If you were a fly on the wall in our offices, you’d hear the word fit somewhat regularly. Sometimes, it’s because we’re talking about how we wish we exercised more, e.g., “I sure wish I were more fit!” Most of the time, however, we’re talking about whether or not a contractor, vendor or potential new employee meshes well with us. (You might also conclude that we use the word fit way too much…such is life.)
Fit is one of those concepts that you may not appreciate or even recognize until you’ve had a bad experience. For some people, bad fit might become obvious in a personal relationship. Maybe you’ve known someone who is a good and interesting person but you just don’t mesh. Others may learn about fit on the job, working at an organization that has goals and objectives, possibly unstated, that are at cross-purposes with yours. Still others may learn about fit after picking a major in college and, while the topic seems fascinating, the details make a job in it unpalatable.
Good fit in the business world, on the other hand, is a little bit like magic. With good fit, most interactions go smoothly and often feel like you’re dealing with a close friend. More often than not, you find that you’re “on the same page”, “marching to the same drum”, or “pulling in the same direction”. With good business fit, the proposed solutions to the inevitable problems that arise sound reasonable to both parties. There’s something comfortable and natural about relationships that fit well together.
We’re always looking for fit with our contractor relationships. That’s one reason why we want to meet and talk with contractors before we sign any paperwork. Whether we identify a fit conflict that’s major (ethics, values) or minor (approach, process), we generally want to avoid relationships that are contentious or difficult. Instead, we’re pursuing relationships every day with contractors with whom we can be “two peas in a pod” – the perfect fit.
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