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5.0 Fit for Peak Performance

5.0 Fit for Peak Performance
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Hiring the right people—the ones who fit with their jobs in terms of competency and behavior and with the culture of the organization—enables individuals to achieve peak performance. And individual peak performance in service of the organization brings the organization closer to its peak performance, our ultimate goal. In order to thrive and flourish, the organization’s culture must nourish each team member, supporting them in service of something bigger than themselves. Finding and hiring the right people is one of the Four Disciplines in the Foundation of Greatness.

The Peak Performance Evaluation Equation

There are three components of fit for an individual in an organization and their job; Cultural Fit in the organization has the heaviest weight based upon our findings. Don McMillan and several other veteran executive coaches we collaborate with at FSA developed this Peak Performance Evaluation Equation:

Warren Buffett’s philosophy on hiring the right people illustrates this same concept:

“In looking for someone to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity (culture fit), intelligence (competency fit) and energy (behavioral fit),” said Buffet. “But the most important is integrity, because if they don’t have that, the other two qualities, intelligence and energy, are going to kill you.”

Why Cultural Fit?

Organizations thrive when each individual has the opportunity for peak performance. Like plants, they need the right environment and nurturing to thrive. The study of athletic teams made it clear that teams with the most five-star players do not necessarily win. There is a shared purpose, a respect and trust in each other, that is more important than the innate talent of the individual players. Michigan State University’s current head football coach, Mark Dantonio, exemplifies this concept well: he recruits many good—but not five-star—players who form a cohesive team and win at unprecedented levels. Clearly, they are seeking something more subjective than talent in those they desire to be a part of their team. He is the first football coach in Big Ten Conference history to win at least eleven games in a season five out of six years.

The Importance of Competency Fit

While we have emphasized the importance of Cultural Fit a great deal, we do so because most leaders value Competency Fit as the most important—and often the only—criterion in hiring. That said, competency does matter, and it has three components:

  • Talent: natural and innate; a raw material we can develop
  • Skill: abilities gained or learned on our growth journey
  • Knowledge: the continually growing base that informs our decision-making

Where and how an individual developed their talent, skills, and knowledge will also affect their level of competency: excelling at a challenging school, earning the interest of an exceptional mentor, and seeing through a difficult project are examples of experiences that augment competency; past performance in other jobs will also shed light on their competency.

The Role of Behavioral Fit

Have you ever dreaded working with someone, even though they were talented and highly competent? Whatever the quality of their work, dealing with their inappropriate behavior was too high a price to pay. There are many behavior assessment tools that can aid in gaging how an individual’s behavior patterns fit with the behavior required for the job. Individual behaviors are generally assessed for peak performance in these categories:

  • Primary categories: risk-taking, sociability, calmness, and detail orientation.
  • Additional categories: positivity, energy, and a passion for the organization’s purpose

Recruiting employees with the right fit, in terms of organizational culture, competency, and behavior, sets the stage to build exceptional teams, which is essential for Great Teamwork, the third of the Four Disciplines of Great Organizations that are part of the Foundation of Greatness.

This post is part of series drawn from Fritz Seyferth’s upcoming book on the Foundation of Greatness.