How Unique Design Helped us Triple our Productivity with One Small Shift
October 9, 2023
By Matt Ingold
We were doing really well.
It was during the time when COVID was spreading and online meetings were becoming very popular. We were hosting many virtual conferences, but I needed some extra help.
So, we put up a job advertisement. We quickly received responses, had a short interview, and hired a fantastic young woman who was very talented. She started working with us.
That’s when I learned something important: sometimes a person might be great, but they may not be in the right job.
This young woman cared a lot about our mission. She was excited, had a great attitude, and felt strongly about her faith. She thought it was an honor to be part of our team.
However, I noticed that she often wanted to join discussions and meetings that didn’t really relate to her job. Over time, I saw that she was doing her work at the last minute, and she even said she needed to “psych herself up” to do it.
Around that time, I discovered something called the Strengthsfinder assessment. It’s a tool that helps people understand their natural abilities and strengths. Many big companies use it to make sure they hire the right people. Over 30 million people have taken this assessment!
I was really interested in it. My report made me feel like it understood me, and I wanted to know everyone’s strengths, especially those I worked with.
I remember looking at the report for the young woman we hired. I thought, “No wonder she’s struggling. Her strengths don’t match her job.” Her job required a lot of repetitive work, copying and pasting data, and very little talking to people or teamwork. But her strengths showed she loved being in a team, connecting with people emotionally, and working in a social setting!
It was like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole.
As expected, she eventually quit (I didn’t blame her), but I learned a lesson. I wanted to make sure the next person we hired was naturally good at the job we had for them. We put up a job ad, did interviews, and gave some candidates their strengths profiles. We found a replacement.
I remember her first day. It was a Saturday, and I explained the boring and repetitive tasks of gathering data for our virtual conferences. “If you have any questions, just ask.” She thanked me and started working.
I got a call at 6 PM that evening. I thought she had a problem and needed help. Our previous teammate took 1-2 weeks to finish this work.
“Hey, what’s going on?” I asked.
She replied quickly, “Hey, I’m good. I finished. What’s next?”
Wait, what? I couldn’t believe it. “Finished with one part?”
“No, I finished everything.”
I was amazed. Not only did she complete the task in 8 hours instead of 24 (which saved us money), but she was ready for more!
That’s when I realized that when you match a person’s skills with their job, it doesn’t feel like work. When people get to do what they’re good at, they stay engaged. But if you put them in the wrong job, you’ll have to find ways to motivate them.
Imagine if our Church worked this way too, where everyone used their talents in their place of worship regularly.
If you want some ideas, check out what Fr. Bill Hanson did. His parish became very active and successful, with lots of volunteers. Maybe his approach can show us how to be a missional church in a changing world.
Matt is a former US Marine veteran of OEF and Catholic entrepreneur. He and his wife founded Metanoia Catholic, a coaching business that helps Catholics become students of their interior life and live out their unique call to sanctity.