Articles 2 min read

We Need More Misfits by Kelly Swingler

In business and particularly in HR we talk about ‘fit’.  The right fit for the role, team fit, cultural fit, it’s all about fit and often as people we expect to fit in or try our best to so that we feel a sense of belonging.

Brené Brown talks repeatedly and more so in her latest book Braving The Wilderness about the differences between belonging and fitting in, and that if we ‘fit’ we lose some of our self, some of our authenticity, because to fit, we have to change who we are at the core.

Claude Silver, Chief Heart Officer at Vaynermedia speaks of how she doesn’t want cultural fit when recruiting, but instead how she looks for people who will grow the culture.

The famous Culture Deck from Netflix talks about a philosophy of people over process, something I express a lot, and they create dream teams where people work together.  They don’t talk fit, they talk collaboration and growth.

The Puzzle…

Puzzle pieces ‘fit’ together.  The wrong ‘fit’ is an incomplete or unfinished puzzle, the picture becomes distorted and to make it work we need to ensure the pieces fit together properly.  The puzzle though, when all the piece fit nicely together, is always going to be the same picture, it will never change, it will never grow, it’s always the same picture in the end.

People are not puzzle pieces, we are all different, we are all unique.  We may share the same or similar values and we may have the same or a similar drive and determination, but we are all different.  And if as HR professionals we can realise that, and embrace that, then we can provide a service to our customers, that goes above and beyond anything we will have created before.

When managers come to us expecting someone to fill the role of the leaver, they need to understand what has changed in the role.  The role as it was, isn’t the role it became over time.  The person they need for the future is unlikely to be the mirror of the person who just left.

As we continue to grow the Chrysalis team, I want people with passion and a shared drive to deliver our purpose.  I’m not looking for ‘fit’ per-se, I want someone who will challenge the way we do things, someone who will bring new ideas to the table, someone who can help us grow.  I want people who belong with us, for however long they choose to stay, but I don’t need fit.

When my sons were younger, if I bought them clothes or shoes as a perfect fit they never lasted long, but something a little too big, and they could grow into it.  As an adult, I want my clothes to fit, but I then expect my size and shape not to change, if change happens, the fit won’t last long.

So do you really want ‘fit’?  Will fit help growth?  Will fit add value?  Will fit provide challenge, and opportunities and innovation and creativity?

Sure, you want your people to get along, but what if the only thing that is the same is their shared drive and passion to deliver your purpose?  You don’t need people from the same sector, with the same experience, with the same background, because if everyone is the same, you will never create anything different.  And I don’t know about you, but none of our clients want to stay the same.

So perhaps the next time you look to recruit, instead of looking for ‘fit, look for a misfit – someone who can deliver, or over-deliver on the job, make a difference to your team, challenge the way you work now, and help make things better.  You might find that they feel a greater sense of belonging without the need to fit in.

It’s time to do things differently.

Do you seek fit? Share your views in the comments below, and, if you like what we’ve written and think someone else might be interested, share this post with them.

The Business Transformation Network has posted this article in partnership with Chrysalis Consulting.

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