A few weeks ago we were invited to participate in the National Association of Sports Commission’s 2ndAnnual Chief Executive Summit.  The event was excellent again this year, and featured several great presentations from outside the sports industry that offered up some professional “cross training” if you will. 

One of the best sessions we have ever attended was led by Jason Williford of the Culture Index.  Breaking it down into its simplest form, the Culture Index is a data driven measurement tool used to evaluate an organization’s human capital in order to optimize those individuals and the company as a whole.  Jason and his team use a two phase survey system to measure a person’s individual personality traits across five metrics, then they analyze that person’s view on how those same five metrics need to be carried out in the work place.  Where the personal and workplace metrics align, we have an optimal situation.  When there is a clear mismatch, we need to course correct going forward.  (The Culture Index is a bit more complicated than that, so if you want a more detailed outline of their program you can visit their web site at

Jason’s session was thought provoking to say the least.  Do we have the right people on the team?  Are those people in the right positions to maximize our effectiveness?  Are there people on the team we are underutilizing?  If so, what tools do they need to thrive?  I believe we have a great team in place at the Huddle Up Group that is aligned on most all things, however there is always room for growth, so Jason’s session was really an eye opener. 

Here are our top five takeaways from the Culture Index presentation…..

  1. People don’t quit jobs, “people quit people.”  In a competitive workforce that includes five generations for the first time in our history, leaders have to be more in tune with what their followers need from them.  Not just in resources, but also in emotional capital and in providing the right work environment.  If your team doesn’t feel connected to you as the leader, they can just as easily move down the road to a place where they feel more valued and engaged.  It starts with people, not a job description.

  1. Job postings need to talk about WHO you want (personality) versus the job skills you need.  By identifying the who specifically in the posting, you will be more likely to attract the personality types your team needs to enhance the entire organization.  We spend too much time evaluating a stack of resumes for people that seem to have purely the skills for the position at hand, and rarely do we talk about the type of person and personality that will help our work teams flourish.  The job interview process is broken according to Jason, so to identify the right people, we need to focus on the person and not the skills.

  1. Focus on strengths and outsource the rest.  Okay, this one hit home with me.  I am terrible at letting go of some things that I know I should be outsourcing.  While we are getting better as a team in this area, we have a lot of room for improvement for sure.  And that starts with me.

  1. The Culture Index highlights three types of people – the Gas Pedal, the Brake Pedal, and the Glue.  Gas Pedals are the visionary go getters that swing for the fences, and who often times have execution issues because they are always go go go and looking ahead without a thought of the blocking and tackling needed to get those big picture things done.  Brake Pedal people are the ones that do think quite a bit about day to day execution.  These individuals are the ones in the meetings that ask tactical “what if” questions and want to know every scenario possible so they can be prepared to deal with them as they arise.  Glue people are just that, they often wear a lot of hats and keep the organization together across many fronts.  Each of these personalities offer valuable services to the organization, and you need a good mix of these to build a great working team that can sustain success over time.

  1. “As the leader goes, so goes the tribe.”  This is true in so many ways.  If the head coach (or CEO) is freaking out, the team will likely follow.  The best coaches in sport are often the most calm under fire, and this applies to the leaders of industry as well.  If the leader is stable and plugged in with their followers, the production of those individuals will be better than if the leader is checked out and disconnected.

Lots to think about here that go well beyond the words printed on a resume.  Human capital (people) is our most precious resource.  As leaders we need to take more time thinking about the types of people that can drive our organizations forward.  In today’s workplace, cultural fit is every bit as important as having the skills to perform a job or a task. 

Surround yourselves with great people that are valued, give them the tools and environment their particular personality needs to thrive, and good things will follow.