The Entrepreneurial Operating System® wasn’t the first business system to say you need the right people in the right seats. Far from it. When Gino Wickman asked me to read his book, Traction, I had been hearing the idea of right people right seats for years.
But, EOS® is different from most systems for running your business. Instead of just an idea and a few generalities, EOS provides an actual process for putting the right people in the right seats. Here’s how it works.
Before You Can Have Right People Right Seats, You Need Seats
And by “having seats” I mean you need to actually define what jobs you need. That sounds obvious when you say it. And, most people I say this to look at me like, “Duh, Jeff. I need jobs before I take on new hires.”
Sure, that’s part of it. But the more important idea here is that you need the right jobs. You need to sit down and explicitly lay out the structure your company needs to grow. Too often, businesses that grow organically just stick with the structure they had to start with, or they adapt only when absolutely necessary.
When you take the time to build an Accountability Chart™ for your company, you’ll know exactly what skill sets you need to break through the profit ceiling.
Define “Right People”
In a business that runs on EOS, right people isn’t some vague idea that you’ll never really be sure about. It’s a completely defined litmus test that you can apply to anyone in your business at any time. It start with defining your Core Values, then making sure you hire people that embody them, get rid of people who don’t, and filter every decision in the company through them.
And, when I say Core Values, I don’t mean fluffy text on the wall. I mean real values that power your company. They can be anything from “honesty at any cost” to “show no mercy” to “we don’t do business with people we don’t like.”
What they are is up to you, and I have a pretty good guide to defining your company’s values.
For this article, though, our focus is on how the values define “right people.” Simply put, if someone lives by your values, they’re the right person. Or, put another way, they’re the right kind of person. That doesn’t necessarily mean they have the right skill set, but a skill set can be trained. Someone’s values are usually set in stone.
When it comes to right people right seats, Core Values are non-negotiable. If someone doesn’t embody your values, you may as well get rid of them. Rip the bandaid off fast. That’s what I do.
Put Butts In Seats
So, you’ve got the right people. And you’ve got a structure. Now, you need to put someone in each of the roles you’ve defined.
To do that, you need to sit down with your leadership team for a meeting with one goal: fill every role in the Accountability Chart. You lock yourself away until you’ve got it done and you don’t leave a slot empty unless you’re sure you’ve got to hire someone from outside the company.
Here’s where most people screw it up. They try to make a job for every person at the table. That’s so wrong.
You start with the roles (the seats). If you can’t find someone in that room to fill that seat, you look outside the room. You absolutely do not rack your brain convincing yourself that it’s OK to put Robert Nobrains in the role of CFO. If you’ve got a round hole, you don’t cram a square peg in it. You go found a round peg. Sometimes that means making the hard choices and accepting that not everyone in the company has a seat at the leadership table.
Use The People Analyzer™
No, the People Analyzer isn’t some sci-fi gadget you wave over someone and it tells you you should fire them. That would be cool though. I guess I could just program an app to do that at absolute random and sell it for millions.
Anyway, when I say People Analyzer, I’m talking about the very simple tool that acts as your last check to make sure you’ve got the right people in the right seats. Once you’ve used it (click the link above to learn how), you’ll have the right folks in the right seats.
Meet the Founder
Jeff Whittle founded and launched Whittle & Partners in 2011. Before that, Jeff practiced law in Dallas for 15 years and has an additional 20 years of executive business experience. He has run businesses ranging from startups to 300-employee operations.