“The right people in the right seats on the bus … “

We spend most of our day (and sometimes much of our night) in the workplace. For many, this time is neither creative nor satisfying. For some, this time is almost like a prison sentence.

Many of the lawyers whom I coach have workplace issues involving their relationships with colleagues, staff and sometimes even clients. With a little help, we’re able to cross these berms and become more productive; sometimes we’re even able to enjoy our work more.

Thus, when I recently received a note from Roger Herman, a workplace consultant, his words rang true:

“… we strongly recommend that employers carefully evaluate each employee. You’re looking for suitability and match. Does this person fit well in his/her present position? Is there a better opportunity? Does this employee even belong on the team? Sometimes this kind of evaluation process uncovers a need to give an employee ‘a creative career redirection opportunity!’

“There’s an emerging movement in selection that deserves attention. The concern is to have the right people in the right seats — for the right reasons. The new emphasis is on values—the employer’s values and the applicant’s values. Are they congruent? If the candidate is not joining the company for the right reasons, for both the worker and for the employer, there will not be a good fit. Without a good fit, the employment relationship will not last and will be less than comfortable—and less than fully productive.”

Roger was reflecting on Jim Collins now classis work, “Good to Great,” in which Collins spoke about corporate leadership. Collins said that it’s important to have the “… right people in the right seats on the bus … ” In other words, creating the right team is perhaps the greatest responsibility of great leaders.

Lawyers work hard, spending many hours in their efforts to meet clients’ needs and objectives. Their staff must share their work ethic, their values and their belief in the good being done for clients. Without that “congruency,” as Roger Herman states, their will be less than a satisfactory work environment, less than a satisfactory result for the clients and less profits for all concerned. We deserve better than this — we deserve to be emotionally as well as financially satisfied — from an activity in which we spend so much of our waking hours. (Just my opinion!) And we deserve to have staff and employees equally satisfied with their work environment as part of our team effort to benefit clients!


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