"FIT": The Misnomer Of The Year

By Steve Tennessen

Did you know that Oxford American Dictionaries recently declared the 2012 Word of the Year is “GIF”?  As in “to create a GIF (computer) file of an image or video sequence”  Pop culture likes tinkering with edgy wordplay, even in the workplace.  But while some re-imaginations serve to enrich our corporate speak, others may diminish insightful conversation.

Within the talent acquisition community, the notion of “fit” is once again trendy.  Although too often when companies recruit or evaluate their people, the dynamic concept of fit is reduced to a buzzword that means “someone who thinks and acts like us.”  Few people would debate that a diverse mix of personalities and opinions is good for business, but terribly few organisations have a meaningful approach to incorporating such variety.

Fit is generally about filling the gap in your performance, matching complementary strengths and perspectives, forging that missing link which helps your group elevate to the next level.  Sure, overall you want to build a team that plays well together, but it’s a subtle art to recruit for that unique balance between “more of the same” and “opposites attract.”

For starters, look at what’s already in front of you.  Survey your people to understand what truly motivates and inspires, figure out what actually unites them as a team.  Consider how things actually “get done” within your group, identify the tipping points and what can be done in the moment to move things in the right direction.  Look back at where teammates have asked for help or fallen short, pinpoint what could have made the team successful in that situation.  And where your team has struggled with conflict, reflect on what personality could foster a healthy resolution.

Don’t let “fit” be a one-trick pony, make it work for you.  While screening job candidates, or even reviewing current team members, your x-ray vision is to ask more Why and How questions rather than the What and When defaults.  We all operate in an increasingly dynamic business world, so it’s on you as a leader to make sure your team is equipped to succeed in various environments.

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Copyright © TRANSEARCH International 2012


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