Are the Right People in the Right Seats?

How are you doing on increased, even maximized accountability in your startup team?

We’ve already taken you through three steps. Do you have the right seats around the table? Do you have people focused on the right things? And are they doing the right handovers? Now for the fourth and last step, do you have the right people in those rights seats?

The Right People. A very sensitive question!

The Right People - Not a Team Excercise

This is why this is the one worksheet I don’t want you to do with the whole team. It’s typically something you do for yourself. As the CEO, or maybe between co-founders. And/or maybe with the help of your executive coach.

All you need to do: go back to the people that are in the seats.

  1. Put the names on the post-its around the functions.

  2. Look back at the delivery statements that you have defined.

  3. Start flagging those as red, yellow or green.

Taking finance as an example: “Turn Financial Status into Proactive Cash Management by Controlling and Planning.”

Do they have a grip on the financial status? If so: green. If not: red. In between: yellow.

Do they turn it into proactive cash management? I’m not satisfied with it: Red. I’m quite satisfied with it: Green. Or Yellow for “Yeah”, “Meh”, “A Little bit”, “Not Enough”.

And “controlling and planning the process”, by which they do it, is actually less important than the input and the output. But if you have reds in the previous statements, it’ll give you an indication. Is it because they don’t understand the process or is it because their input is simply missing?

The Reddest Function

That’s all you need to do for all the functions around the table. Then obviously you look at which function is the reddest.

For that function, you:

  1. want to set much clearer expectations for that person to perform to the statement as required. So the delivery statement as already defined; and…

  2. if not [performing], you want to start signaling that you will probably have to find another candidate to fulfill that function. Does that mean this person has to leave the company? No, we’re not talking about people that are not fitting the values of the company. That’s a different story.

The Wrong Person in the Wrong Seat

We’re only talking about that they may not be a fit for this particular function anymore. So you may find an alternative and/or you may help them find a position that is to their liking, but with a friend’s company or somewhere else, all of these things are something your coach can help you with.

But what is important is to keep always polishing your executive team. I do not recommend to throw out half your executive team and replace everyone at once. My milestone is to have some kind of movement in your executive team every quarter or so. Just to keep it dynamic enough while also providing the space of psychological safety that everyone needs.

That’s about it for increasing accountability and making sure you have the right people in the right seats.

Accountability ROund Table 4

To find out if you have the right people in the right seats, you may download this tool below:

Reviews from Workshop Participants:


“Lessons learned along with applicable take aways will help make an immediate impact on how we operate”

Shannon Prillaman, VP of HR, SoundCommerce
Shannon Prillaman
VP of HR, SoundCommerce, Woodinville, WA


About Midstage Institute

We focus our practice on midstage startup companies that need to remain agile, and where what used to work for the smaller startup just isn’t as effective anymore.


We ensure founders and leadership teams win, with our over 40 years experience in venture-backed tech startups. We are Silicon Valley veterans with the scars and wins to prove it. We don’t use an inflexible off-the shelf methodology, we adapt best practices to you, your market, your company, and your leadership team.


We always:

  • Focus on right sized best practices to get to the next level
  • Focus on the 20% of effort that will yield you 80% of the benefits
  • Teach Perfection is the enemy, better is your partner and ally
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