09/26/2011 11:59 am ET Updated Nov 26, 2011

Hire Up for Your 'Higher Up'

In the same way that one of my recent articles was about "strategic quitting," or clearing the clutter out of your calendar, this article is about strategic firing and hiring, or restructuring your business and/or personal "personnel" to better serve your highest possible you.

As a culture coach, when I go into a new client I typically spend the first few meetings getting to know the owners and senior managers, setting expectations and context. I have to determine if they're willing to take the coaching and play full out before I talk to their staff, which is step #2.

Talking to the staff, I try to gauge their level of engagement, get feedback on management and assess the culture. While talking to them, I'm also trying to see if they're the right people "on the bus," as Jim Collins states in his book, Good to Great. I'm assessing if the company can win with the staff they have.

It's a serious assessment, especially since people's livelihoods are at stake but, if employees are not going to take the necessary steps to be an engaged member of the team, they need to be let go so they can have the opportunity to find work somewhere else that will engage and challenge them. As I said, it's not something to be taken lightly, and I design group seminars and other models to give them every chance to "show up" and catch on to the momentum that I'm there to create for the company.

I appreciate the huge responsibility of strategically firing someone and never let anyone go while there's still a chance that they can be saved. The next step, of course, if we do let them go, is to hire the right person. Not only do we set up the responsibilities, skills and knowledge we want from them, we look for people with the right values and attitudes. Some things we can teach, other things, like values, we need to know that these new people are bringing to the table on their own.

We look to "hire up" so that the new people are challenging us to become better managers ourselves, so that we get people who will set the standard for all employees and, by clearing out negative influences and replacing them with positive ones we're sending a clear message and modeling the new culture. We're walking the talk and employees get it.

I cover this as one aspect of an online virtual training, "Nobody Around Here Cares But Me." I recommend it if you're interested in hearing more about this in the context of running or managing a business, but now I'd like to bridge this concept to be more than just about business.

Suppose you applied this same concept to your life? If you could imagine your life as one of purpose, fulfilling the business of becoming more and more your own authentic brand, like a business does, or fulfilling your own mission, would you spend time considering whether or not you have the right people on the bus?

Suppose you gave everyone in your life the same chance I give my clients' employees, the chance to show up as positive influence and support in your life, communicating clearly and authentically with them, to see if you could become mutual support for the best in each of you? Suppose you went through your list of people you meet on a regular basis and considered how they influenced you and whether or not they supported your personal life goals?

Not counting family -- that's a big discussion for another time -- could you arrange it to spend more time with key personnel in your life, people who were positive, challenging and contributing to you, and less time with people who were negative and modeled behaviors you don't want to be affected by?

I'm sure you all know what I mean and, if you don't have people in your life that you regularly feel encouraged, empowered and inspired by, then it's time to "hire up." Seek out friends that will engage, challenge and inspire you on a regular basis. People who will help you get in touch with your own higher self, the best possible you, the you that you deserve to experience.

And by the way, in my life I can count the hires that keep me higher and, while I don't always want to hear the truth, I know I can trust them to tell it to me, to see me as my best self and be coaches to me as I keep working to be my own authentic brand.

Thank you to all my friends, family and peers who are there for me every day; I wish the same great influence on others.

Check out the concept of modeling positive behaviors in "Influencers," by Patterson, Grenny, Maxfield, McMillan and Switzler.