It is a common saying nowadays that if someone is under-performing in a job, it is due more to a job mismatch than to the presence of issues the person in the job may have. The theory is that, if a person is a good fit with the job, with the organization, with the people, with the climate, etc, then we can expect a happy, super-productive employee who gives his all because he feels at ease, he feels at home, he’s doing what he loves and everybody gains. Right? Great! Your organization strives to orchestrate that happy state of affairs, whether by careful recruiting processes, enhancing your manager’s interviewing skills, deploying batteries of psychometric tools (judiciously, no doubt), ensuring that there is an attractive Route of Advancement (ROA) for your people, establishing a culture of open communication, and all the rest of it. Fantastic! How many of you have employee engagement scores higher than 90 percent? 80 percent? 70 percent? No? But you just confirmed that you put the right people in the right places, didn’t you? You redeployed people who weren’t a good fit, right? You did your very best to put round pegs in round holes and square pegs in square holes, didn’t you? What happened?
Let’s ask one or two very simple question. First, if we really did find the “Perfect Match”, then that “Perfect Match” is only for that instant in time, isn’t it? Do individuals grow/ regress? Are organizations static? Do managers and co-workers remain where they are forever? Once you arrive at the logical conclusions, would you say that a more appropriate expression would be “Degree of Flexibility” rather than “Degree of Fit”?
“Degree of Fit” really talks about “Find what you love.” “Degree of Flexibility” talks about “Love what you do.” Words shape perceptions and thoughts. They shape attitudes. They determine behaviour. They forge our destiny. Flexibility has to come form both directions, the employee and the employer.
Stop worrying about getting the exact fit for the job. Make your organization so attractive to the people you want, you have to fend them off your HR folks! And if you’re looking for a job, go for it if you feel it’s an 80 percent fit. Trust me, you’ll live. In fact, you might even come to love what you do! Any takers?