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Right person, right place

Exercise is a key component of a healthy lifestyle. However, not all forms of exercise are for everyone. Personal preference, physical limitations or a combination of both may dictate your workout plan. From cycling, to group fitness classes, to Wii Fit bowling, there are numerous activities you can participate in to boost your mood, control your weight, relieve stress and more.

Regardless of what you choose to do for improved wellness, it is important to recognize your workout style and preference, and use this awareness to make sure you are working out at the right intensity and duration and doing the right exercises for you. Make sure that everything you do is focused on what’s right for you.

As a business leader, focusing on what’s “right” can be a major factor in your organization’s growth and success. Shirley Poertner had a great post last week about Jim Collins' latest book, “Great by Choice.” Being a huge proponent of Collins’ work myself, for this post, I decided to return to his first international best-seller, “Good to Great,” in which Collins introduces the idea of “right person, right place” in his “first who, then what” concept.2012mar14_jimcollins

At the core of Collins’ “first who, then what” philosophy is the idea of attracting and retaining talented individuals. He tells readers to think of themselves as the bus driver and their company as the bus. Collins explains that “those who build great organizations make sure they have the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats.”

The first part of Collins’ claim may seem intuitive as it is standard best practice to hire top candidates and terminate poorly performing employees. It is the last part that I find the most intriguing; the notion that, in addition to getting the best people on your organization’s bus, you must also make sure that they are in the right “seats.”

It is more than simply hiring talented people; you need to make sure their role and duties within the organization are playing to their strengths rather than their weaknesses. Evaluate whether a person is adequately fit for their job; would they fit better in a different department or with different responsibilities? In order to accomplish this, you have to really get to know your employees and get to know them within their roles; you can then use your knowledge of the company and strategic intelligence to move people around until they find a good fit.

Create opportunities for your employees to shine. Hold leadership development seminars or annual conferences where you invite employees to share ideas and give feedback. These events will give you invaluable employee insights and help you identify individuals who could potentially take on larger roles within your organization.

Several years ago, we went through a visioning process for Iowa Health System. After several strategic planning sessions, it was obvious that an important element of our continuing success would be a strong focus on moving the right people to the right positions. Since then, making sure the right person was in the right position for his or her talents and experience has influenced every decision I make. This has led to more engaged, more fulfilled employees and overall, a better-running “bus.”

I will leave you with a quote that I think sufficiently sums up why Collins’ method works and why I apply this philosophy in my organization.

“For, in the end, it is impossible to have a great life unless it is a meaningful life. And it is very difficult to have a meaningful life without meaningful work.” -- Jim Collins

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