“Just as a company needs a strategy to capture market share, a company needs a strategy to encourage actions that reflect their core values.” – Neil Blumenthal, founder Warby Parker

It is not uncommon for leaders to get caught up with fast-paced growth and fail to spend the time needed to – with accurate talent assessments – ensure that key leadership roles are filled with A-Players who live and breathe the company values.

The consequences of not doing so can be far reaching with wasted cash, loss of A-Players, and dysfunction – all of which diminish growth and profit.

An entrepreneur I admire went through two years of painful and costly learning in this area. As he quickly scaled from 40 to 160 plus employees, he hired a number of leaders who did not inherently share his core values.

These leaders were most certainly talented with their individual competencies, were highly successful in their previous companies, and had excellent reputations in the market.

Unfortunately, they were hired without clarity on the role, without being properly interviewed, and without an understanding of the core values that they would be expected to uphold and nurture. The CEO was advised to hire based on reputation and friendly referrals alone.

In the end, they were not able to achieve a cohesive leadership team, and, in less than two years, the entire leadership was disbanded.

Negative Impact

The impact on the organization was devastating as they went through numerous layoffs throughout the organization. Millions upon millions of dollars were lost, and the company had to reorganize and restructure multiple times until they got back on track with their core mission, purpose, and values.

The CEO never gave up and I admire him to no end for his courage to lead his company through such intensive change. Today, the company is thriving. While they had to go through hard times together, the CEO was finally able to root the leadership team’s critical hiring decisions in the importance of slowing down and following a process, when confirming the hiring of A-Players who naturally lend support to the CEO’s core values.

In a different company, a particularly toxic Sales Manager candidate was hired based only on their sales achievements, and against the advice and warnings of internal and external A-Player experts. Without meaning to be dismissive, the VP of Sales essentially brushed off the opinions of his team and hired the Sales Manager anyway, underestimating the impact of both the lack of leadership skills and cultural fit with the team.

As a result, within three months, the company lost their entire sales team due to an additional layer of toxic leadership.

And, although the VP of Sales is a leader who many willingly follow due to his intellectual horsepower and track record for sales achievements, his A-Players colleagues are beginning to lose faith in him.

Both of the stories involve unnecessary setbacks. There’s a better way to hire and thrive with your core values!

4 Ways to Keep A-Players

As a certified Topgrading™ and International Business Coach, I love helping executives spot and support talent. I am delighted when we hire people that end up staying and rocking out in their new companies for the long term. These are the candidates who are the perfect fit for competencies and, not to be overlooked, core values.

In my experience, leaders stand a much better chance of hiring and keeping their A-Players long term by ensuring four key areas are rock solid – think of them as the building blocks for more success when it comes to building your best teams:

  1. Hire for Core Values fit (in addition to core competencies for the role) and ensure your leadership teams don’t break them. If values are disrupted by mistake or unintentionally – talk about the experience and commit openly to doing better together
  2. Listen to and lend more trust to A-Players sharing feedback on critical hiring decisions – especially when your most trusted colleagues are voicing concern about your track record with regard to hiring
  3. Quarterly Talent Reviews – ensure that you measure and improve your hiring success, demonstrating that you are getting better at avoiding mis-hires of B/C Players
  4. Allocate and commit to spending time to discuss and take action on people leadership – as you continue on the exciting path of growth and achievement, be sure you have a regular rhythm that allows your leadership to discuss how well and how often you are developing individuals and teams. The Quarterly Talent Review supports this best practice as well.

Quarterly Talent Reviews

A great way to help leaders jumpstart their ability to keep A-Players, support potential A-Players to develop further, and avoid future hiring mistakes:

  • Sit down once per Quarter and reflect on how things are going for your teams
  • Identify the A, Potential A, B, and C Players throughout the organization
  • Create a simple action plan to help everyone move into a place of continued success or move on where they can be more successful elsewhere.

By committing to the Quarterly Talent Review, organizations have clear measurement and a specific plan to help leaders make important progress towards taking great care of their talent.

Bottom Line: A-Players want to work with A-Players and leadership that is aligned, professional, and truly committed to a great culture and great people.

The Challenge

With your leadership team, evaluate your company’s track record of hiring and retaining talent over the last two years. On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 is excellent):

  • What are you doing to attract and keep A-Players?
  • Do your leaders consistently demonstrate your core values?
  • How excellent are your people-development activities?

If you need further insight on how to embed the Quarterly Talent Review best practice into your organization, call us. We’d be happy to help.

Lawrence & Co Advisor Michelle LaVallee is a Topgrading Champion who has supported international companies, across multiple industries, to achieve at least 85% A-Players in the midst of rapid growth.

Join Michelle LaVallee and Kevin Lawrence for their popular Topgrading webinars and workshops: