Right person, right seat.

Have you heard the phrase “right person, right seat?”

When it comes to growing a business, having the right person in the right seat is essential.  Most leaders - like you - understand that. However, many leaders understand the concept, yet fail to implement techniques to achieve a “right person, right seat” solution.

The first thing you must understand is there are many factors to ensure you have the right person in the right seat, but none as important as their conative response; how individuals take action. Typically we see organizations assess their teams based on the cognitive (intelligence or skill) and affective (feelings) measures, yet miss the instinctual actions that are associated within both of them.

“Right person” is first, but it’s really not.

In the phrase above, right person leads right seat. However, that’s not necessarily how organizations should approach building productive teams. First, they must ask the question, what is the right seat? Although this question seems pretty straightforward, it’s not. Its answers take on many different forms when you truly look at the variables present. Variables such as position responsibilities, skills necessary, growth goals, and the like.

Your first step in putting the right person in the right seat is to identify the instincts necessary for the right seat by completing the Kolbe C™.  This provides an objective measure for ideal instinct in the seat so we can ‘cross off’ some of the factors mentioned above.

If you take too many “rights,” you’ll forget about what’s left.

One question that often goes undiscussed is how the “right person” will operate within the current ecosystem of the organization. Specifically, how he/she will work with other team members, handle stress, lead within their roles and responsibilities, and deal with the other challenges. One way to help answer this question is to do an internal evaluation of your team (it’s needs, goals, personalities, etc.). By evaluating what’s left (or what’s current) of your team, you’ll be more prepared to bring in the “right person.” Too often I’ve seen companies hire the “right” person - with good and ambitious intentions - without thinking about what’s left, and that has been detrimental to the productivity of the organization as a whole.

“Right” sure looks different from here (and there).  

Although subtle, “right” looks different to different people. Think about the general relationship of a manager and employee. One is tasked with building a team and vision and the other with executing a certain element of that vision. In both instances, there are subtle differences in regards to “right” including the following:  

  • Manager: Looking for the “right person” to make the team successful.

  • Employee: Looking for the “right seat” for them to be successful.

Even though both of these these perspectives are valid, the differences can result in major scalabilities issues if organizations aren’t willing to understand the importance of both. Specifically, organizations must be willing to look at the desired direction (vision) and the individuality of their teams (culture), and how they coexist.

How are you assessing and measuring what is “right?”

The great part about getting the right person into the right seat is that you don’t have to fly by the seat of your pants. By bringing the Kolbe C™ Index into your team, you will be able to quickly identify the power of having the right person in the right seat; and understand the loss in productivity that exists when we have a wrong person or wrong seat situation.

When putting the right person in the right seat, it’s important to understand what comes first - the employee’s instinct. Do not forget about what’s left, and to holistically discern what “right” looks like. If you’re able to do these things, you’ll be well on your way to placing the right person in the right seat.

I do realize this blog is a simplified overview of what can be a highly complex problem. To discuss these questions and themes further, let’s setup a time to connect.


Stephen Tisch