Most of us are familiar with the Jim Collins quote, “Get the right people on the bus in the right seats.”   A winning coach on a sports team would never put a player in a position where they do not leverage his or her strengths — yet we experience this often in the workplace. So how can we fix this? To maximize the productivity of individual team members, consider the following:

  • Identify what success looks like. What are the outcomes you want? Is each function/role in the team clearly defined?
  • Once success is defined, develop a list of expected skill sets and behaviors needed to get results.
  • Assess your team members’ strengths. There are several tools to assist you in determining strengths. I like the assessment tool Strengths Finder 2.0 a book created be Tom Rath and the Gallop organization (recently rebranded as CliftonStrengths).
  • Align the right people with the right job. Now it is time to play the matching game: compare the required skill sets of each role with the strengths of the individuals on the team. The question to ask yourself: “Are my people in roles in which they can leverage their strengths?”

As a leader it is our responsibility to ensure that we have the right person for the job, not just the the company. Fitting in culturally is a great thing, but they also have to demonstrate aptitude and success in their role. If they aren’t, it is our job to fix the problem, which can sometimes mean finding new talent.

John Buchan said, “The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people, but elicit it, for the greatness is there already.” Go find your team’s strengths and you’ll see greatness in your organization.