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The importance of playing people in the right positions...

Football, the beautiful game, is a sport that thrives on strategy, skill, and a deep understanding of each player's strengths and weaknesses. Managers spend countless hours devising tactics, analysing opponents, and selecting the perfect line-up to exploit every advantage.

Gareth Southgate opted for line-ups against Serbia and Denmark which played a number of key individuals out of their normal positions. Alexander-Arnold, who normally plays as a defender for Liverpool, played alongside Declan Rice as a midfielder while Foden, who shines as a No 10 for Man City, has been starting on the left. For the Slovenia game Alexander-Arnold was switched out for Conor Gallagher but the change doesn’t seam to have solved the problem.

As has been demonstrated by England’s lacklustre performance so far in the Euros, success not only requires great players but those right individuals need to be played in the right positions (as well has have clear leadership and direction, but don’t get me started on that).

The principle of having the right people in the right positions also holds true across business and can make the difference between a thriving, innovative organisation and one that struggles through the organisational equivalent of the group stages. The alignment of skills, passions, and roles is crucial, to team and organisational success.

The Benefits of the Right Fit

  1. Enhanced Productivity and Innovation: When individuals are placed in roles that match their skills and passions, their productivity and creativity soar. They are more likely to take initiative, think outside the box, and contribute innovative solutions. This not only drives personal satisfaction but also propels the team forward.

  2. Increased Job Satisfaction: Job satisfaction and engagement is closely linked to how well an individual's role aligns with their abilities and interests. When employees feel competent and engaged, they are happier and more committed to their work. This reduces turnover rates and fosters a positive workplace culture.

  3. Efficient Utilisation of Strengths: People excel when they can leverage their strengths. Identifying and harnessing these strengths ensures that tasks are performed efficiently and effectively.

Strategies for Achieving the Right Fit

  1. Thorough Recruitment Processes: Investing time and resources into a comprehensive recruitment process helps ensure that the right candidates are selected. This includes detailed job descriptions, robust interviewing techniques, and valid and reliable assessments that consider preferences and abilities of candidates.

  2. Ongoing Training and Development: Organisations should provide continuous learning opportunities to help employees develop their skills and adapt to changing roles. This not only enhances individual capabilities but also aligns their growth with the organisation's needs.

  3. Regular Feedback and Career Development Plans: Constructive feedback and clear career development plans help employees understand their strengths and areas for improvement. This allows for adjustments in roles and responsibilities to better match their evolving skills and interests. 360 feedback can be a great tool to kick start a development culture.

  4. Fostering a Culture of Flexibility: Encouraging a flexible workplace culture where employees can explore different roles and projects helps identify where they can thrive. Job rotations, cross-functional teams, and special projects can reveal hidden talents and passions.


Aligning the right individuals with the right positions is a strategic imperative that benefits both employees and originations. It enhances productivity, job satisfaction, and innovation while reducing underperformance and turnover. By investing in robust recruitment, continuous development, and fostering a flexible workplace culture, organisations can ensure that they and their employees thrive together. In the end, the right fit is not just about filling a position; it’s about unlocking potential and driving collective success.

…and if Gareth Southgate is reading this please consider where your players will have the opportunity to play as well as we all know they can. I’m just glad we’ve made it out of the group stages.

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