ASA 49 | Prioritizing People In Business


In business, we often focus too much on what we want to do, what we want to earn, and what we want success to look like. In this episode, Alex Mandossian shares how prioritizing the ‘who’ goes a long way in achieving those ‘whats’. He helps us discover why finding the right people and getting them seats on the right bus is essential. Also, he shares the kind of mindset shift that puts our team first and not necessarily the customers. And guess what? That doesn’t revolve around their compensation either.

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First WHO,Then WHAT?

In this episode, you’ll learn three key insights that are critical to making you a highly skilled ethical influencer, no matter what type of business you have and what your skills are. You’ll learn, number one, why who you attract to get the job done is more critical than what the job is. Number two, you’ll find out why finding the right people must come first and that will be preceding the right strategies of what they do.

Number three, you’ll find out why the right people on the right bus and how to get them in the right seats on that bus. Lean in and read carefully. This episode could have a significant impact on how you can win the hearts of others with total and absolute certainty. If English is your second language, I do hope that you read this and all the other All Selling Aside episodes not once, not twice, but three times. Nothing empowers your fluency in another language more than learning the art of ethical influence.

Good To Great

Have you ever heard of the book Good to Great? Jim Collins wrote that. Although it’s a book that was written years ago, one of the stories in that book is relevant to your future if you want to have financial freedom. If you do it on your own, you have finance, money and revenue coming in, but freedom is impossible unless you have other people doing things for you. I believe you don’t even have a business until other people are doing the things that you do in the beginning.

In the beginning, you do everything but the key is learning the strategies that no one teaches, how to get others to do it for you and that’s called scaling. First, who and then what, means to get the right people on the bus. I like to call it a minivan because my bus has fewer seats. It was a concept developed in the book Good to Great by Jim Collins. If you adopt the mindset, it starts with the thoughts and feelings about this, and you’ll make certain that you have the right people on your bus.

It is an analogy of getting from point A to point B so the bus is going somewhere. The goal is to get the right people in the right seats on that bus. They will figure out with you how to drive that bus, then you’ll almost have absolute certainty of scaling your business so financial freedom is within your reach. That’s the key. It doesn’t matter where you are in business right now, having the mindset first, not later, that’s the key.

First, who and then what. What means what to do, probably what you are focused on and how focused, “What project am I going to work on to make money?” “How am I going to get it done?” Think about, “Who can assist me to get there faster?”

When chaos and uncertainty, you can’t possibly predict what’s coming around the corner. You can’t predict your best strategy, but the alternative is to think about who can be on your bus. Whether they’re JV partners, mentors, colleagues or friends, ultimately your team and employees that you pay. By doing that, you surround yourself and connect yourself to a team that leads you to financial freedom.

It allows you to perform more brilliantly no matter what comes next and all the uncertainties that business has. “Great vision without great people is irrelevant,” that’s what Jim Collins says. The executives who ignited the transformations in the companies that were highlighted in Good to Great, they did not first figure out where to drive the bus and then get people to take it there. They first got the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus.

[bctt tweet=”Having the right people and the wrong people in business is like having your foot on the brake and the accelerator at the same time.” username=”AlexMandossian”]

Do you have anyone you mis-hired? Do you have people around you that are stopping your business from growing? Your family members or friends who don’t believe in your cause, they’re in your bus so you have to get them out. Otherwise, it’s not only going to slow it down, but it may break it down. Once you have people on that bus, and you don’t have to pay them at first, then together you can figure out where to drive it.

They said in essence, and this is the CEO of one of the companies at Good to Great, a mindset we’re talking about, “I don’t know where we should take this bus yet, but I know this much. If we get the right people on the bus, the right people in the right seats, in other words doing the right things, and the wrong people off the bus. That’s the key.” You can have the right people and the wrong people. You have to get rid of the wrong people.

