The Law of the Niche

A Minneapolis business team improves when a player takes the position where he is most useful. A team improves when all the players on the team take positions that make the best use of their assets – their gifts, their expertise, their understanding. When the proper team member is in the proper place with business coaching and training, everyone profits. That’s the power of the Law of the Niche!

When People Are in Unsuitable Places

Have you ever experienced being on a team where your role didn’t suit you? Were you a computer programmer required to interact with clients every day, a graphic artist writing picture captions, a football wide receiver made to play running back, a soloist singing back up, or a spouse who hates doing laundry washing the clothes?

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When one or more of a team’s members play out of position, what is the result? First, team spirit erodes, because the team isn’t playing up to its potential. Second, team members become bitter. The ones who are working in their weak spots become bitter when their best abilities aren’t being used. Third, other team members, who believe they could fill a position better than the incompatible person, are offended that their proficiencies are being sidelined. Soon, the team’s interdependence falls apart. Then everyone’s trust and loyalty start to erode. And the situation goes into a downward spin. Team growth ceases, and rivals exploit the team’s difficulties. The outcome is that the team never achieves its potential. When persons aren’t in positions they excel at, the team doesn’t excel. That’s the Law of the Niche.

Having the right people in the right places is essential to team building.
John Maxwell

A team’s energy varies with the team’s make up:

  • The Wrong Person in the Wrong Place = Regression

  • The Wrong Person in the Right Place = Frustration

  • The Right Person in the Wrong Place = Confusion

  • The Right Person in the Right Place = Progression

  • The Right People in the Right Places = Multiplication

Whatever the type of team, the tenets are the same.

Help Individuals Find Their Niche

Airline industry legend Robert Crandall commented on what it takes to make a winning team, “You put together the best team with the players you’ve got, and replace those who aren’t good enough.” That’s one way to do it, but developing an excellent team isn’t just about having great players. You may have a group of skilled people, but if every individual is not adding his best skills to the team, the team won’t reach its highest capability. People have to be placed in the right position for them.

To succeed in placing people in the right positions, positions that use their gifts and enhances the team’s capability, you need to know three concepts:

You Need to Know the Team Vision

You must know the team mission, objectives, customs and past to put together a championship team or company. Remember, you and the team start where in reality you are; only then can you move the team towards its potential. If you understand what the team is moving towards – and why it’s moving in that direction – you can move the team towards its possibilities. 

You Need to Know the Circumstances

Although the mission or objectives of a team may be consistent, the circumstances can vary continually. Great team makers can assess the team’s development level and relate it to what circumstances necessitate. For example, when a team is new, the biggest urgency is usually to gather the right people. As a team ages, and the level of skills grows, tweaking becomes key. At that point, a leader needs to pay more attention to fitting the person to the position.

You Need to Know Your Team Members

It seems apparent, but you need to get to know the person you are trying to place in order to place them in the best position for them. John Maxwell mentions this, because leaders are inclined to wish everyone would adapt to their way of doing things. But team building is about capitalizing on each player’s strengths, not about making each person just like the leader.

As you form a team, gauge every individual’s experience, capabilities, personality, approach, enthusiasms, communication skills, self-restraint, emotional depth and promise. When you’ve done that, you’ll be able to assist in finding the right place for that team member.

Begin by Locating the Right Niche for You

At this moment, you may not be in a spot to put people on your team. Maybe more basically, you are wondering how you find your own niche. If this is true, then the following directives may help.

  • Be Confident. Bruce Lee said, “Always be yourself and have faith in yourself. Do not go out and look for a successful personality and try to duplicate it.” If you are secure in yourself, you’ll be flexible and able to transform yourself. And to grow, you must be willing to transform yourself.

  • Understand Yourself. Part of being able to find your niche is knowing your strengths and weaknesses. Take time to consider and investigate your strengths. Ask others what they see in you. Work at eliminating flaws.

  • Have faith in your leader. A great leader will assist you in progressing towards your goals. If you don’t have faith in your advisor, search for a different one. Or switch teams.

  • Grasp the big picture. Your placement on the team adds up only within the framework of the big picture. To accurately discern your aspirations, you must see where you fit in the big picture.

  • Trust your experience. Truly, discovering your niche is a process of trial and error. When you hit on the right place, you’ll know. Then, John Maxwell says, ‘Your heart will sing, “There’s no place like this place anywhere near this place, so this must be the place!”’

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Be a Better Team Member

Are you in the right place? As you go about your daily tasks, do you think, “There’s no place like this place anywhere near the place, so this must be the place?” If your answer is yes, then continue on, developing and gaining knowledge in your field. If your answer is no, then it’s time to get on the right track.

If you are not working in your niche, begin devising a shift to it. Maybe all you need to do is revise duties. However, maybe you need to do something more substantial, such as change careers. Whether it takes a short or long time, you should have a conversion plan and timetable. Once you have your goal, take courage, and take the first step.

If you have no clue about your place in the world, begin with some exploration. Ask your family and friends about your strong points and weak points. Obtain your leader’s perspective. Take personality or temperament assessments. Consider your life’s reoccurring topics. Put your life’s purpose into words. Leave no stone unturned to discover where you should be. If necessary, try new things. The way to determine your niche is to acquire experience.

Be a Better Team Leader

One sign of an excellent team leader is appropriate positioning of team members. Apply the principles in this post to start improving your positioning method. And, keep this in mind: For people to achieve their utmost and be most useful, they need to work out of their comfort zones, but not out of their talent zones. Inspiring people to stretch out of their comfort zones brings satisfaction.

Stephen Crawford