As companies go through the EOS process, it is not at all uncommon that I see some sort of transition happen in the leadership. This transition might be a change in seats, filling an empty seat, or about 40% of the time, I will see a team member completely transition out of the team. These changes come down to the process of helping people to identify whether they are the right people in the right seats.
When it’s implemented correctly, the biggest thing about the EOS process is that it helps people understand who the right people are. When you find people who share your core values, and then expectations, both yours and theirs, are crystal-clear through your accountability chart, there is no place for anybody to hide. People are smart. And if you’re doing this correctly, the people who either don’t share your core values or don’t fit into their roles will begin to know it, realize they can’t hide, and then self-select out. We often like to say that if you are managing correctly, nine times out of ten people will self-select out before you have to move them out. This, in no way shape or form, means they are a bad person, it just means that they aren’t necessarily a good fit for your organization (or for their role in it).
Having clear core values allows you to make sure you have the right people, and a crystal-clear accountability chart will ensure they can be placed in the right seats. When you have an employee that may be in the wrong seat, clarity will empower them to come to you and say, “I don’t do well in this seat.” Think about the center on a football team. If he is a great teammate, and he shares your values, great. Now, let’s say that you make the expectations for his “seat” crystal clear. He is required to: 1. Read the line. 2. Listen. 3. Move the ball. The ball. 4. Move people. Each of these is required for him to do a great job. Let’s say he is smart, listens well, reads the line well and is very athletic but he only weighs 130 pounds. There is no way he will ever be successful as center. He can’t move people, and no matter how much he wants to be a great center, he will fail. Okay, that is just the just reality of the situation, but if the person still shares your core values, it is your obligation as a leader to see if you can find a different seat that fits their God-given talents in a better way. Can you make that linebacker great as a kicker, or a coach, or something else? This is an extreme example, but you get the gist.
As a teacher of leaders, I know that a lot of leaders can feel bad about this transition process, but here’s why I completely disagree with that guilt. One of my coaching clients has a retail company, and they had a store manager whose numbers were slipping. The manager just wasn’t doing a good job, but he’d been around the company for a long time.
They had been avoiding having a conversation with him for years because they liked him, and he shared their core values. The problem was that his job just wasn’t a good seat for him. Long story short, after a couple years of conflict avoidance, they finally engaged and talked with him. He agreed! He said, “Yeah, I love you guys and being part of this company, but I hate this job, and I didn’t want to let you down.” The company has hundreds of employees, so they moved him to a different place. He took a pay cut, but he’s thriving and loves it and is very happy. Right people, right seats.
We get nervous about changing things, but that’s wrong. If we allow somebody who’s not in the right seat, or not the right fit, to remain in the wrong seat, then we’re not doing our jobs as leaders. And no matter how much we like them, we’re just prolonging their pain, and ours. If, on the other hand, we make the core values and roles clear, they will understand those. Then, most of the time, they’ll self-select out.
If you have questions about how to implement this process within your own company, let us know, and we’re happy to help anytime. We’ll be talking process again in next week’s blog, so be sure to check back to read more.