It used to be that some lucky companies would just happen to hire someone who happened to have the gumption to say, “This could be better, folks.” And who would be able to tweak their systems accordingly, or find someone who could. And then to go around and show everyone how to take advantage of the new tweaks.
Usually that person would have a whole other job that would make up 100% of their performance review, and these extracurricular improvements would hardly be commented upon. The company might still ask if they could fix this or that when they got a chance, or fit in a staff training into their schedule. But they would be expected to do that “off the side of their desks.”
But can you imagine a better investment than someone who is wired to constantly improve the way everything in your organization works?
Sounds great, of course. Who wouldn’t want that person on board.
In fact, we've found these "Improvers" in every organization we've worked with, sometimes put to good use and sometimes not. Sometimes they are even the target of annoyance for people who are more comfortable plugging forward with business as usual.
But don’t overlook the treasure these people represent. Some people are wired to find solutions. You should be on the lookout for people with this “Improver” personality.
Of course it can be tricky. You need problem solvers who are careful, measured, who listen well and work well with others. Don’t be too quick to toss the keys of your rocketship to some big ego with a lot of confidence. A lack of humility is a big red flag.
But often, the most effective problem solvers, the careful, thoughtful, humble ones, the good listeners, are already operating within your organization. They look for opportunities for improvement. They help their teammates do their work better.
You should recognize this quickly. These people are force multipliers. Build a smart team of these kinds of people, invest in them and their ability to improve the engines of your organization’s work. You’ll wonder how you ever got by without them.