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Right People, Right Way, Right Things

It’s a bit ironic that I’m writing this post now, as we’ve had some performance misses recently. As a result, I don’t feel fully justified in sharing thoughts on what it takes to realize great performance. On the other hand, this is an ideal time to write it, as it’s helpful to keep our basic principles and fundamental aspirations in mind as we consider the refinements we need to make to get back on track.

We try to keep our principles relatively simple. “Right People, Right Way, Right Things” is one of our go-tos. This is shorthand for “great outcomes become possible when the right people work the right way on the right things.” This seems obvious, of course, and therein lies a considerable amount of its power. At the same time, our experience is that RPRWRT is definitely “simple, but not easy”.

I’m going to write this as a series, starting with this introductory post; in subsequent posts I’ll focus separately on what we mean by “Right People,” “Right Way,” and “Right Things.”

By “right,” we’re not implying that there’s only one answer—and that we know what it is. On the contrary, we think there are many paths to success, and “right” is a matter of effectively matching resources and recipes to the task at hand.

It’s also important to note that “right” can mean different things when we’re talking about an individual, a team, or our entire organization. I’ll delve more deeply into this in later posts.

So, in a nutshell, what does RPRWRT mean?

For us, the Right People combine technical excellence with great soft skills. Both are crucial to the business we’re in. One without the other simply doesn’t work. The right people are also self-aware, driven to improve, and committed team players. They’re versatile, they’re thoughtful, and they’re psychologically and emotionally resilient. No matter what they’re doing, no matter what part of their lives it concerns, they want to do the best they possibly can. And, they want to do even better tomorrow.

The Right Way is a combination of culture and practice. Our culture expresses our shared values, the things we collectively believe. These underpin the things we do together, and we have to be aligned in our basic beliefs to have any shot at working together effectively. Our practice includes the practical aspects of what we do (process, for example), and taking advantage of everything we do as an opportunity to get better. 

Of course, we have to identify the Right Things to do in the first place. Not just “right” in the abstract, but the things that align with the strengths and preferences of our people and teams, and that bring us closer to what we want. Internally, this can be challenging, but it gets even more important and nuanced when we have to figure out our clients’ needs and make sure we’re working on the “right things” for them.

There’s more to say about each of these, and I hope this brief introduction merits a closer look at my ensuing posts, which I look forward to sharing soon.

What makes a great teammate? Please see our thoughts in Doug’s latest blog post, “Right People.”