joshua MacLeod:
Now the challenge is like, oh my. Now you’re going to make a film. So you’re going to have to find somebody to help you acquire a hundred million dollars so that you can start the production. And then you’re going to have to find several other hundred million dollars to finish the production. What Peter Jackson does is he goes and gets some other fountains, which are artists that create the art board, the story board, the visuals. Now we’re creating like all of these other visuals for the piece. We’ve got these other fountains, but soon you have to hand this off to the builders. The builders are the people who are going to assemble all of the crew. They’re going to find the right talent. They’re going to scout locations. They’re going to do wardrobe. And now people are going to be designing weapons and people are going to be designing screenplays and editors and all of these people.

Joshua MacLeod:
And then finally, you’ve got the Pourers, are the camera guy on the day of the shoot and the lighting guy on the day of the shoot, the audio guy on the day of the shoot, all the actors. I got Orlando Bloom. I’ve got all of these people that are actually on that shoot to do the work. You can’t create a film by yourself. So you don’t watch the film and at the end of the film, you see one name roll up. At the end of the film, you see hundreds and hundreds of names. What it takes to create success in a movie is to have teams of people who are all working in their strengths. The same is exactly true in a business. In a business, Elon Musk gets all the credit, but Elon Musk without a secretary, and an accountant, and a team of leaders, and managers, he wouldn’t accomplish anything.

Joshua MacLeod:
Who would it be that rolls in the credits at the success of my business? There’s going to be three types of people. You’re going to have fountains in that list. You’re going to have builders in that list. And you’re going to have pourers in that list because any organization requires those things. We get into trouble as business owners, when we’re a fountain and we like fountains so then we hire fountains. So I’m meeting with somebody and in the interview, they have a great idea and I see the value of their idea. I’m like, “Oh, yeah, I want you on my team.” Now you got two people coming up with ideas, nobody catching the ideas, nobody doing the ideas. Or you can have an organization where it’s like, “We work hard.” I’m like, “Yeah, but working hard is not as valuable as working smart.” If you were like, “We are going to be successful because I work 20 hours a day.” No, you’re not going to be successful if you work 20 hours a day. You’re going to be successful if you have a really good plan and a really good system around that plan, and then you work six hours a day to implement that plan.

Joshua MacLeod:
So anyway, I think that’s a key thing about building the right team. It’s really important to make sure that you have the right balance of fountains, builders, and pourers. Bernie, I got a question for you. It is ideal to have leaders, team members in your organization, who are mature enough to celebrate the differences of the other people. Immaturity in an organization looks like, “Well, that person is just stupid because they don’t go do the work.” Or, “Well, that person is just stupid because they can’t come up with any ideas.” Or, “That person is so stupid because they don’t really see the value of the system and the communication. And I can’t believe they had that idea or they did that work without really connecting all the dots. “How do you add maturity? How do fountains and builders and pourers actually mature in an organization?

Bernie Anderson:
Hmm. Yeah. That’s a very good question. I don’t know if I have the entirety of the answer to that Joshua, but the thing that comes to mind as you say that is just… Like, there’s a selfishness that I think a lot of times we can bring to the table if we’re not careful. My organization is about me. My work is about me. My job is about me. Even if you’re just working for somebody else or whatever, this is about me and my career and my way to move forward. Maturity is when we start thinking about other people.

Joshua MacLeod:
Yeah.

Bernie Anderson:
And we begin thinking about ourselves as a team and not as individuals. This is like our American downfall. We’re all John Wayne, cowboys. And that’s a super immature way to actually lead an organization. It’s a super immature way to run a business. I think maturity starts when we begin to celebrate the differences, to celebrate, “Oh my gosh, you’re a bucket. Buckets are awesome. Wait, you’re a pourer? You just like work really hard at finding and making sure that all of this water goes to the right place? Man, let’s celebrate that and let’s figure out how to work together.” And I think when we stop being selfish and we start thinking in terms of team and others first, I think that’s at least the beginnings of maturity in an organization.

Joshua MacLeod:
Yeah.

Podcast Announcer:
Thank you for listening to The Growability Podcast. We hope this episode helps you run your business in a more excellent way. The mission of Growability is to equip leaders to flourish in their life and work by developing vision, rhythm, and community. To discover if there is a more excellent way to run your business, visit growability.com and speak with a certified Growability coach. Subscribing to this podcast helps Growability equip leaders throughout the world, and we appreciate your support.