Getting The Fit Right

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“None of us is as smart as all of us.”

–     Ken Blanchard (b. 1939), American business author and thought leader

My first exposure to Ken Blanchard was The One Minute ManagerSince then, a few times each year, something he’s written or said comes in to play for me.

This week, it’s about “fit.”

A client of mine is in strong growth mode.  It’s a great business, and the entire organization “gets it.”  They also need to add several team members to accommodate their hard-earned growth.

Talent is easier to come by than fit.  Intelligence is easier to find that the right “fit.”  A job description is easy to hire to, a culture isn’t necessarily more difficult to hire to — it’s just much, much, much (yes, that was three “much-es” with italics added for even more over-the-top emphasis!) more important to get right.

Some companies / authors refer to it as the “No A**hole” rule.  It doesn’t have to be that harsh.

It might be as simple as finding someone who adheres to Blanchard’s point above — and who’s willing to get smarter every day, along with the rest of the team.

How do we get it right?

  1. Let the team interview the short list candidates and give them a safe place to provide open, candid and direct feedback.
  2. Defer to the team if there’s more than a little doubt.  Turnover is expensive, and good cultures won’t tolerate weaklings in the pack.
  3. If you’re in love with a candidate but worried about the “fit,” trust your instincts.  There are lots of potential boyfriends and girlfriends that look pretty good near closing time.  Step.  Away.  From.  The.  Bar.
  4. Be willing to invest in the new hire’s success, and provide them at least one, and probably two mentors or partners within the team.  Teach those team leaders to speak directly to culture and to transparently work with the new team member to make them a) feel welcome and b) get productive quickly.  Oh, and c) encourage them to gather insight from the newbie that might help you build an even stronger team based on the new perspectives.
  5. Don’t hesitate to cut when you get it wrong.  You’ll know, instinctively, if the “fit” seemed right, but isn’t.  If it isn’t, it just isn’t.  Pull the chute.

When all of us get smarter, and when all of us make one another smarter, there’s no stopping us.  Getting the fit right is table stakes for that kind of approach to our business.


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