Topgrading (revised PHP edition): How Leading Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching and Keeping the Best People Hardcover – Apr 7 2005
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The key to building a superior company, an increasing number of observers now agree, is the ongoing ability to recruit and retain superior personnel. In Topgrading, industrial psychologist and global consultant Bradford Smart expands upon this idea by examining in great detail exactly how today's premier organizations have assembled such top-level employees, and then showing precisely how others can do it, too. "Simply put, topgrading is the practice of packing the team with A players and clearing out the C players," Smart writes. "'A players' is defined as the top 10 percent of talent available at all salary levels--best of class. With this radical definition, you are not a topgrader until your team consists of all A players. Period." Essentially a best-practices manual for developing this outstanding personnel pool, the book is based on more than 4,000 interviews and case studies conducted by Smart at major corporations like General Electric as well as fast-growing high-tech companies and small family-owned firms. He further bolsters its effectiveness by including his extensive "Chronological In-Depth Structured Interview Guide," along with other assessment tools and hands-on strategies for assembling an ideal work team. --Howard Rothman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
Great companies are made, not born. The secret is hiring the right people -- the "A" players. This is, of course, easier said than done. Statistically, half of all employment situations result in mis-hire: the wrong person for the wrong job. And with the cost of a mis-hire at twenty-four times salary, the financial drain can be staggering. Compare that with Brad Smart's 90% success rate and you'll understand why topgraded organizations such as General Electric and AlliedSignal consistently beat the competition.
In this unparalleled work, Dr. Smart introduces the Topgrading concept -- how and why it works. Managers at every level and at companies large and small will learn how to implement his proven fool-proof method. The author spells out his practical hands-on approach and provides intriguing case studies culled from his file of more than 4,000 in-depth interviews.
Further, Topgrading's expert coaching techniques turn "B" players into "A" players.
The lesson is simple: managers who topgrade become leaders -- "A" players -- achieving success not only for their companies but for themselves. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
I finished re-reading a book this morning called "Topgrading - how Leading Companies Win by hiring, Coaching and keeping the Best People" by Bradford Smart. The thesis of the book is great companies always look to upgrade their people and that a top 10%er can way out perform someone less.
One challenge I have with the book is it is never black and white. Most people have some good and some challenge areas. I also suggest that we can never truly grade people due to the complexity. This is the problem with most incentive systems. By nature they are short term and therefore wrong. The only true performance should be measured over a decade or decades. A quarter or a month is a ridiculously short time to try to measure performance on.
I also think it is crazy to think companies can figure out in advance who will truly be their top performers. I do agree that past performace can be an indicator but companies vary tremendously so it has to be a mix of the person with the company and environment.
One area that I need to up my game in is coaching. I can likely get good returns by investing more here. At the same time as I write this, I have concerns that coaching can be arrogant. I have seen many leaders not add value by meddling in other peoples' areas. Just because someone is a leader does not mean they know how someone else should do their job.
My belief is the success of people is largely determined by the company. Great companies set themselves up to maximize talent and build themselves to take advantage of each individuals' unique gifts.
And of course while reading it, I cannot help but think how I can make myself into one of the top 10 percenters. I have now added this to my goal list and will be charting a plan.
Overall it is a good thought provoking book even though I disagree with some of the theories he expounds.
I have recommended this book to my clients on my recruiting contracts because many have never been taught how to conduct a structured interview. Consequently, they tend to ask one set of questions to one candidate and another set of questions to another candidate for the same job. How will they be able to compare the two candidates? Brad Smart gives them a nice track to run on.
My only major difficulty with the book is the amount of time between the initial interview and the final interview a month later. In my experience as a professional recruiter, that is too long between interviews. In recruitment, time is your enemy. There are too many companies who are searching for A Players. You could lose an A Player easily within a month to another, more efficient company. As our economy moves from the Baby Boomers as the primary workforce to the Gen X'ers, we are about to experience a shortage of workers. If you wait too long to extend an offer, the Recruiterguy will get them!
On the other hand, Brad's reference checking information is so valuable that I have been teaching my clients to use it. I agree with him that it is important for the hiring manager to conduct the reference checks. It's simple psychology. If I call the manager of a candidate and identify myself as a recruiter, the former manager will give me some information about the candidate. However, their perception is that I am not their peer (unless they know me from a previous relationship).Read more ›
For me, the most stunning revelations in the book are found on page 50, in Figure 3.2, "Cost of Miss-Hire Study Results." According to the results of Smart's research study of more than 50 corporations, the sum of costs of a mis-hire (on average) are as follows:
Base salary Less than $100,000: 14 times salary
Base Salary $100,000-250,000: 28 times salary
All Salaries: 24 times salary
Now go back and re-read those statistics while keeping in mind that, for various reasons which Smart briefly explains, "the numbers are probably conservative.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
We've been using Topgrading for about 18 months now. While there are some useful ideas in the book, it's claims of its ability to provide you with a fool-proof way to identify "A... Read morePublished on March 5 2007 by A Customer
... with the neither malice nor pity. That's the gist of this excellent book, and it's not offensive to the concept of human dignity. To the contrary, Dr. Read morePublished on June 15 2004 by H.C. Joiner
After reading the reviews of this book, I wanted it...but there's one hesitation.
One company the marketers of the book hold up as an example of why the author's work is... Read more
As an HR consultant and executive coach, Topgrading is my bible. It's taught me skills that have really worked to help clients hire nothing but A players and coach their B players... Read morePublished on Jan. 16 2003 by Consultant and Coach
As an HR consultant and executive coach, Topgrading is my bible. It's taught me skills that have really worked to help clients hire nothing but A players and to coach their Bs to... Read morePublished on Jan. 15 2003 by Consultant and Coach
Great for tips and forms that help you interview more effectively, if you can find candidates who don't mind spending a few hours in a single interview. Read morePublished on July 18 2002
Smart comes off like a pretty hard nosed SOB in the first half of this book. He doesn't seem to talk much about how to correct problems other than firing people. Read morePublished on May 23 2002
Dr. Smart has provided the definitive guide on how to acquire and retain elite talent. His approach is not only logical and well researched, but also highly practical. Dr. Read morePublished on March 4 2002 by Roman
While focussing attention on our people is not a new concept for us, Dr. Smart's Topgrading principles have provided a terrific mechanism to deliberately develop our organization's... Read morePublished on March 4 2002 by M. Cass Wheeler
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