Well, of course 1 Great Person = 3 Good People – (Insight from Uncontainable)

I’m just thinking… (after reading Uncontainable). One of the foundational principles for the Container Store is:Uncontainable

“1=3; 1 Great person = 3 good people.”

Now, here’s what I’ve been thinking. This is so obvious, isn’t it?

Imagine it this way – a loved one is scheduled for surgery. Would you like to have an “average” surgeon, or an above average surgeon, a great surgeon, to perform the operation? It’s no contest. One great surgeon is worth quite a few average surgeons when the surgery is for your loved one…

But, this is not news, is it? Doesn’t every company want to hire the very best – only the very best? I’ve never heard of any company state “our goal is to hire average people.”

(By the way, next problem: most people are in fact average, aren’t they? So, if most people are average, and every company wants the above average people… well, you see the problem, don’t you?)

So, how is the Container Store any different?

The book does not reveal their complete strategy for finding these “great” people. It does reveal that they pay more, which probably goes a long way in attracting such people. But, how do they find these people? How do they, to use an old metaphor, separate the wheat from the chaff?

Here’s one secret, for sure. They talk about this constantly. Constantly! It is one of their 7 foundational principles. It the first of the seven; it is principle #1, so every time any one mentions the seven, they start with this one.

And they mention the seven a lot! It is everywhere seen, and discussed. It is repeated so continually, so often, that maybe it really does sink in.

And, they constantly tell the stories of success – how they found their last great person.

And, they think of people who were good customers; repeat customers; really enthusiastic customers – and they try to get some of these people to come to work for them.

But, to state the obvious, the Container Store has the idea itself right – 1 great person is indeed = to 3 good people; maybe even = to 4, or 5, or 25 good people…

So, assuming you have the right product or service, finding those great people is indeed foundational principle #1 – for every company.


I’m presenting my synopsis of Uncontainable this Friday at the September First Friday Book Synopsis. It’s a good, genuinely useful book!


One thought on “Well, of course 1 Great Person = 3 Good People – (Insight from Uncontainable)

  1. Great post.

    I think you will find that the container store uses Topgrading interviewing and tools like so many of our Gazelles clients. They interview and screen large numbers per 1 new hire and retain most with very low turnover.

    Sent from my iPhone


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