Based on our values and our name, we evaluate whether the people in our company are RPRS, or Right Person, Right Seat. This concept comes from a book by Jim Collins called Good to Great. It uses the metaphor of your company as going on a bus trip, and your first objective is to get everybody on board that should be. Next, everybody that's on that bus should be in the right seat. For the trip to be a success, everybody on board has to be the right person in the right seat.
Sometimes you have the wrong person – an individual who does not align with company values or passion, or who does not exhibit Velocity, Momentum, Ingenium. Other times you have the perfect person, but they're in the wrong seat. E.g., we have them coding in Python, but their strengths lie in embedded systems. It is crucial for us to place them in the right position so they can be as productive as possible.
The easier of the two situations is when an employee is in the wrong seat because that means, "You’re a great person, now we need to find the right fit." Regrettably, sometimes there isn't the right fit, and we miss out on getting to work with that person.
On the other hand, if you're the wrong person, we're going to have problems. If you don't exude Honorable, Results++, and Humble Charisma, there is very little room for compromise. Out of the three values, Humble Charisma is the most forgiving. We can work with you, show you how changing your behavior consistently over time will reshape your attitude. Results++ is partly lenient – we understand there can be a learning curve and you’re going to make some mistakes while adapting to our staggering pace, and those mistakes are going to be addressed in project reviews. Honorable is the most rigid. If an individual is clearly dishonorable in this company, that person will not last, because we're not going to make rules to police you.
The next “right person” determination is summed up by the acronym GWC. You have to get it, want it, and be capable of doing it.
Get it: I understand what we're doing here. I'm not only laying bricks; I'm building a structure. I'm not only designing boards; I'm helping manage diabetes. It means not becoming so caught up in the day-to-day that you lose sight of the bigger picture.
Want it: We compensate you at the market level for your talent and position, but we seek out people who want to be here because of our cause, our culture, and the way we do work.
Capable of doing it: Are you capable, efficient, and can you do it well?
Our culture remains strong not only because we hire selectively, but also because we remove people if they're not the right person in the right seat, and don't GWC that seat (meaning that they don't get, want, or aren’t capable of doing what that seat requires).
The reason we're willing to remove people if they don’t fit our culture is that it keeps the best people here. If you’re not the right person in the right seat, then the best people end up having to complete or redo your work, and the best people won’t stay with a company under those conditions. It’s important that everyone here owns Honorable, is perfecting Results++, is grooming themselves toward Humble Charisma, and is continuously growing his or her capability. True performers learn to trust the organization, and the organization learns to trust its people. Having the right people in the right seats is what makes that possible.
In the next post, we will talk about where we see Velentium as a company in the future.