It’s All About the Fit: A book review by Bob Morris

It’s All About the Fit: A Practical Guide to Hiring an Executive Who Will Increase Your Company’s Value
Lynton Edwards
New Insights Press

Here’s a process that will help companies to locate, attract, hire, and retain “Value Builders”

Whatever their size and nature may be, all organizations need effective leadership at all levels and in all areas of the given enterprise. Moreover, no organization ever has too many of what Lynton Edwards characterizes as Value Builders. He introduces the CompleteFIT® executive search process. It is “structured, disciplined, rigorous, and holistic [based on] proven scientific, state-of-the-art assessment tools to evaluate a candidate’s competencies, motivation, personality-based behavior.”

Edwards correctly stresses the critical importance of determining the specific type and degree of both hard and soft competencies that are needed for value-building success in the position(s) to be filled. Keep in mind, filling one position with an internal promotion creates another position to be filled. In my opinion, one of the first responsibilities of a person who fills a position is to begin training her or his successor. Edwards also suggests, “You must pre-think the standards you need (each0 candidate to meet to provide a context, if you will, so you are not merely judging people in a vacuum.”

He has a great deal of value to say about the importance of “fit,” one of the key elements in organizational alignment.

The CompleteFIT® executive search processs consists of four separate but interdependent components:

o Technical (Experience-Based) Fit
o Personal (Position/Job) Fit
o Cultural (Organizational) Fit
o Ethical (Business Values) Fit

Edwards discusses each thoroughly in Chapter 2.

As I worked my way through Edwards’ discussion of the the CompleteFIT® executive search process
I was again reminded of a Hans Christian Andersen’s tale, “The Ugly Ducking.” In countless organizations, there are “ugly ducklings” and “ugly swans” who are misfits: not in the right location, do what they do best. They are Value Reducers. So-called “ugly ducklings” can become magnificent swans in another pond, as can ugly swans after having been grouped with ducks.

Warren Buffett: “Somebody once said that in looking for people to hire, you look for three qualities: integrity, intelligence, and energy. And if you don’t have the first, the other two will kill you.” Perhaps the single greatest value of this book is that it can help to reduce substantially the number of mishires.

I presume to share this final point: The nature and extent of a “fit” are determined almost entirely by a combination of immediate and immediate needs. People change over time. So do organizations because so do competitive markets and even entire industries. Some positions should be filled by a duck, others by a swan, and still others by an eagle. What’s the best fit for a position in your organization? Lynton Edwards can help you answer that question and then help you to find the person you need. “First things first.”



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