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Hiring a High Performance Person?

Recently I was listening to an expert of high performance talk about how to find high performers for your team. It was very interesting listening to how he built his team to service all his customers around the globe.

Seems he has learned how to narrow the search using only one primary question. And, yes, he does ask for all the traditional information along with the candidates resume and stuff. Yet, this one question is his silver bullet question.

Assuming you also are looking for high performers here is the key question…

What was the worst mistake you have ever made in business? And, how did you feel about it?

On the surface this is like most behavioral based questions we all hear about. Yet, this drives extra meaning. If you are looking to hire only high performers then the way this question is answered provides the key for you.

Here is what you are looking for relative to the answer. Guilt!

Yes, I know that sounds real corny and simplistic. Yet, it uncovers the person’s ability to deal with responsibility and most importantly their accountability for getting results.

One way to answer the question is to talk about how others caused the issue and it was their fault. If they had not done this “thing” to them, well they are certain it would not have happened at all. Interesting!

The other way a person will answer is to get all upset about their screw up and what it meant to the team and their employer. In other words you begin to hear a feeling of guilt they let it happen on their watch. They are almost ashamed that it happened. The key here is they are taking full responsibility for ownership or the screw up or mistake. And, they continue to talk about what they learned from it and how they now know what to do at a higher level today.

Personally I agree with this assessment for the selection of high performing team members. While working with several clients I have gotten to know many of their direct reports and key people. Interesting enough the people who avoid responsibility are the lower performers in these organizations. Think about the ones who are always blaming others for their issues.

And, the top performers will tell you how they continuously are in a learning mode – especially since they let the team down a long time ago. The top performers will seldom blame others for anything – preferring to tell you how they plan to fix the problem or issue as soon as they can. Think about who takes personal responsibility for all their actions. They are the keepers.

If you are one of the hiring managers, please note you no longer have any room for low performers and high performers are harder to find in this new economic environment we live in today. However, you can make a difference using the question above and listening to the candidates answers – guilty or blame. Pick the guilty ones since they will make certain it will not happen again.

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Voss Graham

CEO / Sr Business Advisor at InnerActive Consulting Group Inc
Voss Graham is an Organizational Architect with 30+ years of experience designing sustainable business growth for organizations of all sizes. Creating the Strategic Focus with the Executive Leadership Teams, he uses Systems & Process to ensure the Drivers for Business Growth are Executed at the Highest Levels. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings - contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.

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Voss Graham

Voss Graham is an Organizational Architect with 30+ years of experience designing sustainable business growth for organizations of all sizes. Creating the Strategic Focus with the Executive Leadership Teams, he uses Systems & Process to ensure the Drivers for Business Growth are Executed at the Highest Levels. Voss is available as a Speaker for your conferences or company meetings - contact him at 901-757-4434 or use the LinkedIn or Facebook direct messages.