Defining the Right Seat
Updated: Dec 14, 2019
I was working with a client (who I'll call Tom) who just felt overwhelmed. The day-to-day tasks needed to be completed, but he just didn't feel passionate about getting them done. Having to follow up on so many different things on a daily basis was draining his energy. He's a global thinker and is highly creative.
Tom knew he needed some help to shed some of his workload. He asked me: "Should I hire an inside sales person, or a territorial sales person?" To which I responded, "Why hire either?" He was focused on staffing up his sales team, and just hadn't thought about doing something different. He didn't know how to start determining what other role(s) would work best for him and his business.
I led Tom through a short exercise during which we uncovered tasks that were just dragging him down. When people are operating outside of their gifting, they become stressed and easily drained of energy. This is what Tom was going through. He wasn't operating in his gifts. Not only did this seem like a distraction to him – but it truly drained his energy. Yet nurturing the relationships with his key suppliers, working one-on-one with his customers and prospects, or creating new ideas to market his products always energized him. His gifts were constantly pulling at him to do something else – those things that fueled his passion.
Tom and I worked up two different lists. First, the tasks and activities he truly enjoyed working on – those that energized him. The second was of those tasks that he knew needed to be done every day, but he just loathed. "Let's go find someone who wants to do those tasks," I suggested. Further, I counselled him on the temperament of the person that would love and excel doing those tasks as much he loved the others. Armed with a defined role and a temperament that would fit the role, Tom went on a search.
Two weeks later, I pick up a message Tom left me. "Thanks for helping me think through the right seats and what they look like. I haven't had too much experience with the right people in the right seats before. Boy, it's awesome! I'm encouraged, dude!" He put two people at different roles and started handing off some of his responsibilities. He could feel the stress and anxiety fall away. And they were both doing so much better at those tasks than he ever would. Tom was operating in his gifts, and so were these new folks.
Tom got it! Know what the role is and what gifts will be best suited for it, and you have a much higher potential for everyone to excel in their performance.
Having the right people in the right seats is explained by Jim Collins in his book, Good to Great, and included in the "People" component of EOS ®.
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