Topgrading – Hiring For Attitude

I recently had the privilege to share the Topgrading Process for a group of business leaders in an Executive Forum meeting and one of the participants asked a question about the interview process. “Why doesn’t Topgrading ask questions that probe for the person’s attitude?”

You may have read Kids Say the Darndest Things – Formula for Human Potential on how attitude is so critical to achieving our unrealized futures.  We agree with this person’s concern for assessing candidate’s attitude.

It’s an insightful question. When asked this I reflected on the process and then asked the audience, “What’s the single biggest predictor for future performance?” Someone answered quickly, “Past Performance!”

What Is Topgrading?

Topgrading is a process that improves the recruiting, hiring and development of teams within an organisation. Whether your company is searching for a new leader, replacing an executive team member, promoting a manager, or bringing on entry-level employees, using the topgrading system gives you the methods, tools and training to help you hire with confidence.

Topgrading invests up to three hours with the final candidates for any position by reviewing their most recent positions to determine their performance levels.  Did they perform in the top 10% of what you would expect for their position? Are they “A” player potential performers?

For each job in the past 15 years (Approximately 2 hours 40 minutes):

  1. What were they hired to do?
  2. What were their accomplishments?
  3. What were their low points?
  4. People (Topgrading and TORC – discover Boss’s rating and their rating on their bosses).
  5. Why did they leave?

Topgrading asks many questions to verify the candidate’s demonstrating their attitude. Questions repeatedly drill into their performance, asking specific questions related to results in each of their jobs in the past 15 years.  If performance is a result of a good attitude, then their performance should reflect their good attitude.

Attitude Competency

What I failed to offer to the person asking the question is Topgrading specifically addresses ATTITUDE in the Competencies Interviews immediately preceding the CIDS Interview (Chronological, In-depth, Structured).

Topgrading suggests the following formula for Competency Interviews:

Four 1-Hour Competency Interviews

  • Select 4 competencies or more for each interview from your job summary scorecard
  • Assign each of your 4 interviewers these 4 or more competencies to interview for during their one hour with the candidate.
  • Interviewers choose questions to ask from Competency Questions directed to their specific competencies from the Topgrading Interview Guide (DOWNLOAD GUIDE HERE)
  • Conduct 1-hour interviews, allowing 15 minutes for interviewee to ask questions

Prior to your competency interviews you would have selected 12 to 20 competencies for the position you are hiring for, including them in your Job Summary Scorecard.

Competency And Behaviour Ability To Change Chart

(From “Topgrading” by Brad Smart)

As you can see from the picture some Competencies are harder to change than others.  If any of these competencies (and several will be) are in your Job Summary Scorecard for this position you will want to make sure to address these.  If your candidates don’t possess these critical competencies for the position it’s doubtful you would want to hire them for the position.

There are several competencies that might address the attitude issue but none more important than Enthusiasm/Passion.  Topgrading’s definition for Enthusiasm/Passion is: Exhibits dynamism, excitement, and a positive can do attitude.

Enthusiasm/Passion is one of the competencies listed under the column NOT GOING TO HAPPEN.  In other words this competency, if it’s not present already, is not going to suddenly or even eventually show up in a candidate.  IF it’s not there already move on, if this is a critical competency for this position.

In regards to any competency and what can or cannot be achieved, this comes from an article by Topgrading notes;

People who, in job after job, overcome weaker points are usually high potential people with accurate self-awareness, self-objectivity, and a high level of ambition and energy.  They show a pattern of soliciting feedback, welcoming coaching, and actually turning weaker points into strong points.  Aah – these are the A players you want, the high performers who will welcome your coaching and actually improve!

Another aspect to this question occurs naturally, given the time invested in interviewing a candidate; you will discover the natural disposition of the candidate.  No one can successfully hide who they are over 4-8 hours of rigorous interviewing.  That’s precisely why you invest the time to discover who they are.

Cost Of Mis-Hiring

One of my clients, the CEO of a ESOP company did the Cost of a Mishire Exercise (which you can do online at Cost of Mis-Hire Calculator). After doing this exercise, he said that it had cost his company close to $1.250 M to “free up their future” employee who had worked for the company for several years.  Getting rid of an employee in an ESOP is particularly expensive due to their vested interest in the company.

What does it cost your company when you hire incorrectly?

People wince when they hear Topgrading recommends interviewing final candidates for a position for up to 3.5 hours.  Yet when you calculate the cost of hiring the wrong person it’s a relatively minor inconvenience to get it right the first time.

Evaluating your team on a regular basis to determine the number of “A” players you have is a best practice we coach our Scaling Up customers to perform at least semi-annually.  Sometimes an employee who exhibits the company’s Core Values isn’t performing in their present position.  Sometimes reassigning them can be exactly the right move to keep a good employee who just needs to find a better fit for their talent.

My good friend, Doug Wick – Gazelles Coach in Cedar Rapids Iowa is the author of this insightful article.

Ted Bonel – Strategy & Execution Advisors
tedb@strategyandexecution.com.au
www.strategyandexecution.com.au

About Strategy & Execution

We have been providing organisations and their leaders with facilitation support and executive education focused on strategy development & strategy execution for more than 20 years. We support organisations seeking to create or refine excellent strategies and execute them quickly and effectively.

