Skip to main content

Right People Right Seats: Looking at 4 Key Scenarios for Employees

Right People Right Seats

The Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS) has a particularly effective way for organizing employees within your organization called Right People — Right Seats. While this is a nuanced process that takes time and effort,  their system is a great way to look at employee management because it can quickly diagnose what the problem is and how you can solve it.

Hiring processes are a huge part of how we bring your purpose to life in your organization. Your employees are your company, and the way they operate within your organization will also define it. So, when it comes to hiring, firing, reviews, and more, it’s incredibly important to have an accurate read on where they stand.

In today’s article, we’re going to take a quick look at the four different scenarios involved with this system, what it means for your organization, and what’s at stake if you don’t address them. And, if you haven’t read my article about The Benefits of a Value-Based Hiring Process, I’d suggest reading it before moving on. It can offer some key background information for what we’re talking about today.

First, let’s take a quick look at what we’re referring to from a high level. Obviously, there are two key components to this system—people and seats. The “person” side refers to the potential or existing employee and the “seat” refers to the potential or existing role in the company. Here are some characteristics of the ideal on either side:

Right People:

  • They share in your core values and embody them on a regular basis.
  • They’re team players and generally people want to work with them.
  • They add to your culture and are excited to generate growth.
  • Simply put, they’re easy to get along with and don’t create friction.

Right Seats:

  • The employee performs to the best of their ability, meeting deadlines and expectations.
  • They don’t create extra work for their co-workers.
  • They work hard but aren’t constantly exhausted and overwhelmed—or bored.
  • It’s not just a job or a paycheck and they love what they do.


Here are four different scenarios that can play out:

1: Wrong Person — Wrong Seat

The most obvious scenario, I think, is this one. If one of your employees isn’t sharing your company’s values, has an attitude problem, and isn’t performing in their role, you simply have the wrong person for the job and for your company. It’s time to either let them go or pass on them as a candidate for your company. While this category is important to recognize, you generally know it when you see it, and it’s by far the most pressing issue to solve among your employees or potential candidates.

2: Right Person — Wrong Seat

Now, let’s dive into a little bit more nuanced situation. This scenario is one of the most difficult situations you can encounter as a manager of employees because, as we outlined above, you like being around this person. They’re committed to the vision of your company and their co-workers like to work with them as well. But, they’re not in the right spot.

This could be for two reasons—the seat is either too large for them, or it’s too small for them. Either way, it’s a problem that needs to be addressed. First, if they’re overwhelmed, then it’s going to affect the performance of your organization. Regardless of how well they’re liked, co-workers and your business are eventually going to take a hit. It’s inevitable.

On the other hand, if your employee is overqualified—acting bored, always requesting more work, and capable of more—it’s going to play out with them finding a new job or worse, becoming listless in their own daily performance. It’s an untenable situation that can only last for so long. But, the good news is that it’s not unsolvable.

The hardest part of hiring is finding someone who can align with your company’s values and fit into the overall culture. You have that person, they just need to be put in a better position. And sure, this may mean you need to let them go. But, it could also mean finding a new position within the company or even promoting them to take on new responsibilities and step into a more challenging role.

3: Wrong Person — Right Seat

Now, when you encounter the opposite within your team, it can lead to many different problems. And, this scenario is particularly difficult because this person is good at their job—they’re performing at a high level, meeting and exceeding standards, and doing everything asked of them from a logistical perspective. 

But, there’s still a problem and the symptoms of this problem can be much more subtle. If you notice an employee continually criticizing the direction of the company, creating dissension, or even rolling their eyes during company meetings, you need to pick up on this. It means they’re not aligning with the values and mission you’ve put in front of them.

Unfortunately, and unlike the previous scenario, this can be a much more difficult problem to resolve without firing this person. You may want to try talking to them and getting to the root of the attitude problem, but it’s most likely just a personality trait that doesn’t fit—and another reason you need to read my article on value-based hiring.

Generally, it’s important to let this person go. Their attitude is going to spread throughout your team and hamper not only performance but motivation as well. It’s best to part ways, regardless of how well they perform in their position.

4: Right Person — Right Seat

I saved the best for last. The goal of our work in your culture is to align your values and your team. When that happens, you land in the ideal scenario—the right person in the right job. It’s a beautiful thing to behold, where the line between employee and family blurs, and someone buys into your vision wholeheartedly. You know it when you see it. This person is a delight to work with, performs at a high level in their job, and solves problems for your organization. Keep them at all costs.

Of course, it’s not always easy to get into the situation, especially as your organization continues to grow. That’s why we do what we do at AM, to help you establish a foundation for your company so you can have more of the right people in the right seats. We can help you and your team establish practices and principles that will guide you through hiring and employee management, so you can refine and distill your team to operate at full capacity. 

To learn more about right people right seats and our process and how we can make it a reality for your company, reach out to one of our representatives.