#9 The Right People, in the Right Roles, Doing The Right Things

Talent Assessment, recruitment and selection

Do you know what it takes to get the right people, in the right roles doing the right things?

By Terry Thompson & Jay Kipps

It’s time to summarize and set the stage for a number of forthcoming posts regarding the “People” aspect of corporate culture.  To date we have described:

  1. How key the CEO’s approach to corporate culture is and the probable need for his/her behaviour change with respect to prioritization of time
  2. The importance of:
    1. articulating a compelling corporate vision and values and,
    2. establishing an effective corporate communication program.

Now we will discuss the subject that has the most significant impact on corporate culture (and also almost every other aspect of corporate performance) while also being severely humbled by bearing the stigma as the most misunderstood and poorly handled subject by CEOs and managers.  What is this subject with such a personality conflict? HAVING THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN THE RIGHT ROLES DOING THE RIGHT THINGS.

Despite rising to a very senior management position early in life (i.e  30 years old), Terry did not come close to taking the correct approach to the subject of the right people in the right places until his early 50’s and he wasn’t alone. None of the senior managers or CEOs he worked with  for the first 20+ years of his career had managed to get their hands around how to ensure that they had the right people, in the right roles, doing the right things.

More importantly to note is that it was not until Terry significantly upgraded his personal knowledge and skills and materially changed his attitude and behaviour towards the importance of this subject that he was able to achieve the corporate culture goals of:

  1. Improved corporate performance as measured by:
    1. Profitability
    2. Employee engagement
    3. Customer satisfaction
    4. Personal life balance (i.e. hours working vs personal / family time)
    5. Fun at work
    6. Exit valuation of the corporation

So, if the subject of placing the right people in the right positions is so critical, why didn’t we start these articles with it rather than  the CEO’s approach, vision and values, and corporate communication?  If you remember our introductory article on the importance of behaviour changes for personal development, we emphasized the need to start with small, achievable goals and follow with the more challenging goals which require the greatest amount of change.  Starting with the “People” aspect of corporate culture would be equivalent to a sedentary person beginning fitness training with a marathon. Not much chance of a lasting, successful lifestyle change. The same goes for corporate culture.  If you cannot commit to and take the time to effectively deal with the “Personal” aspects first, you will not be able to commit to and take the time to effectively deal with the “People” one.

Now don’t get us wrong, when we say that neither very few CEOs or senior managers take the right approach  we are not saying that we failed to treat people properly and with respect. Our failure was in acquiring the skills and spending the proper amount of time and effort in :

  1. Properly determining the key personnel organization structure of our company (particularly at a management position level)
  2. Properly assessing the people in the key positions in order to determine if they were the right people and, if so, were self-sufficient in those roles
  3. Properly recruiting, screening, and hiring the right people for the right positions at all levels of the company

It is our opinion that any manager can get 80% of the way to being a great manager and having great corporate culture by simply becoming masters of the above 3 items.


Accordingly, one would think that every CEO and manager would devote the correct amount of time and effort to these functions. Unfortunately this is not true for the vast majority of CEOs and managers and is the area that we believe is the greatest weakness of most companies.

It is also the area of most opportunity for those who wish to take the right approach as it will provide a significant competitive differentiator for those who are successful.

Our next article will provide you with “bite-size” guidance as to how you can become an expert in “HAVING THE RIGHT PEOPLE IN THE RIGHT ROLES DOING THE RIGHT THINGS”.

Should you have any questions or feedback regarding the content of this article please email us at Terry Thompson at tthompson15@verizon.net  or  Jason Kipps at Jasonkipps@gmail.com  ©