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Finding the Best Fit Within Your Team

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Finding the Best Fit Within Your Team

A Zone Leader talks about something he refers to as 'Scot's Venn Diagram' and how it has had a strong impact on his career, fourteen years after being introduced to the concept as part of a casual conversation.

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There are conversations in nearly every career that can have an impact that sticks with you for years after the original conversation has taken place. Most of the time, the impact of the conversation is not immediately known or realized. For me, I continue to reflect on a casual conversation I had with Scot - now over fourteen years ago. During the conversation, Scot introduced me to a simple Venn diagram that I have continued to utilize well beyond being a member of his team.

Scot's Venn Diagram

At the time, Scot held a manager-level position at a leading corporation in the real estate industry. Scot reported to the VP of Information Systems, with the Data Center, customer and production support teams reporting directly to him.

Our conversation was focused on employee satisfaction and the dialog flowed toward the aspect of employer satisfaction. Meaning, while it is important for employees to be satisfied with their roles and responsibilities, it is equally important for the corporation to receive value from the employed team members as well.

Scot presented me with a hand-drawn version of the Venn diagram displayed below:

Scot's Venn Diagram

As Scot explained, there are three drivers in the employee/employer relationship:

  • Items the employee wants to do (blue circle).

  • Elements the employee can do (green circle).

  • Tasks the employer needs the employee to do (orange circle).

The intersection of these three circles (displayed in red) is the best fit for the employee/employer relationship since the employee is doing something that not only needs to be completed, but the employee has the skills to accomplish and is interested in doing at this point in their career.

For the last fourteen years, I have referred to this diagram as "Scot's Venn Diagram."

Putting Scot's Venn Diagram Into Use

Since that initial conversation, I have redrawn Scot's Venn Diagram during new candidate interviews, initial meetings with new teams I have formed, and during team building activities. My message is always clear - reminding the individual of the partnership between the employer and the employee.

I also point out that two-thirds of the elements of the diagram are focused on the employee. This is by design since every successful corporation should place twice as much value on the needs of employees over any corporate needs.

As an example, when leading the Tools Team at a prior employer, I used Scot's Venn Diagram during the initial 1:1 meetings with my team. My goal was to talk about the two-thirds of the aspects related to the employee (what they can do and what they want to do), before discussing the third aspect (what the company needs them to do). My rationale behind this approach was to understand the skills and interests of all the team members and to get a feel for how that third aspect could be best applied.

The result of using Scot's Venn Diagram was successful, leading to a team being able to not only focus on tasks that interested them but they were also meeting the larger objectives the team was expected to meet.


I never imagined that a casual conversation fourteen years ago would still have an impact on my career. I am not even certain if Scot himself realizes the impact his conversation and the resulting Venn diagram had on my perspective.

I checked Twitter, but could not locate an account for Scot. Otherwise, I would tag him in this article so others could benefit from his thoughts. Instead, I will simply reach out to him through the old-fashioned means - via an email message.

Scot has since been promoted (at least two times) and continues to drive his corporation toward successful initiatives. I fully believe a large part of his success is due to placing individuals into the roles that are not only a great fit for them, but for the corporation as well.

Have a really great day!

[Latest Guide] Ship faster because you know more, not because you are rushing. Get actionable insights from 7 million commits and 85,000+ software engineers, to increase your team's velocity. Brought to you in partnership with GitPrime.

agile adoption ,employee satisfaction ,agile teams ,team building

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