Once upon a time, not so long ago, a small, fast-growing company hired a senior leader. He seemed to have all the necessary experience and characteristics: a detail-oriented, seasoned professional in the industry. It looked like he’d be perfect for codifying and overseeing the processes needed in this young organization.

Culture Fit for LeadersAt first things seemed to go well. At last the CEO could focus on strategy instead of day-to-day operations! But after time things began to unravel.

What happened? In short, culture fit. Or lack thereof.

This new leader came from a large, mature, fast-moving, results-driven organization. His personality is competitive and ambitious. That works well in an organization that is similarly inclined. It doesn’t work so well in a company that moves cautiously and is collectively introverted. His zeal for progress and manner of driving people toward goals left them bewildered, chafed, even shattered on occasion.

In the end it just didn’t work. And the skills and talent he had to offer the company (which it truly needed) were not accessible because of the misalignment.

Harvard Business Review says up to 68% of the time when a new leader fails it’s a result of culture fit. Or misfit!

Culture fit in leadership leads to powerful results. Be diligent in your talent research before you hire your next leader.

So how do you ensure culture fit when you’re hiring a leader? Here are some steps.

  1. First, understand your culture. You can do culture assessments with the executive team, the entire organization, or by department, looking for sub-cultures.
  2. Consider the culture you aspire to have in order to reach your goals. Brainstorm with your leadership team. What gaps exist?
  3. Create a competency model to define your organization’s desired behaviors. This gets everyone on the same page and can be a significant leadership team building endeavor.
  4. Hire leaders who embody the qualities you need to fill the gaps you’ve identified. But be careful! If someone is too intensely inclined they may not be able to meet your culture in the middle. They must be adaptable, not entrenched, in order to influence others.

Are you hiring?

Let us help you hire the right person, no matter what level or role, with the Hogan Assessment Series. We’ll help you consider your organization’s culture in the hiring process, to ensure a good fit. We can also help with on-boarding them effectively.

Want to understand your team culture?

Use a Hogan Team Report to help your team identify and understand their strengths and weaknesses, potential fracture lines, and culture and shared values. You’ll discover how members’ personalities and motivators may support or hinder team effectiveness in light of the team’s character, business, context, and goals.

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