top of page

I Wish I Knew: Are My People In The Right Roles?

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

I’ve got a battle to fight. I wish I knew whether everyone’s on board, or will they run for the hills when the first shots are fired?

You know how important it is to have a team that supports your mission. Energized, engaged players thrive in the right environment. Position your resources for optimal value – passion, capability, education, style, strengths, winning the future.

But what optimizes talent within an organization? It’s really more alignment than management. Do you have your tribe? Do you have your people in the right seats on the bus? Are they going in the right direction? And how do you know?

Here are some basic guidelines for optimizing talent within your organization:

· Develop a process to review the alignment of talent to value

· Don’t assume resources will optimize themselves. It takes effort.

· Motion breeds clarity. Get moving! Task leadership to support and drive the process.

There’s a common misconception that an HR Department is the right place to develop and nurture talent within an organization. But the kind of support HR provides is typically superficial at best, and counter-productive at worst. However, teams don’t usually align on their own. Maybe you’ve wondered whether greater alignment is even possible. Why not just fire people and start over?

What a waste of time, money, and energy! If you learn to work with what you have, and coach folks toward doing a better job, you’re not only getting more bang for your buck, you’re breaking the cycle of churn that keeps managers up at night, and has everyone scrambling for position.

Right People in the Wrong Role = Poor Alignment of Resources and Lackluster Results!

Here are four powerful tactics to align your team:

1. Get the Background

2. Understand the Good, Bad, & the Ugly

3. Communicate!

4. Listen Actively

Get the Background:

I once took on a new role reporting to the president of an industrial chemicals company, who put me in charge of operations. My first assignment? “You need to fire these two senior managers.”

Wait a minute! I wasn’t sure that I agreed with that decision, and I knew both of these employees. So I didn’t just jump and act. I worked to understand the current state of things and how we’d gotten to this place. I needed to make sure of the right move before making an irreversible and likely litigation-prone decision.

Understand the Good, Bad, & the Ugly:

When I looked over their CVs, I started to understand. We had a very technical person – a Master’s in Chemical Engineering – in a “people person” role. He was most decidedly not a “people person!” A perfectly nice guy, but utterly out of his depth in interpersonal negotiations. Meanwhile, they had an excellent “people guy” handling a deeply technical process involving specialty chemicals, a job for which he lacked the necessary background.

We had our “tribe” but we had them in the wrong places. And firing both of them would mean that we’d have no tribe at all.


Human engagement matters, so do it. You don’t know if you don’t ask. Have a look. Have a serious listen. Take action, and own the outcome. I sat down with each of these employees, asking if they’d consider moving into the other’s role. Sure they would! So we literally switched them, resulting in dramatic improvements.

Listen Actively.

To the president, the transformation of these two employees seemed like magic. But really, it was the result of active listening and follow-through, important traits we cultivate at ClearPeg.

Communication is always about agreeing what’s important. Competent professionals adjust and re-tool their communications on the fly. This chart illustrates the variety of communication styles people possess. By identifying how you’re similar to and different from the people you engage with, you’re better able to establish stronger relationships and lead the way to consensus and positive outcomes.

Sounds simple, right? But this approach takes time and effort, like most things of value do. And the rewards are substantial. You’ll soon notice the effect of optimal alignment on morale, revenue, cash flow, reduced costs, and new opportunities.


ClearPeg was founded in 2021 around a vision of helping people maximize their potential through coaching. Learn more >

9 views0 comments


bottom of page