Fit team members to the work for the best results

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F is for Fit

One of our great challenges of life, is to come to know ourselves. Somewhere around my mid-40’s, I began to get a fairly good idea of who I am and where my talents are. The next challenge? To describe myself accurately to others.

Why bother with that?

Well, in a way, it is to create an “operator’s guide” to provide the greatest value to the organizations and people I might help.

It has not been so easy a task to create that description, we are all different and human beings are often complex; defying simple definition. Recently, I came across a series of blog posts about “assembling a dream team.” In these posts, a business owner invested energy to understand his highest performing team members.

Psychological Profiles of the Dream Team … by Don Fornes

Don Fornes: “Over time, I’ve picked up on some of the characteristics that make the highest-performing members of my team so unique. But I knew I still had a lot to learn. So I decided to engage an Austin-area psychiatrist, Dr. James Maynard, to help me better understand my team …”

From this work, they identified four profiles of their highest performing people (all 4 are linked from the summary page; The Giver, Champ, Matrix Thinker and the Savant).

Two of these overlap for me.

Psychological Profiles of the Dream Team: The Matrix Thinker

“Matrix Thinkers can be some of your most innovative team members: given a flexible, creative environment, they can revolutionize the way your company does business. … a mature Matrix Thinker has their cantankerousness under control, has well-developed people skills, has learned valuable life lessons and can synthesize the inputs they’re constantly taking in from their surroundings.”

Psychological Profiles of the Dream Team: The Savant

“Savants can be some of your highest-performing employees: given the flexibility to follow their routine in a comfortable environment, they can produce top-quality work at an astounding rate. … mature Savants can identify and leverage their talent, and have learned to communicate and work with people effectively …”

Did you follow the links to read the detail blog posts? Why should you?

Each post is about two pages typewritten and covers topics of:

What Makes Them Tick?
What Qualities Do They Have?
Who Are Some Famous People with These Qualities?
What Makes Them Great?
What Challenges Do They Face?
How Do They Perform in Key Roles?
Which Roles Should They Avoid?
How Do You Identify Them in an Interview?

… in short, that “operator’s manual” for these top performing “Dream Team” players.

If you are a manager, this is another opportunity to explore how “we are not all the same”, to understand the value of creating teams with a variety of strengths and how to create the greatest value with those team members.

If you are an HR or HCM professional, how can you bring this notion of “knowing our people to create the greatest value” for your organization (and your people too!)?

I can tell you this, one engagement in a high demand environment earned me an “Excellent” overall review. And yet, much of the work I did was in “roles I should avoid” and in an environment that weakened rather than used my strengths most powerfully. What sorts of “lost opportunities” were there during this time? How might my work be better used to create highly valuable transformation? How long would a person flourish and be content in such a role?

Are there such “only roughly matched” team situations in your organization right this very minute? The probability is high.

Knowing our people is important. I encourage you to read the summary post, then follow the links to each of the Dream Team profiles.

Overall, it will be the equivalent of reading about 10 pages type written. Read, consider and reflect on the material.

Remember this, no matter what you think is at the foundation of your organization’s success, a powerful portion of that foundation is our people. Without great people, well matched in their roles, our chances of great success are greatly reduced.

We owe Don Fornes a debt of gratitude for sharing his work with us. It might just be some of the best time and energy you will invest for months.


When winning … is not defined by the win

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W is for Win-Win

Steven Covey should be given the credit for popularizing an important thought in good management, good business and good human relations:

… we are all stronger and more effective when we strive to accomplish an outcome where we BOTH win.

In his book, the Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, he calls this “Win-Win”. He goes on to say that this is so important that the only other outcome highly effective people will go for is either Win-Win … or NO DEAL.

After 4 decades in the world of business and organizations, this notion is validated by my personal experience. It is what works.

When I try to promote this concept with other people, I often get a lot of push back. What about a war or fighting a disease or SPORTS!?

People can be deeply troubled by the thought that you can have more than one winner.

General George S. Patton, JR.:

“When you were kids, you all admired the champion marble shooter, the fastest runner, the big league ball players, the toughest boxers … Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Americans play to win all the time. I wouldn’t give a hoot in Hell for a man who lost and laughed. That’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. Because the very thought of losing is hateful to Americans.”

Vince Lombardi’s comments on the Pro Football “Playoff Bowl”:

Vince Lombardi detested the Playoff Bowl, coaching in the games following the 1963 and 1964 seasons, after winning NFL titles in 1961 and 1962. To his players, he called it “the ‘Sh-t Bowl’, …a losers’ bowl for losers.” This lack of motivation may explain his Packers’ rare postseason defeat in the 1964 game (January 1965) to the St. Louis Cardinals. After that loss, he fumed about “a hinky-dink football game, held in a hinky-dink town, played by hinky-dink players. That’s all second place is – hinky dink.”

Woody Hayes (of Ohio State football fame):

“Football represents and embodies everything that’s great about this country, because the United States of America is built on winners, not losers or people who didn’t bother to play.”

With quotes from legendary Americans like that, I suppose it is no wonder that I get the push back with I promote the “Win-Win” philosophy.

Here is a video though, that illustrates that “Winning, is not always defined by the Win”.


In a war, if you want to survive, you’ll “play to win”. I will remind you though, that after WWI, the allies punished Germany severely after losing and it sowed the seeds of disaster in WWII. After WWII, the United States and its allies rebuilt the economies of its former enemies; which then became valued and trusted allies.

When it comes to partnering with human beings, I’m still promoting the Win-Win.

Here is a little piece on Wikipedia about Win-Win: