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Go-To Guy : ICMS – Success is NOT Logical
Go-To Guy
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6 August 2013 - 0:10, by , in Leadership, No comments

I’ve added a person to my list of heroes. His name is Joseph of Arimathea, a real Go-To Guy.


Joseph risked his life, his business, his prominent social position and his wealth to be Jesus’ undertaker. After His crucifixion, Jesus hung dead, high on a cross. Jesus was alone except for the two thieves hanging on adjacent crosses, Roman guards casting lots for His clothing and a small of group of women, including Mary, His mother. “As evening approached, there came a rich man from Arimathea, named Joseph, who had himself become a disciple of Jesus.” (1)

Joseph bravely walked into Pontius Pilate’s Jerusalem fortress and boldly asked for Jesus’ body for burial. Pilate agreed. “I consider this was one of the sublimest, grandest acts that any man ever did. In that darkness and gloom — His disciples having all forsaken Him; Judas having sold Him for thirty pieces of silver; the chief apostle Peter having denied Him with a curse, swearing that he never knew Him; the chief priests having found Him guilty of blasphemy; the council having condemned Him to death; and when there was a hiss going up to heaven over all Jerusalem — Joseph of Arimathea went right against the current, right against the influence of all his friends, and begged the body of Jesus.” (2)

Joseph of Arimathea was a Go-To Guy. He saw what needed to be done and did it. What’s a Go-To Guy? And why are Go-To Guys & Gals so important?

  • Go-To’s focus on execution, not excusesAuthor of the best seller Execution, corporate CEO Larry Bossidy says “There are too many businesses that are imperiled sitting there doing nothing.”
  • Go-To Guys & Gals don’t necessarily dominate, but they are dependable.When the going gets tough, that’s when Go-To’s get going. If a hacker steals all the money in your bank account this week, who could you call to bridge the gap with spending money before the issue is resolved?
  • Even though Go-To’s may not hold a high position on your organization chart, everyone goes to them for help, advice and answers. They have a track record of good decision-making.

Karen Stephenson has developed a software system to identify your organization’s Go-To Guys & Gals. Billing herself as a corporate anthropologist, “she has the fervor and wanderlust of an itinerant preacher.” (3) Karen connects the dots using answers to survey questions such as these:

  • Whom do you go to for a quick decision?
  • Whom do you hang out with socially?
  • Whom do you go to with a good idea?
  • Whom do you go to for career advice?
  • Whom do you go to for financial advice?

Business leaders use Karen’s people networks for many purposes:

  • Physically reorganize the business, e.g., move delivery dispatchers next to customer service reps to reduce interdepartmental phone calls and missed opportunities to quickly respond to a customer’s needs.
  • Place the “hubs” of the people network on defined career paths, e.g., create development plans and send them to training classes to grow personally and professionally.
  • Insure that people who receive the majority of ideas are not “gatekeepers”, e.g., holding back change.

Forget the IT network. In the gospel according to Karen Stephenson, it’s an organization’s human infrastructure of Go-To Guys & Gals that really determine whether the company will live or die.

Which is better? Being a Go-To Guy on one of Karen’s people maps? Or knowing you have a Go-To Guy? Both are desirable, yet the former is my goal this Easter season. What does a Go-To Guy & Gal look like, say or do? The answer lies in the Gospel of Luke 23:50-55. Check it out.




(1) Gospel of Matthew 27:57
(2) Moody’s Bible Characters Come Alive, Dwight Moody, Baker Pub Group, 1997
(3) The Organization Woman, Ethan Watters, Business 2.0 magazine, April 2006

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