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Strategic Planning Series Part 3:

The People Component

As Jim Collins taught us in Good to Great, it all comes down to getting the right people into the right seats. We all know this to be true, but the EOS model helps us to put it in practice.

How do you know who the right people are for your firm? As part of the V/TO exercise we reviewed in Part 2of this series, we identified the need to define your firm’s core values. Having gone through this exercise, you can now easily identify the right people – they are the individuals who share your company’s core values. They thrive in your culture and make your organization a better place to be.

Now, how about those seats?

The Accountability Chart

Part of the EOS process is the important exercise of creating an accountability chart (what most of us refer to as an org chart, but with more thoroughly defined information). By identifying the different positions in your firm and what skills and traits are necessary to be successful in those positions, you are able to objectively determine whether an individual is in the right seat for their skill set and strengths.

Right Person, Wrong Seat

You may often find that you have the right person in your firm, but they are in the wrong seat. They are a pleasure to work with. They meet all of your firm’s core values. But despite every best effort, they are just not successful in their current position. They can’t be left to their own devices to work independently due to continuing errors, missed deadlines, etc. They are a drain on your resources because they require so much attention. You have to remember that decisions must be made for the greater good – the firm – above the welfare of any one individual. If you can find a position in your firm that plays to their strengths, move them. If you can’t, you need to stop preventing them from finding a place where they can be successful and respectfully release them.

Wrong Person, Right Seat

You will also often find that you have the wrong person in the right seat. They are stellar performers when it comes to their work product. They bill 2000+ hours and seem to make the firm a lot of money. Unfortunately, their behavior is such a poor fit in your culture that they breed discontent throughout the firm. You may think they are making you a lot of money with all of those billed hours, but you cannot quantify the lost productivity in others due to the constant frustrations they cause. They may also be a cancer that will spread to others in your firm. Eventually, if you don’t release the wrong person, the right people will leave to work where they can be with individuals who are a cultural fit.

Do They GWC Their Position?

Sometimes you have individuals who, on paper, should be successful in their position. If you are finding it difficult to pinpoint where the problem is, ask yourself these questions: Do they Get It? Do they Want It? Do they have the Capacity to Do It? It isn’t enough to have the skills necessary to perform successfully in a position. An individual needs to really get it – not just what they must do, but why it is important. They also need to want it. I once worked with an attorney who should have been a perfect employee. She was smart, pleasant, and checked all of the initial boxes. The problem was, she didn’t want it.

Hire Smart

Once you have the right people in the right seats, it is important to use your core values and accountability chart as guides when hiring new employees. You should hire, fire, review, reward, and recognize based on those core values. You will find that your hiring success ratio will increase if you evaluate applicants’ core values before their skills.

When you have successfully fit the right people into the right seats, you will find that all of the pieces have come together to create a cohesive and successful team.

For assistance with your strategic planning, contact For more information on the EOS system, check out Gino Wickman’s book Traction.