Working Thoughts On People First

What Is People First

People First is a state of mind. A state of mind that allows us to work with all organizations struggling to deliver on their mission - and who isn’t in these times? We find over and over again that when you unpack the challenge laid out, solve for the problem that has been described …. that the pain is rarely where you think it is. But there’s more. Even if you find the source of the pain - what’s the prescription? A prescription … prescriptive suggests that we’ve been here before and are ready to retro fit into a template …. that’s not how we work.

Moreover a prescription wont solve it because despite all the commonalities that businesses have, all the connections between

How do people in your organization and eco system connect themselves to the mission. When they go to work each and every day, to do their job, earn their salary, buy your product and service ….

So Now What?

People First asks each of us to stop and consider if you and the business you are in is heading in the direction that you agree with. Issues high on my current radar includes The Surveillance Economy, The Future of Income, Data Privacy, Identity … all the way to the societal issues emerging as Wall Street continues on its unprecedented run, and billionaires have seen their net worth grow by hundred of millions in the last three months, while the man in the street … well - you know the story. We’ve long known that Wall Street and Main Street became decoupled 40 to 50 years ago …. are we good with that?

It is absolutely NOT a political play, the focus is business - which of course does tie into small ‘p’ politics and policy.

  • Newsletter, Podcast up and running
  • Book nearly there.
  • Nascent community set up on Facebook - as a precursor to a fully fledged network that I am still thinking through how I would build.

What People First eventually becomes is what the network drives us towards.

CPOP - What is My Customers’s Point of Pain?

“Organizations struggling to deliver on their mission”1

What Do You Do? (That’s ‘What’ … Not ‘How’!)

At the highest level we seek to Unlock Human Potential. Now that’s big! Maybe too big, so I have a mission qualifier … ‘through the lens of ‘business’.2

Specifically, the job is to engage with you, your business and the people in your business to ‘find the gap’ … and once found work out why it is there. Make no mistake - there is a gap, sometimes its small, sometimes it’s large but it’s there.

Two things about the gap … the size bares no relation to the potential impact on your business and second it is more than likely that the gap is at the root of the reason you called us.

The reason we are there - and the solution to your challenge is you. It all starts with you. If we are engaged with you, it is because you identified that you, your team, your organization … something is falling short in delivering against your mission 3.

The mission may be in your mind, stuck on a wall or shared with the world as a snappy statement on your web site. It doesn’t really matter where it is publicized and shared, the fact is you and your people need to not only know it, but understand it and relate to it. Each and every day. Every action taken should be able to tie back to that single over arching mission. But is it?

Of course if you don’t have a mission, then that is an obvious place to start.4 That in itself could be the gap!

But if you do, a second question lingers … how does it relate to my people and/or why are we not working a coordinated fashion?

What problems do you address

Well - the problems we are asked to address are as diverse as

  • Why is our Marketing not working?
  • Why are our contracts routinely ignored or rewritten
  • Why don’t sales win more deals?
  • Why do our networks drop?
  • Why do our customers not give us good reviews?
  • Why do customers not return to us?
  • Why do we not have a good handle on our customer base?
  • Why do we do well selling to new customers, but fail to keep them?

and we answer those questions - though not alwayss in the way you might be expecting.

How does People First do it?

To be clear, We are not coaches or mentors. We are not consultants. We don’t have software to sell you. Why? Because to have any of that, almost certainly takes us down a track that we don’t want to go, Starting with what you sell is a prescriptive. If I have something to sell, then my motivation is to sell you what which I have. Now, for you to succeed, we need to uncover the truth of your business, understand the delta between aspiration and practice and help you move the two worlds closer. There is no prescription for that because though there are so many more similarities between businesses than differences - that is why the millions of companies in the world can use one of a handful of software applications to run their finances, when it comes to this - every single company is different. So basically - the how of People First is through 4 stages …

  • We are laying out ideas through writing, publishing and podcasting
  • We are exploring those ideas through comments, groups and networks
  • We are encapsulating those ideas in books, whitepapers and deep dive articles
  • We are validating those ideas for business through our frameworks

People First is founded on hundreds heading to thousands of tenets that are nuggets of truth, ground to a fine powder, blended with a mixture of observation and clarity and reconstituted as building blocks of the eight pillars.

John Philpin

Those eight pillars are identity, data, technology, work, commerce, language, learning and value.

We believe - because we have learned - that clarity around these eight pillars and what they mean to your business will unlock the gap between mission and reality.

What actions can people take to be People First

The easiest access to People First comes from understanding that it is a state of mind.

To join our movement / organization requires that you innately understand that putting people first is beneficial to you as a person to your team, your company, your family, society at large.

From there - it all depends how far you want to go, from simply being an occasional reader of the weekly newsletter al the way through to working with us to unlock the value of your business through adoption of People First thinking.

Who is People First

John Philpin founded People First in 2016

People First Domains

More Thoughts ….

  • Gives credibility
  • How to get brand out there
  • Para on value added delivery
  • Para on ideal client, job, role ….


  1. CPoP Definition – Mitchell Levy: Global Credibility Expert

  2. Business is one of the four ‘forces of humanity’, the others being culture, politics and conflict. The four forces of humanity map to the four natural forces of physics, but - unlike the natural forces, the forces of humanity are not fixed. They have been created by people, can be changed by people - and that is a foundational principle of People First. Things can change. They do change - but if you manage the change, take control of the change regardless of where it comes from - your chance of success is much improved.

  3. Don’t confuse Mission and Vision

  4. In a nutshell a mission defines why your business exists. For example our own mission is to provide people and organizations with a clarity of purpose and a connection to their operations to ensure that the full potential of all the people in the eco system of a business are understood, accounted for, fulfilled and delivered.

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