The success of the Billy graham initiative is a reflection of the relationship of two extraordinary partners who built the organization. Each had unique talents. Billy Graham himself was the quintessential Mr. Outside. He embodied the image of the organization both to the outside world and to the people who work at BG. His character, his leadership, his enormous public presence, and his following are at the heart of the tremendous morale that surrounds the place, even though it is so inconspicuous you can barely find the sign on the door. The late George Wilson–who passed away in 1999–was Mr. Inside, George was low-profile, low-key, tireless, with an eye for talent and detail, with an easygoing, warm one-on-one style and absolutely committed to Billy and running an efficient, modern operation.
Most organizations and especially manufacturing companies need both of these talents: the salesperson who brings in the business and the manager who knows what to do with it. But you’d be surprised how many businesses there are where they either don’t understand that those two talents seldom run together in the same person or where destructive conflicts between the inside types and outside types end up tearing the place apart.
I’m not a Mr. Inside. I can’t do it at all, but it took a long time for my ego to accept that. When I did, I went out and hired a key man to run my plant and made him the president of the company. He does a much better job if it than I ever could. But conversely, I’m a better salesman than he is.
There’s another side benefit to dividing the inside and outside roles.