Monday, 18 March 2013

Assessing the people in your organisation: Three Boxes



A simple method that I have used with a number of clients is the three-box system. The provenance of this comes I think from Goldratt. Note this isn’t to be used for changing your structure; it’s about an easy way to assess your people and their roles.

Write out the structure under you at least two layers deep. For each person and each role in those layers assign them into one of three vertical boxes (looking like a box kite):
  • Box 1 They are ready for a move upwards or onto another challenge, and they have made the people under them ready for them to move elsewhere.
  • Box 2 They are the right person in the right role at the moment.
  • Box 3 They are not the right person in the right role at the moment.

So you end up with a simple picture of those layers. There are a number of things you can use this picture for and a number of broad conclusions that can be reached, e.g.:

  • All Box 1’s. Excellent at the moment, but they will need stretching. Look for business growth, personal development, secondments, and promotions. Your risk here is that they may look elsewhere if you don’t execute these stretches.
  • All Box 2’s. Good except that no one is ready for that next step up. If you are looking to move on yourself, or introduce significant change/growth to your organisation then a prevalence of Box 2’s will be limiting.
  • All Box 3’s. Problems. You don’t have the right team.

 More subtly you can look to shuffle people based on the boxes. If you move a Box 1 person out for a new role/growth etc, who can take their place from their peer group or from below?

What is your plan to coach, support, teach or change the role of a Box 3 person? Can they make the grade, and if so where? Who else could do it (Current Box 1 people)? How do you develop your box 2 people? Is it about their own performance, or about them developing their own team to be ready?

In an ideal world a mixture of Box 1’s and 2’s, without too many 3’s is your goal. Box 1 people will always move on, as good people are hard to find and hold onto… unless you plan ahead and harness them to real business opportunities.

Enjoy the boxing!
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