Fit. And we don’t mean exercise…

When we talk about “Fit” for our clients, we rarely are discussing weight loss, heart rates or cholesterol. We are talking about the ongoing need to make sure the work “fits” the people. Notice that sequence in that last sentence, it is not about people fitting the work, it is about finding work that fits the people. And if you have work that needs to get done, but it doesn’t Fit anyone you have, well then you are probably looking at some big changes in who you have on the bus! To be direct, when this issue of Fit isn’t managed, then everything in your organization gets harder. This is one of those inviolable principles. In other words, you can’t fight it, it just “is”. Like gravity, you can overcome it for a while with engines and wings. But as soon as you run out of gas, or fly to slow, gravity takes back over. Or maybe the better analogy are shoes. Ever put on a pair that doesn’t Fit? Or put the wrong shoe on the wrong foot. You don’t change the feet, you change the shoes. Managing Fit for yourself, and the people you lead, is a first and foremost consideration for a leader. You certainly think about it when you are hiring someone. Will this person be able to do the job? Will they share our values? Will they give me their full effort? If the answer to those questions isn’t positive, you don’t want them on the team. But far too often we stop at that first question about “will they be able” to do the work. But it is so much more than “ability”. You are looking for passion, which is the last question about giving their “full effort”. And the middle question of sharing values, is all about Fitting in with the people around them and the long term goals of the organization.

In our programs we often ask people to think about their own overall Fit by a simple question. How do they feel about Monday morning? We think it is the ultimate question of engagement and commitment. Think about it, come Friday, everybody is tired. Pooped. Crispy critters. But why? Let’s think of two extremes on the spectrum and two groups of people on a Friday at 4:30. One group thinks “Get me outta here. I am so tired of this place” and the other second group is “I’m exhausted, spent. Nothing left. It’s all on the field, a triple overtime week”. They may seem similar, but they are so very very far apart. Come Monday morning, that first group has the “*groan* here we go again. Another week in paradise…” mindset. Muster up as much mental sarcasm as you can. But the second group is different. They were exhausted on Friday because they put blood, sweat and tears into the week. They needed a weekend not to escape work, but to rest and recover. Come Monday morning, this group is thinking “outta my way. Lemme at ‘em. New week, watch-out here I come”. Yes, Monday morning is the ultimate test. Not Friday afternoons. So we ask you, how’s it going for you personally? Are Monday mornings “cool”? Or just the first of 5 days before the next weekend. When Fit is not managed well, the organization dreads Monday morning and it shows in the results. There are enough challenges in the 21st Century just to keep things moving along. The last thing you or your team needs are people who don’t really Fit and aren’t excited to be there. Fight for Fit. Where possible, adjust the work to Fit the people. And not the reverse. If you need different people because the work has changed, get on it. It is the pivotal first step in hitting targets, happy customers, smiling stakeholders and making a difference. Without good alignment, it’s like running a 5K with someone else’s shoes. And on the wrong feet. There’s a reason we have that word “Misfit”. And you can’t afford that. Or them.

Keeping you sharp. The Whetstone.