As a leader, you’ve likely heard that you need to get all the right people on your bus to make progress. 

It’s one of Jim Collins’ biggest lessons from his best-seller, Good to Great. But it’s not that simple—as Collins points out, “There are really three parts of this question of the right people. The first is the right people on the bus. Second is the wrong people off the bus. But third is the right people in the right seats.” 

Unfortunately, this is a challenge for a lot of organizations, and it can lead to a lack of employee engagement and happiness, duplicated roles, a suffering company culture, loss of customers, and eventually a bleak future for the organization as a whole.

Leaders can’t simply get people on the bus—you need to seat them in not only the right seats, but the right sections of the bus and continue to reassign seats as needed to maximize talent, time, and opportunities. 

At The Innovator’s Advantage, we use our Innovation Fitness™ Assessment and Reports to do that. Here’s how you as a leader can get your people in the right seats on the bus and build a team of happy and effective innovators. 

The Secret Ingredient

Most leaders start by assigning their people by job description. Unfortunately, this is also where many leaders slip up. Using just one person’s job description is not enough—you actually need to address the traits of each individual to see how they work within their team.

This includes each person’s motivators, behavioral traits, skillsets, passions, and how all of those align with their individual job and with the team’s goals. This is the secret ingredient to engaging positively productive teams. 

However, all of this measurement requires plenty of resources—which is why we’ve done the lion’s share of this analysis and created the Innovation Fitness™ Team Report.

The Innovation Fitness™ Team Report shows what drives each member of your team, how their behavioral traits affect their work and relationships, and how their skills contribute to value creation. This report is based on the Innovation Fitness™ model that shows how people innovate in six different ways. With the team report, you’re able to see the strengths of your team in a single view to organize them appropriately for each project—and to see where you may need to grow or acquire needed skills. 

How to Get Your People in the Right Seats on the Bus

With the knowledge that each individual is unique and aligns in their own way with the stages of innovation, you can now organize your people. Here are three ways to get your people in the right seats on the bus.

1. Map individuals as a team against existing projects and initiatives with their unique skills, behaviors, and passions in mind. Take a close look at the project and invite those who are proficient in the needed stage at the appropriate time. Ensure you have the right leader for each team and each stage—you don’t want a strong Stage 2 person leading a Stage 1 team. This could cause tension and slow progress.

2. Don’t be afraid to exchange team members based on individual and team strengths either. For example, somebody may be involved with a project, but they aren’t a good match for a specific stage. Rather than forcing them to be a part of activities that won’t feel natural to them, offer flexibility. Inform them of the activity, offer the chance to observe, and find another team member who is more aligned. Bring them back to the project when their skills and passions are better aligned.

3. Continuously evaluate team effectiveness and define how you’ll measure that. How many ideas do you need to generate in Stage 1 and how are you defining and monitoring projects in Stage 2? How well is your team developing projects? How quickly are they experimenting and getting feedback? Ensure you have a way to evaluate team performance through each stage. This will help ensure you have the right people in the right places, and that they are happy and engaged in their work as well. 

Getting your people in the right seats on the bus doesn’t have to be a challenge. Using the Innovation Fitness™ Team Report and these three methods, you’ll soon have a smoothly operating team of effective innovators.

Photo by bruce mars via Unsplash.