They Fit Or They Quit

The often-unspoken part of any job, is the role a person is expected to perform that goes way past the boundaries of the job itself.  These expectations known as “role creep”, can cause an increase turnover, and it is usually the best people who leave first.  Technical people like engineers who were hired to design and build, but who are now required to sell.   IT professionals getting pulled into marketing meetings to talk marketing strategy.  An operations leader who finds themselves leading a sales team that includes a company attorney.  Here’s a new one; what human behaviors naturally coexist with a cross department called Artificial Intelligence?  Organizations must take measures to look past the job that their people were hired to do, and understand how people fit an entire role that often evolved over time for an individual or leader that was not present at the time they were hired.  Eventually it comes down to they either fit or they quit.

Hiring for job fit is critical enough, but understanding how people fit an entire role is huge and should certainly be assessed for pre-hire.  Unexpected roles that evolved past the job somebody was hired to do as well as uncommunicated roles that new hires were not informed about pre-hire is one of the primary reasons good people leave.  Frequently, good people resort to storming out of a meeting screaming remarks like “leave me alone and let me do my job”.  Their job is now an entire role, nobody saw it coming, but the expectation remains anyway so get it done.  Yet the organization didn’t make the effort to support this person with an understanding of what behaviors are going to make their new world a good world.

Cross department roles and responsibilities are a normal part of today’s organizational landscape.  That’s just what it takes and with the right behaviors in the role, this is a really good thing.  But is the organization taking measures to hire the right people who fit today’s role?  Does the organization know how to determine what behaviors determine success and how to uncover matching behaviors in new hire candidates?

Yes, the organization will achieve optimal performance from people when they are naturally wired to perform the job they were hired to do.  It is critical to assess for that with the current leadership and at pre-hire.  In addition to leaders leading their respective teams, they will inevitably be called on to lead or at least contribute to cross department teams and how does the organization know with reasonable certainty that they can be successful in that role.  Project leaders need to excel in an individual role but to drive projects, they also need to influence people that aren’t on their team but are remotely included in their project.  What behaviors make for an effective relationship in this environment?  What behaviors make the process of influencing other people more fluid?

Most notably, there are specific behavioral norms that restrict or enable cross department communication, and these behaviors can be assessed for with remarkable accuracy.  A leader whose behaviors are effective with their own team, may repel another cross department team and turn them off thus causing mass confusion and leaving an initiative in limbo.  This leader could use to understand what behaviors negatively or positively fit cross department collaboration so they can improve their success.

Think of people and cross department relationship like individual ingredients coming together with the goal of baking a cake.  Every ingredient in a cake has little to no value pre-bake.  When put together, some ingredients will fight each other, and some ingredients will work together to make something really worthwhile.  It is critical to know this ahead of mixing the ingredients.  When it comes to mixing people, it is imperative that people understand how their natural behaviors will be an asset or a detriment in building relationships that work together to drive the organizations strategic goals and extend past the job to make roles fun and rewarding so people fit instead of quit.