How To Clone Your Best Employees

In my last article we explored how to hire the right person every time.  This article explores the core technique from that article – developing and using a competency model – in greater depth.

Again, a competency model is simply a collection of personality traits – behaviors, motivators, and thinking attributes – that together comprise a model for an ‘ideal’ new hire.   You develop a competency model by assessing the best, highest performing employees in your organization – or better yet, from a cross section of high-performing employees performing the same job in the same industry.  The more data we collect and assess, the better the competency model will be.

So when you use a well-developed competency model to assess potential new hires, you’re in effect ‘cloning’ your best employees – and who wouldn’t want that?

Let’s look again at the competency model for a salesperson, again from the last article.  This particular competency model was developed from years of data collected from high-performing salespeople.  We will again use the Advanced Insights approach, modeling behaviors, motivators, and thinking attributes.

The ideal DISC behavioral profile for a salesperson looks like this (the exact numbers aren’t as important as whether they are HIGH or LOW):

DISC for Sales

  • High DECISIVE means the salesperson attacks problems with a lot of energy and makes fast decisions ‘on the fly.’
  • High INTERACTIVE means the salesperson establishes a strong interpersonal relationship with the customer, focusing on their unique needs.
  • Low STABILIZING means the salesperson relishes a fast-paced environment.
  • Low CAUTIOUS means the salesperson prefers to function in a low-structured, dynamic environment without a lot of set procedures.

Moving on to motivators, the ideal Values Index profile for a salesperson looks like this:

Values for Sales

  • High ECONOMIC means the salesperson is driven by economic factors
  • Low REGULATORY means the salesperson is a free spirit, preferring to operate in an enviroment free from needless rules and regulations

Also, a high INDIVIDUALISTIC can be a help or a hindrance, depending on whether or not the salesperson’s method works well.

Finally, let’s look at the Attributes Index:

Attributes for Sales

  • High EMPATHY allows the salesperson to connect with customers on a highly personal level and understand their emotions and needs.
  • High PRACTICAL THINKING gives the salesperson a ‘get it done now’ attitude and the ability to overcome obstacles.
  • High SELF ESTEEM gives the salesperson a strong confidence in his own abilities and self-worth.
  • High SELF DIRECTION indicates the salesperson is a strong ‘self-starter’ with a definitive plan of action.

The Attributes Index also includes a built-in competency model for sales professionals.  It assesses their abilities in six key areas:

  • Prospecting
  • Greeting
  • Qualifying
  • Demonstrating
  • Influencing
  • Closing

Each ability is broken down into a set of core attributes, representing the group of particular skills needed for that ability.  The orange rectangle suggests a minimum score for each core attribute.

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Imagine that this competency model represented the ideal traits and characteristics of your highest performing salespeople.  If we now administer Advanced Insights to new candidates for sales positions, we can see exactly how they stack up to the ideal.  You’ll know things about each candidate that no one else knows.  You can craft a set of interview questions aimed at testing and validating the competency model’s results.  You will ensure the winning candidate is clearly the best, the person who measures up to the standards set by your best employees.

It’s the next best thing to cloning!

About The Author

Sandy Cormack

Sandy Cormack is the managing director of Strategic Diagnostics LLC. He specializes in diagnosing organizational problems to dramatically increase effectiveness of hiring, individual and organizational performance.

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