Published August 15, 2014

According to today’s Wall Street Journal, J.C. Penney’s climb out from potential imminent disaster continued last month. J.C. Penney reported higher sales, wider margins and a smaller quarterly loss. Although that might not seem like much to celebrate, it is a night and day difference from results experienced under their disastrous overhaul led by successful former Apple executive, Ron Johnson. J.C. Penney tried a new strategy with Ron Johnson, and rapidly discovered that “fit matters”! Customers provided their opinion by leaving in droves. I applaud J.C. Penney for trying something new and pursuing innovation; however, it is critical to keep fit in mind from the start.

One tip to implement this week: Whether you are hiring, looking for someone to participate on a project team or collaborating with customers, make sure fit is not an after thought. I’ve seen countless poor performers excel when transitioned to a role with a better fit, and unfortunately, Ron Johnson is not alone – many successful folks become wildly unsuccessful when promoted or transferred into poor fit jobs. Why lose an exceptional employee by ignoring fit? Equally worse, why spend huge dollars to hire the best-sounding person to be stuck with a problem employee? Instead, think about fit. It can be as simple as understanding which qualities are important for fit in your department or company. Next, deliberately ask fit questions. Be on the lookout for fit. Suddenly, fit will improve and results will follow.