Everybody has a role to play at the company. Some are leaders. Some are followers. Some are figureheads. Some are worker bees. Yes, we all have a role to play. We value some positions and roles more than others. Comparing someone from the Accounting department with someone from the Creative department isn’t really fair, nor does it make sense.
I generally believe that people are either really good for performance or they’re really good for culture. Having the right mix of high culture and high performance people on the team really drives success. While we’d love to for every person to be a high culture and high performance team member, that’s just not realistic.
If you were to rank the people at your company in order from best to worse for performance and then separately for culture, I don’t think you’d be surprised at the results. We know who the high performance AND high culture people are. They’re a rare breed. Those people are the ones a company really needs to embrace, protect, and enable to succeed. That doesn’t always happen.
Did you ever play kickball in grade school? I did. We would pick two captains, one for each team, and those captains would then draft a team. The captains rarely drafted a team of type-A, alpha dog, super athletes. Often they’d opt for an interesting mix of friends, super athletes, funny people, serious players, and the list goes on and on.
I often find myself looking at people I work with and asking myself, would I want them on my kickball team? Are they kick ass? Are they fun to be around? Will they help me win? A kickball team has 10 players, including the captain. If you force yourself to always keep a list of 9 people in mind that you’d want on your team, it’ll help you figure out where to invest your time. The people on the kickball team will help you succeed. They’ll team you things. They’ll keep you loose. But, they’ll also look to you for leadership and mentorship. You can’t mentor everyone. It’s too hard. The kickball team approach let’s you focus your efforts where they’ll do the most good.
Good luck and choose well.