The key question for this article: “Is there a relationship between solid, profitable company growth and the quality of the people that are hired?” My short answer is yes; absolutely! What follows is my brief overview of taking the ‘yes’ position.

Growth Defined

Growth can mean different things to different people, so let’s define growth for the purpose of this article.

I like the following thought expressed by Edward D. Hess, professor of business administration and Batten-Executive-In-Residence at the University of Virginia’s Darden Graduate School of Business. The former executive has spent years studying the concept of business growth and has written numerous articles and books on this topic. He said: “We found that companies don’t necessarily have to grow or die, but they must improve or die, meaning they have to continuously improve their customer value proposition or risk going out of business.”

“Scaling, the key to growing a private business successfully, means doing more of what you’re already doing with better distribution and more customers. But you can’t scale correctly unless you’ve got the right processes in place and you’ve done the right hiring and training of your personnel.”

My position is very similar to Mr. Hess. In my 40+ years of business I’ve observed that the overwhelming majority of growth issues can be traced to a people issue. It’s typically traceable to the business owner, the management team, and/or specific individuals who occupy key roles within the business.

Three Foundational Resources Required for Business Success

I believe the most important resources that determine the success of any business are:

  1. People
  2. Financial
  3. Time

I believe all other assets are subsets of these three. These three will create and/or manage the resources that fall beneath these three resource corner stones.

How much you have of these three foundational resources and/or the quality of these resources will likely play a key role in determining the success of most businesses. There are always a few exceptions, but we’re examining what most of us can expect.


Of course there are only 24 hours in a day, so this resource is finite. Everyone gets the same 24 hours. However, what is accomplished during a 24 hour period is what is most important. The next two resources, financial and people will determine how effective you ‘time spend’ will be.


Most businesses have access to a specific amount of financial capital. That can be cash on hand, receivables and lines of credit (investment). So the key for maximizing your financial resources is largely governed by the people aspect. People manage the business and how well it is managed from a variety of different perspectives will have a huge impact on the way money is spent, how many sales are made and the creation of a vision to attract investment, customers and more top talent.


This is the foundation for everything and as you can see from the above overview of time and finance, people are the glue that holds everything together. Everything starts with people. This is the ultimate foundation for everything else.

In preparing to write this article, I looked for other opinions on their list of key resources that govern business viability and growth. Here are some examples, along with my take on each.

“A company will have three key resources at its disposal that will be instrumental to its success: vision, strategy and brand.”

My Take: All three are important, even critical. However none are possible to create or execute without key people. Vision, strategy and brand are created first by people. Average performers give you an average ‘vision, strategy and brand.’ Great people give you a great ‘vision, strategy and brand.’

“There are four different types of Key Resources: Physical, intellectual, human and financial ones. Which of them a particular business needs or has depends, of course, heavily on the industry it’s operating in.”

My Take: This one is a whole lot closer to being correct. However, intellectual and human should be considered as one. Intellect only comes from people. Physical, such as plant, facilities, infrastructure, etc. are definitely a resource, but largely comes from financial resources that are managed by people.

Top performers deliver superior results and whatever amount of intellect is required in a specific environment to produce world-class results is better of course than achieving mediocre results.

“So, what are these “resources” that a business needs to put in place to pursue its chosen strategy? They are: 1) Financial Resources, 2) Human Resources, 3) Physical Resources and 4) Intangible Resources.”

My Take: The first three are exactly in line with my thinking. Number 4 is important and was defined to include: Goodwill, Reputation, Brand and Intellectual Property. When examining number four, it becomes pretty obvious this is the RESULT of Money and People.

The Chicken or the Egg?

So, if we can agree at a high level that People, Money, Time are the three foundational resources governing growth and ultimate success, then what comes first; People, Financial or Time?

Since time is finite, let’s focus on the other two.

I’ll take the position that it’s People every time. Every good product and service begins with an idea that someone nurtures into a successful business. Financial resources are what provide the fuel that allows the product or service to become a reality.

Once an idea morphs into a viable business, both financial capital and people resources are the next items of business success. People will create the influence required to secure investment. People will be what are required to perfect the product or service and deliver them to customers. People will be the ones to find customers and they will also be responsible for delivering first-class customer service.

So, in closing, I believe that of the three foundational resources required for business success, people are arguably the most important. I would also argue that people are the key differentiator between great companies and average companies.

People: that’s what Bradford Consulting Companies is all about.

If you don’t hire the top talent in your market, your competitors will. We help businesses develop people recruiting and hiring processes and related systems to locate, attract and hire top talent. We want our every client to avoid the agony that comes with a bad hire by being certain of top talent before they ever make a job offer.

We use Performance Based Hiring as the key, foundation for designing, and implementing a process that is focused on hiring top talent; every time, for every job.

We offer a no-fee, upfront analysis of your hiring challenges and mutually determine if it makes sense for us to work together.

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