It’s like having your foot on the brake and the accelerator at the same time. Together, you can figure out where to drive that bus. This can be a mastermind that you’re part of, that you don’t even have to pay, but it takes other people. Those are who. First, who and then what. Don’t try to figure out the what by yourself. I made that mistake many times and it has slowed down the growth of my companies. The Good to Great leaders in that book understood three simple truths.

First, if you begin with who rather than what, you can more easily adapt to changing the world in your terms because two heads are better than one and three heads are better than two, so on and so forth. If the people join the bus primarily because of where it is going, what happens if you get ten miles down the road and you need to change direction?

In other words, if you are determining where that bus is going, like the GPS of your business, the other people onboard or if you haven’t got advice free or paid, then they can’t give you much advice because it was your idea. You’ve got a problem with an ongoing predicament if that bus has started without other people inside.

If people are on the bus because of who else is on the bus, it’s much easier to change direction when you see that something is happening and they’re saying, “Turn right. Turn left.” If we need to change direction to be successful, that’s fine with me. People support with the help to create. That’s number one.

Second, if you have the right people on the bus, the problem of how to motivate and manage people largely goes away. They are supporting that, if I take the initiative such as I have a weekly live show every single week. I’ve been doing it for years and I want to go to a monthly live show because it will get me more time to do other things. I don’t, in my mind, device what that curriculum of that monthly show is going to be.

I don’t make that decision on my own. I don’t even think about how I’m going to support and promote it. I first bring up the idea, “Is this a good idea? This is the direction I’d like to go.” I talk to the people on my bus which is my core team and then we come up with ideas together. As we are going over the bumps, as we’re going around the curves and turns of the road, everyone’s involved and not just me.

ASA 49 | Prioritizing People In Business

Good to Great

Otherwise, it’s just me. The right people don’t need to be tightly managed or you don’t have to get them fired up. They’ll be self-motivated by an inner drive to produce the best results and be part of creating something great.

Third, if you have the wrong people, it doesn’t matter where you discover the right direction or not. You still won’t build a great company. I want you not to have a great product, offer or service. I want you to build a great company that you can exit. You can give to your kids if you have any or you can build a legacy for yourself and it continues without you.

Here’s what I know. Jim says, “We expected to find that changes and incentives systems, especially executive incentives, those are the top management, would be highly correlated with making a leap from good to great.” With all the attention paid to team compensation, that’s what you pay your team no matter if you have a company making $10,000 a year or $10 million a year.

It’s not about compensation. The amount and structure of compensation must play a key role in going from good to great. How else can you get the people to do the right things that create great results? Jim Collins’s original premise, his original belief and the expectations were dead wrong. It’s not about compensation, it’s about culture. Think about the culture you want to build.

The connections that you want to build, not about your target audience, your product, the media you’re going after or your marketing. Think about your people. Richard Branson says, “Your employees should be number one.” If you don’t have any or can’t afford them right now, it’s the people that support you. If you support those people, like the Law of Karma or cause and effect, then they will support your customers.

The customer doesn’t come first, your team does. Why might that be? It’s simply the manifestation of “First, who and then what.” It’s not how you compensate your people or your compensation plan if you think about having an outside contract or wondering, “I can’t afford to pay them.” It’s about knowing what role they’re going to play and how committed they are to you.

Does it take time to find them? Of course, it does, but that’s not the point. The point is to focus on who first and then what. Many of your problems will go away and you’ll have less work to do, which is fine, more free time.

The moral code requires building excellence for its own sake. You’re more likely to change that with compensation because people will get paid no matter what they get paid but it’s about what they are self-motivated to do to build excellence around you.

[bctt tweet=”If you have the right people on the bus, the problem of how to motivate and manage people largely goes away.” username=”AlexMandossian”]

The Right People On The Right Bus

Good to great companies understood this simple truth. The right people will do the right things and deliver the best results they’re capable of regardless of an incentive system. It’s a skill, like a muscle that you can build. Compensation and incentives are important but for different reasons in these great companies. The purpose of compensation should not get the right behaviors with the wrong people because no matter how much you pay them, they’ll still do the wrong things.

