Verne Harnish suggests that the first step to ensuring that you are scaling up your business properly is drawing in the right candidates, hiring them and retaining them. Topgrading is a method of hiring “A” Players and was co-created by Brad and Geoff Smart. “A” players are the specific individuals that make up the top 10% of the available talent interested in the position that you are offering.
For starters, your interview process is going to have multiple levels, each one becoming much more rigorous and exposing. Harnish’s book recommends using gatekeeper questions that correspond with your business’ core values and purpose. According to him, the next step is a screening interview: five powerful questions that can be addressed in 30-45 minutes over the phone or in person. Lastly, his book presents the Chronological In-Depth Structured (CIDS) Interview, a comprehensive three-to- four- hour interview that examines the candidate’s entire career to discover patterns that are likely of repeating themselves.
After gaining the attention of top performers and welcoming them into the organization, you must turn your attention to your management. Harnish believes that great managers are stand apart from “good” ones because, after building a team of “A” players, they are going to successfully strengthen and motivate their employees without forgetting to show appreciation. He introduces five key activities great managers perform that set them apart from the rest.
Hiring less and paying more is a vital method of gaining more work and productivity while using fewer resources by hiring fewer employees. Specifically, you bring in the top performers, pay them above market-rate and promote their productivity by investing in developing their skills. This could mean investing in their training or otherwise.
Recognizing worth and showing appreciation has been proven as an important element of employee productivity. Studies have shown that employees need to experience positive interactions vs. negative ones with their manager in a ratio of at least 3.1 to be happy at work. Chip Conley’s book, Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo from Maslow, presents ideas on how to develop a culture of recognition and appreciation in the workplace.
Setting clear expectations and providing an understanding of employee contributions should be one of the top concerns of any great manager’s priorities. Employees need to understand how their contributions fit into the company objectives to help them organize their own priorities and align them with those of the company. Jack Stack calls this “line of sight” in his book The Great Game of Business: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company.
Expelling demotivation and introducing “de-hassling” could improve the efficiency of the whole team. According to Harnish, the top de-motivator for “A” players would be facing unnecessarily difficult situations. Fixing these issues could range from letting go of clients who mistreat employees to ensuring that your employees have the appropriate tools needed to complete jobs.
Helping people play to their strengths is almost another form of motivation because although it is not motivating them per se, it is still improving their productivity. Great managers can help individuals focus and shape their jobs over time around activities that make them stronger rather than making them weak.
Marcus Buckingham’s and Curt Coffman’s First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently
Chip Conley’s Peak: How Great Companies Get Their Mojo From Maslow
Jack Stack’s The Great Game of Business: The Only Sensible Way to Run a Company
Brad and Geoff Smart’s Topgrading (How to Hire, Coach and Keep A Players)