“The executives who ignited the transformations from good to great did not first figure out where to drive the bus and then get people to take it there. No, they first got the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figured out where to drive it” (Good to Great, p. 41)
In order to adapt to our ever-changing world, companies may have to adjust strategy and change direction to continue the journey to greatness. But, if you hire people who are only passionate about short-term goals, these people may leave when your company has to be agile and change direction. Jim Collins posits that it is more important to hire the right people and put them in the right positions in your company first; then, figure out your strategy. As Collins pointed out, the best vision or BHAG in the world without the right people to execute it will not get you very far.
How do you know if you have the right people on the bus? In How the Mighty Fall, Collins offers six general characteristics of the right people in the right seats regardless of industry or specific roles.
Here's how Rhythm can help you with each:
- They fit with the company’s core values. Use our Job Scorecard tool in your hiring process. Document your company's core values on the Job Scorecard, and discuss them with the candidate in the interview process. In the potential candidate’s work history, listen for stories about how they already naturally demonstrate alignment with your core values. If they don’t, then yours might be the wrong bus for them.
- They don’t need to be over-managed; they are self-motivated and self-disciplined. Using Rhythm software to keep your team accountable for your quarterly priorities and KPIs will shine a spotlight on people who may be on the wrong bus. Do you have team members that frequently do not update status on their execution toward quarterly goals, or whose status updates do not seem to accurately reflect the results you are seeing? Do you have to frequently check up on them and remind them to update? These may be signs that they are not a good fit or not right for their current role.
- They understand what they are ultimately responsible for delivering rather than getting caught up in task lists. Using the Job Scorecard Tool and the people tool in Rhythm to document the result you expect from the person filling each key seat in your company will provide abundant clarity around each person’s ultimate responsibility. If you communicate to each person on your team what their number one result is for their current role, they can record it on their Rhythm dashboard as a KPI, status it weekly, and make decisions that support that result.
- They are accountable; they do what they say they will do and do not overcommit. Rhythm dashboards are perfect vehicles to determine if your team keeps commitments and follows through with the strategic and execution plans that you make for your company. Everyone has a priority or two that goes red from time to time; we all occasionally misjudge our capabilities or are influenced by events outside of our control. But, you can easily identify when failure to deliver on commitments becomes a pattern and you have a people problem to deal with.
- They are passionate about the company and its work. Using a rigorous hiring process, like the TopGrading process that we recommend at Rhythm Systems, will help you get people on the bus that are passionate about working with you and who are aligned with your core purpose. In your interview process, you should be able to determine whether this person will be passionate about your work and whether he or she will be someone that you enjoy coming to work with everyday.
- They give credit to others when things go well and shoulder responsibility rather than place blame when things don’t go well. Building a culture of accountability and creating an atmosphere where it is safe to make mistakes is the foundation of our Rhythm methodology. Before you can have a team meeting where each person brainstorms solutions to potential problems, you have to have a healthy team with enough trust to be willing to status something red or yellow and call out problems when they see them.
Our Rhythm expert coaches go beyond helping clients get the right people in the right seats for today; they also help clients plan for their future organizations by figuring out the right roles and who should fill those seats in the future. As your company grows, you need to plan for your future people needs.
Collins points out that companies can only grow as fast as they can hire the right people to support that growth, so thinking through how you can help your team grow into the seats your future company will need and which seats you may need to hire for will help you continue to accelerate your growth. For more on planning your future organization, watch this archived webinar.