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4C’s that Determine the Right “People-Fit” for your Organization

Nate Hamblen is founder and CEO of Red Elm, a company dedicated to delivering “over-the-top residential services” to premium home owners and being a “force for good” in the lives of both customers and employees. From “one guy and a truck”, Nate rapidly grew the company to a multi-million dollar operation through a relentless focus on culture and people. As we have had the privilege of accompanying Nate on this amazing journey, we’ve had deep discussions on “how to find people that fit.” Together we developed a framework that has guided our thinking and is described below. Over the last few years we’ve done significant work growing and scaling processes, teams and organizations. Although there are various things to get right on this arduous journey, one of the most important is finding and growing the right people that are both capable and a good fit for your culture. No matter the challenge, whether expanding operations, leadership-horsepower, technical expertise, or all the above….people are the lifeblood of growth and change.

Recently, Nate and I were discussing the roles and profiles of people to be part of the company’s next phase of rapid expansion. As we discussed each person, it seemed we would frequently circle back to the same high-level categories that drove our perspective on good (or bad) fit. While there are many specific attributes, regrouping them into four macro families/categories helped simplify the conversation and gave a common language & lens for discussion and assessment.

Here are the “4 C’s” we determined to be most helpful in determining “people fit”:

  1. Character – the foundation of someone’s personality and values that drive them (ex integrity, work ethic, drive, commitment, relationships with people…)

  2. Capability – fundamental skill-sets that make them effective in a given role in a generic sense (ex detail vs macro, communication, individual contributor vs leader, tolerance for ambiguity, etc.)

  3. Capacity – ability to carry “weight”, whether psychologically, physically or emotionally (ex work hours, travel, hi-pressure environments, complexity, isolation, etc.)

  4. Content – industry-/trade-/function- knowledge, know-how and specific expertise that makes the above relevant in a specific fields or function (ex from sectors like medical, automotive, construction… to functional skills like nursing, engineering, carpentry…etc.)

You may be wondering…”how do these contribute to ‘culture fit’?” Great question!…and something we considered. In fact, we believe that defining the right mix of attributes within each of the families in your specific context (as highlighted with examples in parentheses) allow the families to become the “macro-ingredients” that “dial-in” culture-fit at a personal level. In this metaphorical sense, the overall culture-fit of a person is “the cake” i.e the outcome, that is composed of a tailored recipe of 4C’s i.e “the ingredients.”

So as you consider the next stage of growth for your team, what about using the “4 C’s” as a framework to define and evaluate critical attributes required in your people? We believe it’ll help focus your thinking, and give you a common lens/language to communicate/identify what it takes to succeed in your culture and the journey ahead.


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