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Right People Right Seats

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Getting the right people in the right seats is the foundation of a winning team. But what does it mean and how do we approach it?   

Well, let’s start with “RIGHT PEOPLE.”  Jim Collins, author of the classic management book Good to Great, says this:

 “If you have the right people on the bus, the problem of how to motivate and manage people largely goes away.

I agree. Right People refers to underlying culture. But what is culture exactly?  

Culture is values. Values are what’s important to us. What’s important to us drives what we do. What we do is behaviors. Ergo, culture is behaviors, born out of a belief about what’s important.  

Winning cultures generate collective winning behaviors. Examples are: People work well together, they go the extra mile, they take pride in their work, they love to learn and grow, they hold themselves accountable, they are candid and caring toward each other, etc. 

Every business has, or should have, its own definition of culture that the people in the business manifest through their behaviors.

Thus, in order to have the right people on the bus one must 1) define culture as a set of values that drive specific behaviors, and 2) screen job candidates for culture to get the “right people”

What about RIGHT SEATS? What is that exactly?

Consider this. We were put on earth to help each other. That’s why we’re here; that’s life’s purpose.  

And we help each other most when we apply whatever special talent we were equipped with when leaving the “factory.” So job one is to find our talent(s). 

To make the most of a talent, we need to get really good at it. To get really good we must apply ourselves over many months and years (10,000 hours).

That’s where passion comes in. When we have a passion for something, or at least a natural interest, we pursue it with a certain energy. We tend to zone in. The hours, months and years add up easily and with it our proficiency and ability to create value for others. 

Our life’s goal therefore, is to discover our talent(s) and our passion(s) and combine them to create value for others

Back to business … The right seat for someone then is at the intersection of those three elements. Think Venn diagram.

When people don’t do well in a position they are either not sufficiently trained and supported or it’s the wrong seat. 

As managers, we need to either train them up and help them improve, or move them into something that’s right for them. I mean, how tragic is it for someone to spend their career or even part of it doing what they don’t like and can’t ever excel at. 

So now … consider the members of your team. Ask yourself: “Is the person in this seat doing what they love and what they’re talented at?” Or is there another seat that’s a better match? 
To summarize, winning teams have the right people in the right seats. Right people is:culture. Right seats is: talent, passion and contribution.  Get all that right and everyone wins!

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