Stop and think about the way things work in your organization?  Do you have the ability to move your players to the role where they’ll make the biggest difference?  Or are you limited in what you can ask your team to do?  Maybe you’ve developed the culture where once a player suits up for the game…you really no longer have the ability to shift them to a different position.  If that’s the case, you need to give serious thought to how to remedy the problem.  Why?  Read on.

Let’s say you’ve worked hard for the last season (or two) to get the right people on the bus and the wrong people off the bus (to use the very popular Good to Great metaphor).  Good start, but I believe that what you do next is actually more important.  Actually, I believe that helping the right people find the right seats is fundamental to real success.  Why?  Think about this.  Follow along with my thinking.

I believe that every player is actually designed to be a 10 somewhere.  The way they’re made, their personality, their interests…all combine to make them perfect for a particular seat on a particular bus.  Now, you may not believe this…but follow along.  If it is true, then what it says is that if they could find the right seat they’d be very fruitful (effective) and very fulfilled.  Make sense?  Again, you don’t have to buy it, but it is what I believe.

Now the next step in the argument.  If it is true, it says that finding the right seat absolutely determines effectiveness.  Now, it doesn’t determine fulfillment.  A person could be very fruitful and not like it one bit.  Or they could be really fulfilled and an absolute failure at the role.  But if your team is going to be a winning team, you’ve got to do more than get the right people on the bus.  You’ve got to take the next step and help your team get into the right seats.

So here’s the critical question: Do you have the ability to ask people to move to the right seat?  Why is that the critical question?  Easy.  If you can’t move your players into the right seat…they’ll never really contribute to the level that they could.  And that is the end in mind.

Want more?  You can order your copy of Good to Great right here.

The Right People in the Right Seats
  • Marcus Buckingham in “Now Discover Your Strengths” wrote about the same theme: how to get the right people in the right jobs – to optimize an organization’s performance and, not so incidentally, to enable people to gain the satisfaction of using their best talents more often – and around others who were as well. As a author/speaker, I see this as one of the top two or three reasons that an organization does not reach its potential.

  • Great observation! Buckingham’s take is right on the money. Isn’t it amazing what a difference it makes when people end up in a spot that really fits them?