Right Person, Right Place, Right Time


Finding and keeping the right people is critical to your business’s success and ability to grow. To do so, you must have the ability to effectively recruit, hire, train, and develop talent, as well as assess, coach, and retain skilled employees.

Recently, I shared 10 steps to follow when building a culture of accountability. But what if you’ve followed those steps and your team still hasn’t achieved satisfactory results? For help in getting your team back on track, follow these 10 Steps to Right Person, Right Place, and Right Time.

1. Set Clear Expectations

Clear expectations are the foundation of everything you do when it comes to performance management. To help clarify expectations, ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do I have a clear understanding of what is expected of me? What do I expect of myself?
  • Do the people around me understand my role?
  • Do they understand the relationship between my role and theirs?
  • Do they have a clear understanding of their role and expectations?

2. Continually Assess Performance

To build a high-performance culture, assessing your employees must be a continuous process. It can be scheduled and formal. But it can also be unplanned and informal. For example, consider “dropping in” on an employee when they’re assisting a customer or working on a project. Call your office as an inquiring customer or send a question through email.

Utilize Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to assess performance. Which performance indicators you utilize will largely depend on what’s important to your business, its key objectives, and the employees’ role in fulfilling those objectives. For example, here are a few Marketing KPIs:

  • Customer acquisition
  • ROI
  • Incremental sales
  • Conversion metrics
  • Customer attrition
  • Engagement scoring

3. Be Strategic in Your Succession Planning

Think about the future of your business and how your industry and its consumers will evolve. The talent you have and/or need today might not be the same as you’ll need in a few years.

When developing future leaders within your company, assess their potential on the basis of their competence and engagement, and how they embrace the company’s culture. Do they have strong business fundamentals? Do they connect and engage with other employees, customers, and business partners? Do they embrace, model, and drive your company’s culture?

4. Follow Destination Plans—Don’t Just Fill Jobs

Resist the urge to simply plug employment leaks when they spring-up. Instead, strongly consider your current needs, long-term objectives, employee development plans, and overall hiring priorities. If your “A” employee leaves, who have you developed and prepared to take their spot? Much like customer acquisition, it’s less expensive and more productive to keep the employees you already have and put others on tracks to assume more responsibilities within the company.

5. Train and Develop Your Team

Training and development doesn’t have to be a complicated and systematic process. Here are a few simple things you can do on a shoestring budget:

  • Talk to your employees.
  • Always deliver feedback when it’s hot and fresh.
  • Make time to have focused conversations about their goals and career aspirations.
  • Openly share information about strategy, partnerships, customers, and your business beliefs. As the cliché goes, “Information is power.” It’s your job to find ways to share it!

6. Coach and Mentor

Q: How do you spot an average football team with an average coach?
A: The grass is worn down in the middle of the field. Great coaches and great teams wear out the end zones.

Think about it. You and I owe a portion of our success to someone else. We all have that “someone” in our life that challenges us to think and act differently, to push through difficulties and overcome obstacles, whatever they may be.

Be a great coach. Your coaching should be constant and consistent to effectively clarify and modify performance. Teach others to be great coaches.

7. Build Your Bench

Next man up! It’s an overused sports cliché, but it couldn’t be more indicative of a winning team’s approach. When you follow the first 6 steps, you will have a deep and talented bench that will be ready to perform when their number is called.

8. Recruit the Best

Always stay involved in the hiring process. It’s your company; you set and manage expectations, create and drive the culture, and lead the team through change. Removing yourself from the hiring process is one of the worst decisions you can make as the owner of your company.

Involve your best and brightest employees in the recruiting and hiring process. They already carry great influence within your company, so let them influence the selection process as well.

People are intuitive by nature. If you have an awesome company culture, both forward-facing and internally, you will attract the best of the best.

9. Manage Performance

As a leader, your number one job is evaluating and managing performance. Be honest and direct with your employees; and do so frequently. Explain how and why you reached specific conclusions about their performance. Be generous. Give your employees the tools, advice, and resources to help them improve and grow. Take immediate action when expectations are, and are not, met.

10. If Success Doesn’t Come, Go to the 10 Steps to Accountability

Will Adams

Will Adams

Will Adams is the GM for Small Business Services for GoSmallBiz.com. Will leads the company’s efforts in serving small business owners and their employees through consulting, software, education, employee training, and advocacy. Will is also the co-founder of a successful Software as a Service (SaaS) business that currently serves small museums and family offices throughout North America. In addition to his business interests, Will serves on the board of Atlanta Children’s Foundation, connecting individuals, organizations, and resources to meet the needs of children in foster care.