Our expertise is based on a mixture of wide business experience, effective tools as well as a great deal of consulting and executive education. Our approach to working with clients is as unique as our specialist focus. We always seek to challenge our clients’ thinking – but equally are unafraid to roll up our sleeves and help execute the ideas we help generate. Learn more about us here or view our upcoming workshops and events.

If you are preparing for strategy development and/or a strategy implementation challenge and are committed to creating value for your organisation, we look forward to hearing from you. Contact us now

Don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter below to receive our articles and blogs every month.

Compounding Results

Small changes can make remarkable differences in business long term. Imagine you made 10 sales calls every week. On average 2 out of 10 of those calls become a customer. That’s 104 new customers a year.

Now let’s say you increased it to 12 calls a week. This gives you an another 21 customers per year. Over 5 years, those 2 extra calls per week add up to an additional 105 customers.

“It is so easy to overestimate the importance of one defining moment and underestimate the value of making small improvements on a daily basis. Too often we convince ourselves that massive success requires massive action. Improving by 1% isn’t particularly notable – sometimes it isn’t even noticeable – but it can be far more meaningful, especially in the long run.” – From the book: Atomic Habits by James Clear

Studies show that 45% of our daily behaviours are automatic. This means that almost half of our day is spent doing something we aren’t even aware of. Some habits can serve us well, and keep us on the road to improvement. However, it is easy to fall into the trap of bad habits, and it isn’t until later that we see the negative effects of these built up over time. This is especially important in an organisation, as these poor habits can lead to an unhealthy culture.

“Habits are the compound interest of of self improvement – It is only when looking back two, five or ten years later that the value of good habits and the cost of bad ones become strikingly apparent”– From the book: Atomic Habits by James Clear

Outcomes And Processes

Most goals we set in business are focused around outcomes. We want results – to increase profits, improve retention, reduce costs, increase conversion. Outcomes are good for setting goals, but without habits and systems they won’t be achieved.

Processes on the other hand, are about what you do – creating and implementing systems to reach those goals. Finding new customers, reviewing and reducing overheads, introducing cross selling/up selling. Building and executing systems for these is ultimately going to lead to the desirable outcomes.

“You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” – James Clear

The 4 Laws Of Habits

1. NOTICING – MAKE IT OBVIOUS 

It’s impossible to begin to change a habit if you are unaware of it. It’s also easier to start a new habit if you have the right environment around you. Have a look at your office environment. Pay attention to the visuals – is it productive or distracting? What stands out?

This is what the people in your organisation (and you) see all day, every day. Our brains are continuously scanning and analysing our surroundings and when we see the same things repeatedly, we will begin to form habits, good or bad.

Make sure the office is set up in a way that people can be productive, this could include:

  • Have the right tools and equipment to perform the jobs efficiently. (Adequate printers/copiers, ergonomic chairs, noise cancelling headphones etc)
  • Ensure the temperature and lighting is comfortable, and there is access to fresh air.
  • Have a decluttered environment – this makes it easier to find what they need and avoids distraction.

2. WANTING – MAKE IT ATTRACTIVE

Making organisational change is hard, and is often resisted. This is because the opportunities gained from the change aren’t necessarily attractive to people. It’s important to make change attractive – and something they want to do.

Team members have a very strong influence on each other. If you are making a change, it’s important that the team spend time working on it together. This creates the mentality that they are in it together – making it attractive. It is especially vital that your leaders are a part of this, as they have the greatest influence over others.

3. DOING – MAKE IT EASY

Habits are formed easiest when there is less effort required, and friction is removed. Many businesses put too much emphasis on the finish line of a big goal. Focus more on the start line, and instead keep the goals small, but consistent. It’s all about repetition.

4. LIKING – MAKE IT SATISFYING

Implement rewards to change behaviours. Most organisations will jump to bonuses and salary increases, however these are delayed rewards in the future. It’s important to have immediate, small rewards also that will solidify good behaviours and give a feeling of instant success.

Ted Bonel – Strategy & Execution Advisors

Need assistance to help your team achieve your objectives to grow your business? Contact me at tedb@strategyandexecution.com.au to schedule a free 30-minute discovery meeting.

About Strategy & Execution

We have been providing organisations and their leaders with facilitation support and executive education focused on strategy development and strategy execution for more than 20 years. Using business models such as Scaling Up, Exponential Organizations, E-Myth Mastery, Outthinker etc, we support organisations seeking to create or refine excellent strategies and execute them quickly and effectively.

Our expertise is based on a mixture of wide business experience, effective tools as well as a great deal of consulting and executive education. Our approach to working with clients is as unique as our specialist focus. We always seek to challenge our clients’ thinking – but equally are unafraid to roll up our sleeves and help execute the ideas we help generate. Learn more about us here or view our upcoming workshops and events.

If you are preparing for strategy development and/or a strategy implementation challenge and are committed to creating value for your organisation, we look forward to hearing from you. Contact us now

Don’t forget to sign up to our newsletter below to receive our articles and blogs every month.