Many of the guests on our COO Roundtable podcast, as well as several of our RIA clients, run their businesses on the Entrepreneurial Operating System (“EOS”), made famous in Gino Wickman’s book, Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business.  And one of the key components to EOS is “Getting the Right People in the Right Seats.”  Said differently, every employee and member of the team should be operating, “within his or her area of greatest skill and passion inside your organization and the roles and responsibilities expected of each employee fit with his or her Unique Ability®. [1] Most, if not all, RIAs struggle with getting the right people in the right seats, and considering almost 90% of RIAs employ less than 50 people, having just one person in the wrong role can be quite disruptive to a small team servicing a large number of clients.  That is where the concept of GWC comes into play.

GWC stands for Gets it, Wants it, has the Capacity to do it.  Gino Wickman designed the concept of GWC after working with countless firms who all struggled with having the wrong person in the wrong seat (a very common complaint of our RIA clients as well!).  His clients needed a filter by which they could judge each employee vs. the role they were asking him or her to fill. 

An employee who “gets it” understands what is expected of him or her.  This is where many RIAs fail — often, an RIA will have waited too long to hire their next employee, so by the time that employee starts, everyone else at the organization is swamped with their own work and doesn’t spend adequate time training the new employee.  The firm fails to set the proper expectations, explain the firm’s core values and the culture of the organization, train the employee on the systems and processes used by the firm, and describe how the employee’s role fits into the broader organization and helps the firm achieve its long-term goals.  After experiencing an onboarding like the one just described, it is no mystery why the employee is left bewildered and clearly does not “get it.” Therefore, there is a greater responsibility placed on the RIA than on the employee to effectively onboarded and ensure new employees “get it,” fully comprehending what success looks like in their role.

Assuming the RIA has done a good job explaining the firm, the culture, and the role, an employee who “wants it” genuinely likes the job and is excited to bounce out of bed each morning and tackle the day.  Here, the responsibility lies predominantly with the employee.  As Gino Wickman wrote in Traction, “In many instances, a manager feels the need to motivate, overpay, or beg a person to want it, when the reality is they don’t.  If they don’t, they’re never going to provide the spark, no matter how effective a manager you are.  So, stop beating your head against the wall.  Find someone who does want it, and the difference will be immediately apparent.”  I have written previously how I rely on the cover letter when a candidate is first applying for a role, to express their true interest in our industry, our company, and specifically the role they are applying for. It is the first indication of whether or not they truly “want it.”

Having “capacity to do it” means the employee has the mental capacity, the physical capacity, and the emotional capacity to perform at their highest level.  As Gino Wickman writes, “Sometimes the job requires a certain level of intellect, skill, knowledge, and emotional intelligence, and the person doesn’t have that capacity.”  We often promote an employee merely because they have been with the firm for a long time, but they might not necessarily have the skills to fill the specific requirements for the position they have been elevated to. 

To know you have the right person in the right seat, they must be a resounding “yes” on all three components – for the particular role they are filling, they must Get It, Want It, and have the Capacity to Do It.  If you determine they are lacking in any of the three components, you must find a different seat where they can fulfill all three requirements, or unfortunately, you may need to make a tough decision and allow them to seek opportunities where they are a better match.  Despite the recent pullback in the markets, the RIA industry is booming.  Every firm is attempting to service more and more clients with a limited number of staff and resources.  It is imperative that each role be filled by the right employee.  Use this GWC filter to set your firm up for success!

[1] The Strategic Coach and Unique Ability® are trademarks and integral concepts owned by The Strategic Coach, Inc. Unique Ability® and its derivative works are copyrights owned by The Strategic Coach, Inc.  All rights reserved.  www.strategiccoach.com

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