The Right Pieces to the Puzzle

Great organizations and winning teams do not happen by accident – they are built. Many companies hire to fill in slots. They may need an events manager or a marketing person, so they hire people who have the qualifications that fill the requirements of the job at hand. That and their track record are the primary basis for the hire, and quite often, how the person will fit into the organization is skimmed over. In my mind, if a person is hired solely by HR, it’s a huge red flag, and there’s a solid chance that the hire will not fit with the group that HR is helping to fill the vacancy.

Hiring people is not an easy task. There are frequently miscues and issues that do not surface until it is too late. So, is it better to solidify your organization by adding new people into the mix or by promoting from within? I am a huge fan of building an organization with people you already know and have a deeper understanding of how they operate. I have always have been a big supporter of hiring from within or bringing someone new into the mix who may be new to the organization, but is not new to you. This increases the likelihood of success in building that cohesive team.

I do not believe it is necessarily all about the job description; I believe it is all about the person you are hiring: their drive, loyalty, and how they will complement all the others within the group. When I had a staff of 40 with the Patriots, and we had a need for certain responsibilities but didn’t have the person with the group who precisely fit the job description, I assigned key responsibilities to someone who had proven him or herself, and then just brought on a person who lacked the experience we were looking for, but had the right make-up and characteristics that would lend themselves to the team in the long run. I fully admit, I learned this from how the Krafts ran their businesses. They are the masters of taking a key loyal employee with experience in a particular area and putting that person in a leadership role in an entirely different area of the organization.

This model, to which I wholeheartedly subscribe, is not about finding the most qualified person for the job, per se, but is all about finding the right person to contribute on some level to the organization. If you hire people in this manner, there is a greater chance that they will contribute to the organization, even if it’s in an area different from where they were originally hired. The key is the person, not the job description. That is why when someone who fits into your organization comes along, you should absolutely bring her or him aboard, even if you do not have a vacancy in their area of expertise. The right people are worth finding a spot for. That temporary solution will most likely turn into a long-term win.

In selecting the right people, it is key to make sure you have ample diversity within your group. I am not talking about race or culture in that statement, I am referring to having people who have different skill sets, personalities and talents. The only discriminating factor should be whether the person works hard or not; there is no room for lazy or “that’s not my job” mentalities. You want to have a nice mixture of different characteristics within your employees, not only so they complement each other, but also so they can challenge each other.

Many people from outside the Patriots organization saw my department’s success as a by-product of great marketing and sales. I always knew that notion wasn’t totally accurate. Our success was due to having the right people, in the right positions, at the right time. That is what fueled the marketing ideas and sales process. Everything came together because we gelled as a team. Not all the best talent, but definitely the best people to work together to get things done.

As you hire, consider the thought that the pieces of your puzzle are not job descriptions and titles and specialized experience, but the right person who fits nicely with what you have already assembled. There are many talented people out there, but does the talent matter if it disrupts the rest of the group? Don’t just hire for need, hire for advancement. Great team builders are always searching for the right pieces to their puzzle.


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