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Tom Brady All-Pro Quarterback of the New England Patriots to Play Middle Linebacker Next Year?

Putting the RIGHT Person in the RIGHT Job!

Did I grab your attention with that headline?  If you know football I definitely did.  It is a crazy idea to suggest that a great quarterback would play Middle Linebacker.  I have a few other personnel changes to suggest.  How about future Hall of Fame 7-foot center Shaquille O’Neal as the point guard for the Celtics or, future Hall of Fame Yankee Shortstop, Derek Jeter to be the Yankee catcher?  The answer to all of these questions is a simple and obvious NO!  The reason?  Management of these organizations determined that those were the wrong jobs for those employees!

One of my greatest challenges as an Executive Coach is working with a manager on personnel issues.  When the operation is not working like you want, you become frustrated.  You may even do some screaming and yelling at your people because of the lost opportunities.  But you stop there, stewing in your frustration.

Why do so many managers put up with ineffective performance in their organizations?

In my experience, managers complain about their employees more than all other complaints combined. Yet rarely do I see managers willing to determine the true root cause of the poor performance and make specific changes to processes or personnel to address the issues.  Common solutions are to tell the staff to “figure it out” without much input from you, or fire someone and “hope the next person is better”.

Every company suffers from periods of organizational dysfunction.  The well managed companies work to quickly identify the causes of the dysfunction and put in place the necessary changes to resolve the issues.  So the question is, how do you figure out where your problems are?  Here are some good places to consider:

  • Look for gaps in your operational processes. Go through every step to make sure nothing is missed.
  • How well trained are your people?  Are they really trained to do the job assigned?
  • Hold your personnel accountable for doing their job, and
  • Ask yourself do you have the right people AND are they in the right job.

Now, going back to Messer. Brady, O’Neal and Jeter, it may seem very simple which jobs they should have.  But the success or failure of their teams depends on management’s ability to figure out who is the right person for all of the positions on the team.  And then management does the following:

  • Make sure each employee is clear what their responsibilities are,
  • Provide the proper ongoing training
  • Make sure everyone understands how important their job is to the team and the interrelationship and co-dependency everyone has to the organizations success and
  • Hold everyone accountable for doing his or her job, including you!

The steps listed above go beyond the team on the field.  It includes every member of the organization.

There has never been a highly successful organization that did not spend significant time on the question of putting the right person in the right job.  Your company may not be high profile like a sport team, but the issue is just as critical for you.

One point I need to make.  In my career I have never worked in an organization where someone was not clearly out of place in a job.  As you think through this question for your organization it is important that you think very broadly about what it means for someone to be in the wrong job.  Who is out of place?

  • It could be your receptionist that cannot seem to take good messages, has a lousy demeanor on the phone or with people that come into your location
  • It could be your administrative assistant who treats you well but does poorly with everyone else
  • We all seem to know a do nothing employee that is friends with the “boss”.  They never do their job well or consistently but stay employed, and finally
  • There is the person that everyone loves and is such a good team player but is simply incompetent.  Everyone, including you, knows they cannot do the job the way you want, but you keep them anyway.

All of these people (and some others that you may not know about) are killing the effectiveness of your organization.

Creating an effective team requires a rigorous process that pays huge dividends when done well.  This is one of the primary differentiators in companies that out perform their peers.  Here are some key things you can do to expose the weaknesses in your team.

  • Listen to customer and employee complaints and focus on the root causes of the complaint
  • Make sure there are no gaps in your processes and that there is someone specifically responsible for all of the steps in each process
  • Have clear job descriptions include the specific skills required
  • Provide specific training and ongoing training for each position
  • Have very specific objective performance levels that are required for each position and make sure (in writing) that each person understands what is required of them
  • Have performance reviews completed for every member of your staff yearly
  • When you find under performers address the issue head on.  That means, they improve their performance, get assigned to a new job, or are released from the company.  Period!

If you need assistance to sort out these challenges we can help.  You do not have to do it alone.  The best companies in the world use coaches and consultants.  Why shouldn’t you?  Send an email to or go to the contact us page and leave a message.  We will respond to you promptly and discuss how we can help you move your organization forward.

Greatness only comes to those that confront reality and are prepared to take action!



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