There is a wrong way to assemble a car.

Let us say you want the best car in the world. You decide to get the best parts and assemble your dream car yourself. You search for the best engine and discover that Rolls Royce’s engines are the finest. So, you pick a Rolls Royce engine. You then search for a gearbox. Because all car aficionados agree BMW makes a great gearbox, you choose it. Likewise, you choose the best individual components.

It’s time to build your dream car.

Is it possible to assemble a car with these parts? Each part is the highest rated in its category, but it’s quite possible that you still cannot assemble a car; and even if you do, it may not be the most efficient.

Don’t look for the best parts. Optimize the interactions between the parts.

The vitality of a car comes from the interaction between its parts, rather than from its individual parts. The sum is always greater than the parts. You may think that this mental exercise is stupid. But you know what? In our professional and personal lives, we do the same thing as in this thought exercise. In India, parents look for “best girl” (or boy) rather than a compatible spouse (even better would be to let the kids choose their own partners, but that is a post for another day). For a job, we seek the best candidate, not the one who matches our culture. A company may have the best sales officer, delivery officer, manager, and even members, but will not make much profit because the interaction, not the parts, is what matters. In the same way, candidates look for the best companies, not the most suitable ones.

You get the point.


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