We are often brought in to evaluate technical architecture as part of technical due diligence for investors, board members, and executive leadership. One of the questions that often closely accompanies the technical review request is "do we have the right people?" In answering this question, we use the concepts of "seed, feed, weed" to evaluate if companies are being proactive - or reactive - in their people approach. 


Constantly be on the lookout for new talent whether or not you have an open position. Especially in our post-pandemic world, remote work opens up our talent sourcing to a much larger geographic area to find the best talent regardless of location. If you are short staffed, or need to hire in areas outside of your experience, consider using a third-party expert to assist in candidate selection and screening. And remember that good skills are great, but if the person is not a good cultural fit, you likely won't be able to capitalize on the new talent as much as hoped. Regularly attend job fairs, take on opportunities to partner with local universities, and look at adding summer interns. 


An important aspect of the feed concept is regularly working closely together and providing feedback. Continually communicating with your employees about how they are doing (and not just the wrong stuff) gives them a sense of direction for where you think they should be going. It also lets them know that you pay attention and value their work. Beyond feedback is also training. Managers need to be aware of the required training that someone needs to do their job. If they are managing your databases and have zero database knowledge that is an issue. But employees need more than just required training. They need something that stimulates them. Leaders ensure that employees grow beyond what their role defines them as. If they want to take Underwater Basket Weaving, well encourage it. It may not always benefit the company, but if it benefits the employee it usually has a way of having positive returns for everyone.


Last, and certainly not least, is Weed. No one likes to be the bad guy. Firing people is tough - but getting rid of people with bad behaviors or repeatedly poor results is part of our duty as managers and executives. Have you tried to make them better? Maybe they were just in the wrong position or didn’t have the right training. Or worse, they just weren’t a good fit for the company. If someone has bad behavior it can be very difficult to remedy. If someone is lacking experience, then it just takes training and mentorship. 9 times out of 10, the experience can be fixed. 9 times out of 10 it is just better for everyone to part ways with behavioral issues.

Not weeding out poor performers, brilliant jerks, or others who regularly disrupt sends a clear message to your top performers - they might be happier somewhere else or doing something else on the side instead of giving your their best work.


Finding and cultivating the right people is the key to ensuring your products remain relevant, innovative, and fresh. We often see this concept of seed, weed, feed neglected in companies of all size, but especially during rapid growth or when a company has been around for decades. Getting an outside view often illuminates the strong players, the underutilized talent, and toxic people who need to get a quick attitude change or leave. Contact us, we've helped hundreds of companies improve their organizations, process, and architectures.