Getting the right people in the right seats

I usually start working with a client when they have hit one of 2 ‘brick walls’ which means they are either in a confident place and want to invest in growing their business or they are in a frustrating place; with a sense of one step forward and one back. Either way, one of my first tasks is to help them create a clear vision for the short, medium and long term that excites and motivates them.

Once this vision is in place then the next task they need to do is identify what the ‘right seats’ are in the business – i.e. create a clear organisational structure that works for the business today and also in the near future. This means identifying what the right functional roles are (i.e. the ‘right seats’) and then mapping the staff to these seats (and note, not the other way around!) – the ‘right people’. This could result in exiting some staff and/or recruiting new staff.

Let’s look at what happens when a business gets it wrong, and they can do this in 2 ways:

Right seats, wrong people

In this scenario, you have identified the best structure for your business and you have matched staff to this structure. You may have some long-term staff that you map onto the structure (rewarding them for their loyalty) but they may not be the best person for the role and ultimately this causes all sorts of problems for the business. They frustrate other team members, they are out of their depth, they fail to deliver.

In the end, you have to do something about this, which either means moving them into the right seat or exiting them from the business.

Wrong seats, right people

In this scenario, you may have created an ineffectual structure, one that won’t deliver the short-term vision, which means you will have created the wrong seats or you may just place the right people in the wrong roles.

You have a motivated team but they are put into roles that do not allow them to flourish. Ultimately this creates team members who are frustrated and demotivated. Eventually, they will seek a more fulfilling career elsewhere.

Of course, there is a 3rd scenario (wrong seats and wrong people) and I think the outcomes of this are obvious.

If you are wondering how to create the right structure or how to identify if you have the right people, get in touch and let’s have a chat (because the answer is longer than a blog post!) but a way to test this out is to ask yourself 3 questions:

  1. Is this the right structure to get us to the next level?
  2. Are all of the right people in the right seats?
  3. Does everyone have enough time to do the job well?

When you create the right structure, identify the right seats and get the right people in them you enable your growth to happen much more easily and with much less pain, so it’s an exercise well worth doing.

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