In my line of work, I see a lot of what I like to call “organizational mismatch.” I see it often, especially in companies that have experienced significant growth in a short amount of time. What it means is that you have the wrong people with the wrong skill sets for their positions.
This doesn’t mean they are bad people. It doesn’t necessarily mean you should let them go. It means you either moved an employee into, or hired an employee for, a role for which they do not qualify. Moreover, they may never acquire the skills for their position because some skills cannot be taught.
How does this happen? In my experience the reason companies place employees in the wrong roles stems from three sometimes interconnected scenarios:
1. Growth. Growth can be a blessing and a curse. When a company experiences rapid growth its leaders frequently scramble to fill necessary roles and end up filling them with the first candidates that come along, or with internal candidates who “know the business.” The organization grew so fast it ended up “plugging holes” with people instead of taking the time to match the right people with the right roles.
2. Over Confidence. In the midst of growth, or after the exit of a key employee, leaders may believe the team will simply “pull it together and make it happen” no matter what. The company shifts people around or doubles up duties because it seems like the easiest solution. In the long run, this is the most damaging solution, both to the team and the bottom line.
3. Comfort. Sometimes leaders mistakenly think they can repurpose top performers from one area into new roles in other areas. They believe the past success in one position equals proficiency in another. Let’s put it this way, would you want your dentist performing your open-heart surgery?
Unfortunately, when organizational mismatch occurs many business leaders don’t recognize the problem because they are too busy counting pennies at the cost of big dollars.
It’s important to understand that no one person—even your best employee—has the right skill set for every department or every role. Building a strong organization that is efficient, and therefore profitable, requires the “A” players in the roles best suited for their skills. This all begins with strategy. An effective organizational structure needs to support a business strategy that is tied to goals.
Take a hard look at those employees who are not living up to your expectations. It could be because they were mismatched into the wrong role for their skills.
Howard Shore is a business growth expert who works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please visit his website at activategroupinc.com or contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7216 or [email protected].