Two critical questions. Number one, what does the right bus mean? Let’s call it a minivan, which is a few seats. The right bus means, to me, core values or beliefs of your organization. Would you believe? We believe that agreements must be kept. Yes, they can be renegotiated or unmade, but they must be kept. Without agreements, you can’t run a company. These are our values.

Number two, we believe in a 100% commitment. There’s a great difference between 99% and 100% commitment. If you know the difference between 211 degrees Fahrenheit and 212 degrees, then you know the difference between boiling an egg and driving a locomotive. You have steam at 212 degrees and you have boiling water at 211 degrees.

In Centigrade, it’s between 99 degrees to 100 degrees. When you think about who you’re going to bring on, think about what their role is going to be. If they’re not paid, then they’re an adviser. If they are paid, they need to know specifically what they’re going to do. Before you structure what they’re going to do, they have to have the same beliefs you have. What are your values? What are your beliefs? How you run a company is a matter of what value and that determines the mission of your company.

What does the right seat mean? There’s a lot of confusion over the right seat on that bus or minivan. Your who is operating within their unique abilities, skills or talents, leadership ability, roles and responsibilities. Do they have initiative? Are they reliable? Do they work with speed? Are they self-motivated? We don’t motivate anyone on our team. They come in self-motivated.

The purpose for that is because if we constantly have to motivate them, then it’s exhausting. Notice that I didn’t say get the job done. It’s the ability to respond. It’s having the responsibility, the ability to respond to things that go wrong, and things go wrong often, especially in the beginning. That’s why most small businesses never make it because more things go wrong than right. If you’re the only one handling things that are going wrong, then it becomes overwhelming.

You don’t know what to do next and then many people blame it on business or their capability that they’re not able to build a business when it was false. The best business people I know are the best connectors with people, whether they’re introverts or extroverts. They know that relationship capital, not physical capital, not money, but people capital. Those are the people, the things that create the most values so that they do less work.

On my minivan that I have in my company, they’re just eleven seats and I want to make sure that they’re full of the right people who have the responsibility of initiative and reliability. I can rely on them as in self-motivation and they do things in a quick way. They have speed. The bottom line is you’re not a boss, you’re a teacher.

ASA 49 | Prioritizing People In Business

Prioritizing People In Business: Public opinion always lags behind private reality.


You almost are parenting people or through friendship, you’re making it clear on what your goal is and why you created this business, your purpose. It’s a tough thing to think about if you haven’t thought about it. Typically, you’ll think about your message and then the market, then what media is going to connect the message to the market. It’s a perfect match but you can’t do it alone and I don’t know any millionaire or billionaire that’s ever done it alone. There’s no such thing as a self-made success.

You have a few options here. You can get the right person in the wrong seat. What does that mean? That means you have the right beliefs but the wrong role. You change the seat, that’s it. Sometimes you have the wrong person in the right seat. That means you have the wrong beliefs, but they can do the role. They’re good at that skill.

You have to take that person off the bus because if they don’t believe in what you believe in, then you have a huge problem. There’s a huge break every time you’re pressing on the accelerator. If you have the right person in the right seat, that means they share your values, your beliefs and they’re in the right role. Those people refer other people just like them. This is a big idea and I know it may sound overwhelming at first, that’s why I’d like you to go back and read this episode again.

Difference Between First and Second

The reason I bring up Jim Collins is not because those great companies will survive forever. Many of them haven’t. It’s a great way not only to start a company but to have it grow fast. It’s amazing that there’s this 1% factor in many things. Like for steam, 211 in Fahrenheit versus 212. It takes one degree difference and that will separate good from great in life, from boiling water to steam. Steam has power, boiling water doesn’t.

In the game of golf, the margin of victory in the past 25 years of major tournaments is just three strokes. Can you imagine? The difference between the people who got first, second or third is millions of dollars. In an 800-meter race in the 2004 Olympics, the margin of victory was 0.71 seconds. That’s the difference between good and great. It’s the difference of gold versus silver.

