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High Performance: Hiring the ‘right’ people

March 9, 2021 -  By
Game pieces with images of people (Photo: Demianastur / iStock / Getty Images / Getty Images Plus)

Photo: Demianastur / iStock / Getty Images / Getty Images Plus

You may be familiar with the phrase, “right people in the right seats on the bus.” I’m not sure why there’s always a bus involved, but my question is who are these “right” people? How do we know if a person is “right” or not for us?

What we’re really trying to determine is whether or not a person will be a good fit with our culture. This has nothing to do with skills, qualifications, licenses or prior experience. These are important but not the issue at hand.

The cultural fit question has to do with a person’s beliefs and motivations. What type of person are they? Will they fit in and help reinforce the type of culture you want, or will they potentially weaken our culture by not being a good fit?

This question about culture fitness is as important today as it has always been. It is a huge mistake to allow our company culture to be diminished simply because there is competition for talent. Once culture has been damaged, it’s very difficult to rebuild it.

Companies with strong cultures have a clearly defined set of core values. Gino Wickman describes core values in his book, “Traction,” as “a small set of vital and timeless guiding principles for your company.” Core values help to attract the “right” people and weed out the wrong people when they are incorporated into personnel decisions, including and starting with hiring.

Companies with strong cultures have a clearly defined mission. Mission is the underlying reason or purpose for what you do. It has to do with motivation and passion. When we believe strongly in a cause that is near and dear to our hearts, we fully commit ourselves to it. If you’ve ever volunteered for a nonprofit, you most likely did so because the mission mattered to you.

Mission matters and also helps to attract the “right” people and weed out the wrong people, but only if believing in the mission is part of all personnel decisions.

A person who shares your core values and believes in your mission is truly the “right” person. They may or may not possess the skills, qualifications, licenses or prior experience needed for a particular role or seat on the bus. That’s a separate question.

If you keep the culture question top of mind as you are hiring this spring, you will be blessed with the “right” people and will have no problem finding a seat on the bus for them.

Now go forth.

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About the Author:

Phil Harwood is a Senior Advisor with Tamarisk Business Advisors. Contact him at

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