Make Sure You Hire A Squirrel
Make Sure You Hire A Squirrel
If your organization’s mission is to climb trees would you rather hire a squirrel or train a horse?
The job of a leader is to get the right people in the right place. When the right people are in the right place, an organization operates at its best. When the wrong people are in place, an organization falls apart. The temptation of great leadership is to believe that you can turn anyone into a great producer. This is a noble act, but the truth is not everyone is the right fit for the job.
I had to learn this lesson the hard way over the years. You see, I am a positive person by nature and always want to believe the best in others. This is not a bad thing, but it causes me to think I can simply train anyone to do a job. I have failed many times at trying to turn a horse into a squirrel by asking people to do things they simply were not gifted at doing. I figured with enough hard work I could get EVERYONE on board with the vision and mission of the organization. I tried very hard to turn people into what they would never be. It was a liberating day when I realized not everyone would get on board with the mission, no matter how hard I tried. The fault was not in the person, but in my inexperience to accept that I cannot turn people into what they are not.
The temptation of great leadership is to believe that you can turn anyone into a great producer.
Leaders need to understand that not everyone is the right fit for their organization. The sooner they can realize this, the sooner they will be able to focus on those that do fit. You can get more done with people that are already on board with the vision and mission of the organization than those that are trying to figure out. When someone steps into your organization, you need to make sure they already fit the culture rather than trying to make them fit the culture. This has to happen on the front end of an opportunity, not in the middle of it.
Sometimes a leader is not able to develop the best in an individual because the person’s skills are not the best fit for the organization. In that case, the leader must call the shot and redirect that person to either another position within the organization or ultimately let them go. It would be a disservice to the leader and for the team to keep someone whose skills and personality do not match the team’s mission. The best thing a leader can do is replace them so the individual can find a place in another company that matches their fit. If a team member is consistently bringing a negative attitude to those around them, and will not respond to correction, the leader needs to let that person go, or it will destroy the morale of everyone else. I have found that many organizations wait too long to let some of their people go. They consider them their project and continue to let them get away with wrong attitudes, low productivity, and conflict within the team. A leader has to be very careful not to let one person pull the whole team down. This is a very tough call to make since leaders want to see the best in others. However, there is a time when a leader needs to make the hard call for the sake of the team and let a person go. Just remember what Oscar Wild said, “Some cause happiness wherever they go; others whenever they go.”
If the mission of your organization is to climb trees…hire a squirrel. If it is to pull wagons…hire a horse.