Companies are always jockeying to find their sustainable competitive advantage. You’ll hear common themes: product, strategy, patents, brand, value. But there is one key competitive advantage that is frequently missing from this list.

People. This should be obvious. Your team is one of your most important competitive advantages.

Throughout my time in leadership, I have often been asked about my top business priorities. Questioners seem to expect typical answers: scaling the business, growing revenue, expanding sales, improving customer success, increasing productivity, etc. All these are clearly important, but these are never my top three priorities.

My top three priorities have always been the same: People, People, and People.

People build and make companies. People build products. People sell products. People market. People support customers. People drive strategy. People make decisions.

Companies will face all types of challenges. People will be the ones who address these challenges and move the company forward.

You may have the best product or service on the globe, but how will the world know if you don’t have the right team? Of course, any viable company needs to have a good product, a sound strategy, and sufficient market opportunity. These are table stakes for building a good company. The difference between good and great comes down to the people.

If you have the right people, you have a solid foundation. If you have the wrong people, everything is at risk.

Nothing is more important than the team. People are your most valued asset. Great companies know this and treat their people accordingly. Great companies have exceptional people. These people create a significant competitive advantage.


  • Kelly Breslin Wright

    Board Director at Fastly, Lucid, Amperity, and Even. Instructor, UW Foster. Former EVP Sales, Tableau.

    Kelly is a Board Director at Fastly (NYSE : FSLY), Lucid, Amperity, and Even. She teaches Go-To-Market Strategy at the University of Washington's Foster School of Business. She also advises companies and is active in multiple organizations focused on promoting women on corporate boards. Kelly recently retired from her operational role at Tableau Software after 12 years. She joined Tableau as the company's tenth employee and first salesperson and helped grow Tableau into a multi-billion dollar public company as a key member of the executive team. She grew Tableau's worldwide sales and field operations from zero to $850m in revenue and managed over half of the global team as the company grew to 3400 employees. Kelly speaks and writes regularly on topics including sales, culture, high performance teams, operational excellence, diversity, scaling, and women in leadership.