Jeb Breithaupt
JEB Design/Build
Shreveport, La.
Big50 2005

I read Good to Great by Jim Collins and immediately found ways to start implementing what I learned. Chapter three covers great companies that have top-notch executive leaders. They first get the great team; then they figure out where to drive the bus. They also make sure their people are on the right seat on the bus.

Let's say you have a great team and your bus is pointed toward kitchens $30K to $80K. If conditions change and you start driving toward bathrooms, this could be a problem because you have people on the bus who signed on to drive toward kitchens. But if you get great people, they want to be with the organization; they don't care where the bus is going. It's OK to change direction. I've talked about this so much that one of our salespeople has made a paper bus and put staff pictures in the windows.

To make sure we have the right people in the right seats on our “bus,” we do extensive background checks and pair a new carpenter with an experienced lead. That lead knows in 30 days if the new worker is a good fit for our company culture and can give a thumbs up or thumbs down.