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The Whole Person Approach For Selecting Top Performers


What Drives Top Talent?

Your car is racing but it can't compete on the track. Like a car with old tires, hiring or developing highly energetic people with the wrong skills, values and behaviors provide no traction to move forward.

You've been there: you read resumes and interview great candidates for a job. You sense enormous potential and possibility with each new hire.  When you make the final decision, you have a sense of hope that “now we have the right person who can make things happen.”  You feel euphoric!

But then, six to nine months later things aren’t going well. You then devote a mountain of time and resources to help this person achieve average or below average performance. You spend hours trying to figure out why and how to fix the issue, you coach and train to no avail.  They are a nice person, but a below average performer. 

What do you do?  Letting the person go cost the organization tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars. Letting them stay costs more.  The  emotional cost is high but you finally make the change.  Ugg!

The problem may be in your process for hiring and developing people.  First, you have the wrong tire on the car to move ahead at the speed you need.  Second, you need to look under the hood to really see what gifts and talent the people possess. This is especially difficult in hiring top sales people.

Here's a set of four ways to assess your new tires, a scientific process to hire and manage that has been thoroughly road-tested and will stand up to the potholes and curves you will encounter.

Tire #1: What is their raw talent?


What raw talent are you looking for in the job?  Have you benchmarked the job for the talent required?  Is it important to have problem solving ability, self-management, high personal accountability, persuasion, empathy, do they think like a leader, have a quality orientation, or are they a strategic thinker?  This is where most problems occur in hiring or managing performance.  It is not being able to identify what is the “raw” talent needed.  So first, have your stakeholders in the job write out a list of three to five key outcomes required for superior performance and look at what is needed.

Tire #2: What is their behavioral Style?

We're talking about the person’s style of behavior here - the how. Behaviors come in four styles:

  • Directing-this type will likely just tell you to do it.  It is all about the challenge and competition.

  • Influencing-this type will use talking and gestures in their efforts to win your favor.

  • Steady-this type will demonstrate logic, patience and a soft sell. This style is concerned with the pace and consistency.

  • Compliant-this type will work to convince you with facts and data.  They think about following policies and procedures.

Which style is the most effective for the job and the position you seek to fill?  Or what combination is needed?  This is literally the million-dollar question.  If you don’t have tools to accurately predict, give them a real situation you have in the company and ask them how they would come to a resolution.  The key is to listen to how they think.  For current employees, just watch!

Tire #3: What Motivates them (Attitudes and Values)?

What are the two major buckets that truly motivate this person and what does the job require? Motivating Attitudes (values) are the internal rewards and forces-the why behind the things people do. Do you have a way of objectively knowing?  If you don’t have the tools to do so, ask them targeted behavioral based interview questions like, “what parts of your past jobs were the most rewarding and why?”

Tire #4: What about experience and technical skills?

Your car can't win on only three wheels, so it is vital to assess technical skills and experience, too. For many companies this is most of what they test and technical skills becomes the only tire-they have a unicycle, not a race car! 

Several studies have confirmed that only 15 percent of a worker's long-term fit is based on technical skills and knowledge. The other 85 percent is based in people skills, talent and people knowledge. You've got to have the other three!

When people are hired, they come with a behavioral style - individual preferences to think and behave in certain ways. And yet many managers still downplay the impact that this style has on performance (or the lack of it) and continue to rely on experience, education and "gut feeling" as the primary rights of passage for hiring the "right" people.So What Is the Solution?
You can drive top talent if you put the right talent in the right job the first time and then lead and develop the person. We have encouraged clients to compete and “win” by following this approach for the past 25 years. Thankfully, the Nobel Prize committee has recognized the reliability and accuracy of what we are talking about with the science of axiology that clients can use to accurately predict talent. The AMA says that the cost of a wrong hire is 1.5 times the yearly weighted salary.  Most companies will save thousands of dollars by following these four keys.

So quit driving without the newest and proven technology.  Are you ready to put the pedal to the metal and make real traction?

 This article written by Robb Hiller the President of Performance SolutionsMN Inc. He is nationally known in helping companies “get unstuck” in the areas of strategic planning, sales force effectiveness, benchmarking talent & helping put the right person in the right seat. His time tested methods are ever evolving and impacting the bottom lines of hundreds of companies around the world. REV Advisory Group and REV Performance Solutions are proud to partner with Robb Hiller to bring these solutions to an ever increasing list of clients.