Matching talent to exactly the right roles is never easy. Nor does this task ever end. Not because there are always new people, but because people and their skills, talents, and aspirations change quickly. To excel, organizations and leaders need to evolve with changes in people, too. Keeping pace with those changes is what it means to put the right people into the best seats where they can succeed.
While there are a myriad of factors to consider, the first step is to determine what experience and skill is required to succeed in each role. This analysis serves as the foundation from which good decisions can be made. Aligning the skills team members possess with the roles they might play naturally occurs next.
Yet, exceptional leaders and organizations add an important step. Of the utmost importance in this calculus is to consider the potential of team members. Who is ready for the next challenge? Who has gained the requisite experience recently? How have people on the team evolved their skills and understandings? This assessment should be ongoing, not reserved for annual or biannual reviews.
When leaders wait to assess talent, they often miss the subtle changes essential for understanding who is ready to sit in another seat. The continual tracking of progress, experience, and outcomes gives leaders insight about how quickly people are developing. Checking in frequently to understand how stretched people feel in their current role and how impatient they are to try something new is also critical.
In high-performing teams and organizations, redeploying talent and placing team members into different roles is commonplace. Sustaining the current work product blinds leaders from seeing what is possible. That flaw often derails a thorough analysis of both the seats and the talent. Learning to reshuffle the deck more frequently is how the best leaders put the right people in the best seats and retain their talents for years to come. There’s an ace in the deck that needs to be played right now. Go find it.