The Right People on the Team

Learn a Simple Assessment Matrix to Determine if You Have the Right People on Your Team

This blog is about team management and optimization.

Over the past 12 years of building startups, I've learned that the X factor to growth and success is found in the team you build and manage. Successful teams have clear metrics that show if they are winning or losing daily. They have the ability to develop strategies that drive results. They execute those strategies with passion to win and determination to quickly remove the roadblocks that stand in the way.

Successful teams have team members with the right skills sets with the right amount of experience doing the right roles. Successful teams and team members make your life as a CEO or department head an amazing delight. They drive heroic results and make things happen. They surprise you daily and give you confidence. Confidence that creates a catalyst of a high performing team and company culture. 

So how do you know if you have the right people on the team?

The Right People Matrix


Here is a simple matrix called the Right People Matrix. This matrix is super simple, but will help you quickly assess if your team has the right make up to win and win often.

Using the filter of performance and buy-in—you can quickly assess if a member of your team is the right fit to create a winning culture of positive results.

The Right People Matrix uses the filters of performance and buy-in to assess an individual team member and how they influence the make up of your team. 

Buy-In and Performance

The Right People Matrix starts with two simple axes. The vertical axis is buy-in and the horizontal axis is performance. Then to assess a team member the matrix breaks up the vertical axis of buy-in into categories of high buy-in and low buy-in. And the matrix breaks up the horizontal axis into the categories of high performance and low performance. See above.

Assessing a Team Member - Matrix Definitions

Now we have the matrix set up. Let me define the four quadrants so you can quickly assess if you have the right person on your team. You can also develop your own definitions based on your culture and your people strategies.

High Buy-In: High buy-in is all about attitude. This team member is bought into your business and culture. They drive results in the right way. Their characteristics are the following: positive attitude, collaborative, learner, listener, coachable, adapter, improver, and they are a strong catalyst to your winning culture. These team members seek to understand others first before making judgements and they see the positive in people's intentions. They are strong collaborators across multiple departments. You know who they are and they are a bright light in your organization. 

Low Buy-In: Low buy-in team members look for excuses not solutions. They point at others first before they learn how they themselves can improve. They are consistently second guessing direction and vision without bringing any new ideas or data to positively influence change. They create an attitude that spreads like a virus. And most of the time they negatively influence other team members. You know who they are.

High Performance: A team member who achieves goals that drives results. If they miss a goal they learn why and quickly adjust to drive results again. You know who they are and know the positive impact they make on your team.

Low Performance: A team member who consistently misses goals and results suffer. This is not just once or an outlier. The poor results are consistent. Even after you talk and create new game plans, they struggle to drive new results. You know who they are.

Use the Right People Matrix: 4 Team Member Types

This is where the assessment gets interesting. Now quickly assess a team member by using the definitions above or a version of your definitions to place a team member in one of the four quadrants. Now that you've placed them. Let's discuss the results.

High Buy-In and High Performance: This is the ideal team member. What I call the rockstar for your business. Your next steps are to help them continue to grow and provide a strong influence within your organization. Make sure they feel empowered with clears goals and compensation for their results. The more team members like this on your team—the more success you'll have.

High Buy-In and Low Performance: These team members have potential, but their lack of results are really hurting the performance of your business. Answer a few questions: Are they in the right role? Why do you think their results suffer? Do they have the right skills and experience for the role you need them to play? Are you seeing improvements? To be fair to this employee who has high buy-in. It should be clear to you and them why their results are suffering and what skills need to improve to move them to the high performance quadrant. Sometimes a change is needed and sometimes these team members change and start performing.

Low Buy-In and High Performance: This is tricky because this team member is driving results, but at the cost of your culture and your people. They are talented but are causing drama in a department or your company. You might even have others who are leaving the business because of this individual. Your goal here is to have the tough conversations with this type of team member. A few questions: Can they make the change and move into the high buy-in quadrant or is it time for them to move on? In my experience, some team members in this quadrant can change and others even after multiple conversations continue to cause a culture cancer in your organization.

Low Buy-In and Low Performance: This was probably a wrong hire. They most likely are in the wrong role. This quadrant is not just a one time occurrence around buy-in or performance, it's a lack consistently in both. We all have our bad days and we all miss goals every once in a while. If you've already sought to understand and had multiple conversations with them with no change. Typically, it's best to move them out of your organization. 

The Right People will Drive the Right Results

Once you complete the assessment and place team members in the right quadrants, you need to start having the tough conversations or the positive conversations with the rockstars. The Right People Matrix will help you as a CEO or department leader quickly assess your team and optimize the team to drive new results.