Let’s take gold and silver. Gold is $1,300 an ounce and silver is about $17 an ounce. Gold is great and silver is good. You don’t have to be an investor, look at the difference between the two. You want a gold standard company, not a silver standard company. In the Indianapolis 500, which is a famous race here in the United States, the margin of victory in the past 25 years has been 1.7 seconds in 500 miles with cars going hundreds of miles an hour.

The difference between first place and second place on average is $1.2 million versus $600,000. You make twice as much getting first. Why did that person get first? It’s because of the team that person has so that they maintain the car, it’s not just the driver, which is you, it’s the team. First who, then what.

Here’s the key point. To get what you’ve never gotten is not to do what you’ve never done, but to attract who you’ve never attracted before. To get what you’ve never gotten, $1 million a year maybe, is not to do what you’ve never done. Many people say, “Do those things that you haven’t done.” No, first is to attract who you’ve never attracted before. It’s always first, who and then what.

[bctt tweet=”To get what you’ve never gotten is not to do what you’ve never done, but to attract who you’ve never attracted before.” username=”AlexMandossian”]

The who that you would attract, an adviser, friend, mentor, could be me or it could be someone else. They already know how, where, and when. You and they should have the same why, beliefs, purpose and values. With Warren Buffet, when buying a new investment, he says, “No,” over a thousand times to opportunities that are coming to him. You can say no to people who are excited talking to you if they’re the wrong fit in your bus, either with their beliefs or their skills.

He never asks, “How do I run this company?” when he makes these decisions. He never asks, “What strategies will I use to grow it?” Warren Buffet is one of the most successful investors in modern times. He doesn’t even ask, “Why did I buy it?” He only asks one questions and that’s, “Who will run my company?” By doing that, 80% of his problems automatically goes away.

Alexism: Public Opinion Lags Behind Private Reality

Here’s the Alexism for this episode. Public opinion always lags behind private reality. Private reality is, I’m just letting you in on a secret, first, who and then what. It’s not about your product, the media you’ll be using, the marketing or your market. It’s who can you connect with in order to make your job easier and that’s why Masterminds were created.

I want you to apply these. Will you? Number one, why who you attract to get the job done is more critical than what the job is. Number two, why finding the right people comes first. They come before the right strategies to utilize. They even come before the right message or the right offerings. Third, it’s why the right people on the right bus must be in the right seat. Being on the right seat is about their skills. Being on the right bus is about their beliefs.

These insights will only work for you if you work them. Please make sure you execute what you’ve learned. If you have to go back a reread this episode because it may be new. All Selling Aside is about taking 25 years of sales and marketing know-how and whittling it down, pairing it down to about 25 minutes. Your future will be bigger and brighter. Most importantly, if you go first, who and then what, you would create your future on your terms.

I want you to go to and I want you to type in your biggest takeaway or a-ha moment you experienced in this episode. If you’ve already done this, write it down on an index card. If you haven’t done it, it will mean a lot to me because we’ll move up in the rankings and more people will get more access to this at no cost.

Go ahead, declare your one big takeaway. The review isn’t about the podcast in general, make it specific to this episode or another one. It’ll take three minutes out of your day, but what you declare could provide you a lifetime of learning.

I have one final gift to give you in honor of this 49th episode of All Selling Aside. It’s a complimentary access to my video eCourse that everyone has to pay $197. You don’t have to because you made it this far. You’ll learn how to identify your target market, create the ideal message and capitalize on the best media sources available to you. Simply go to

I hope our paths cross again for the All Selling Aside show which is dedicated to making an ethical influence within your reach so that you can achieve and even exceed your sales potential. Do whatever it takes next time to join me because our topic will be The Silent Assassin of Business Growth. It’ll be one that you will always remember.

I encourage you to invite a friend or bring a study buddy. It’s always fun to bring another into a learning structure, just like this one. I hope you invite someone to read this one, so they can clarify and confirm things that were still unclear to you. I encourage you to invite that friend and I can’t wait to connect with you then.

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