In this episode Josh talks with John Grover from Endsight. They discuss the importance of values in the hiring process.
John Grover is the Chief People Officer and Co-Founder of Endsight. John received his MBA from the University of Phoenix, a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University, and earned technical certifications from both Microsoft and Cisco. He was also recently accepted into Harvard Business School’s Certificate of Management Excellence program.
John is a lifelong learner, constantly pursuing expanding his understanding both inside and outside the classroom. In addition to being an avid mountain biker and surfer, John is dedicated to reading over 50 books a year to improve himself as a leader, father, husband, and athlete. He is also passionate about empowering others to do the same. In the last year, John has written over 60 articles on such topics as leadership, company values, and learning.
In today’s episode you will learn:
- How to find the right people and put them in the right role?
- How to get people new to a role in your company “fit to serve”?
- How to keep people engaged and improving/uplifting themselves?
- How to approach Career Pathing in your company?
Narrator: Welcome to The Sustainable Business Radio Show podcast where you’ll learn not only how to create a sustainable business but you’ll also learn the secrets of creating extraordinary value within your business and your life. In The Sustainable Business, we focus on what it’s going to take for you to take your successful business and make it economically and personally successful. Your host, Josh Patrick, is going to help us through finding great thought leaders as well as providing insights he’s learned through his 40 years of owning, running, planning and thinking about what it takes to make a successful business sustainable.
Josh: Hey, this is Josh Patrick and you’re at The Sustainable Business. Today, my guest is John Grover. He is the— I forget what your title is John, but you have a company called Endsight and I want you to go here. I almost never do this, but go to https://www.endsight.net/ the best value statement I have ever seen on the website. I love the way we’re doing it. So instead of me wandering on and talking about values, let’s bring John on and we’ll have a conversation.
Hey, John, how are you today?
John: I’m good, Josh. Thanks for having me.
Josh: My pleasure. John, you were talking for a couple minutes before we started. I see that just by the way your values are set up in your website. You’re a fan of Patrick Lencioni.
John: That’s right. My business partners and I are full fans of Patrick Lencioni and all the books and almost to the point where they’ve all mashed together in our brains and it’s hard to remember which one was the Five Dysfunctions of a Team and the advantage and all this stuff. That’s how much those books and that stuff means to us.
Josh: I can certainly appreciate that. I read about a book a week and I have a hard time remembering. What was that book actually about?
John: Yeah, exactly.
Josh: But Patrick’s books tend to standout especially The Advantage and especially the section in The Advantage on goals. So if you’re not read the book, I highly recommend you do so.
Josh: But anyway when we were talking, we were talking about having a special ability to work and attract millennials. And where you are, you’re out in Silicon Valley. Actually, you’re in all clean it up in wine country from what I can see.
John: That’s right.
Josh: Even better. And where you are attracting millennials probably is the most challenging part of the whole country to do this. What’s your secret sauce?
John: I get this question a lot. I actually just got back from Harvard Business School’s Executive Leadership Program and I seem to be the hot topic for chief people officers. I don’t know that I have a secret sauce, but we do have some first principles of selecting people.
First off, we’re not overly concerned with generational differences of people. It’s a little bit off-putting to do sweeping generalizations of people and maybe not overly useful. What we do is we focus on the experience of our selection process the same way we would focus on the experience with our customers. We know that young people, but all people really want to know if they belong somewhere.
Josh: Yeah, absolutely.
John: That’s not a young person’s issue. Everybody wants to have a sense of belonging and I think about Brené Brown and her work with some I heard great books. It’s coming out and the research that she’s doing, but you cannot say no to others. They have a hard time knowing that they belong if you haven’t done this self-work yourself as a company. That’s defining your core values, your aspirational values, your purpose, your mission, your promise to the world.
Why do you get to exist as a business? What are those things that you almost have to apologize for as a business? The unique things that are you so if you know that stuff and can articulate it and it’s not easy. It’s taken us over 10 years to do it to really get it right where it feels good. But once you know that stuff, then you can go forth in your screening process and your interview process. You can look for matches.
During that process, we’ve shifted it. We’ve taken a sort of a disruptive approach to it. In the past, my understanding is that now I haven’t done a lot of job interviews myself because I’m an entrepreneur and I’ve been doing the interviewing, but I can tell you at our business that we’ve shifted from this kind of like scary interview process where we grill the candidates and we really get up just as like a tough interviews session going on. We grind. It feels like a grind and they were challenging them and doing all this stuff.
We’ve shifted that to hosting another human being sitting now with them. The first thing we do, we don’t even worry about what they know yet or their experience. We want to know who they are, right? That’s all we concern ourselves with in the beginning. The way we do that is we do a lifeline exercise.
Josh: Oh, interesting. I know what the lifeline exercise is. I’ve done it myself, but for our listeners—there’s two things I want you to first, please explain what an aspirational value is.
Josh: And then tell us what your lifeline thing is because it’s a really useful activity.
John: So to talk about aspirational values, I’ll talk about our core values first. We have our core values that there’s four of them. It’s a small list and those are nonnegotiable. Those are absolutely what we hire and select people with. We have to have alignment on those four core values. Then our aspiration values are when we are at our best what we aspire to be, but if we fall short, so be it.
We know what we’re shooting for and so that feels good. That feels good because we not always going to hit those aspirational values every day, but we are going to wouldn’t show up and try. We’re going to let ourselves off the hook occasionally if we slip that’s okay or whatever we’re going to get back on the horse and get right back at it.
Josh: I have a question for you about your aspirational values. Is your outcome to have your aspirational values become core values? Or is it okay to just leave them as aspirational value?
John: I love it. I love it. So when we have a new core value that we think might fit like, “Hey, this is us. This is a thing. This is how we are.” We actually add it to the aspirational values first. It’s almost become a parking lot for and we go slowly, Josh. We don’t take her with our main core values, our four core values. They’re not to be adjusted easily and tweaked every year and moved around. We do use the aspirational values as kind of a pilot or a testing system for our main values.
Josh: By the way, just to let you know, my core values have been basically the same for 35 years.
John: That’s awesome. Yeah, I get it. They should be true. That’s the main thing, if they’re going to be in the core category, you have to walk the walk.
John: You have to absolutely walk the line that speaks to integrity. Like right now we have this aspirational value of pursue learning and growth. But the questions come up like, “Hey, what about so and so are we willing to let somebody go because they’re not actively pursuing learning right now?”
They’re just kind of cruising and so we’re wrestling with some of these things right now. Having those two tiers of values allows us to be able to think about our values. We don’t want to be stuck and just always just have to have the ones we’ve always had. We also don’t want to change them just at the drop of a hat. That’s how it works for us.
Josh: Cool. Talk about your timeline exercise.
John: It’s easy. What we do is essentially when we deal with people they come in. They’re really nervous and we say, first of all, we put their name on the door and we treat them like a human being and like a guest and not like a prisoner being interrogated because it’s strange and weird to be interviewing for a job. It’s also sort of an easy for I think interviewers to abuse the power that they have in a job interview.
It was just off-putting. We sit down and we say, “Only one word of advice is don’t fail the YOU part of the interview.” All that to say we’re trying to get the masks off. We’re trying to like really talk about who we really are. We’re trying to get honest about what crucibles people have been through, etc. And so what we do is we go around the table first.
We need to go first. We talked about one thing we’re struggling with or whatever some vulnerability exercise that we demonstrate, “Hey, this is—” we’re not perfect. We’re humans, too. This is what we’re struggling with right now each of us individually and then we shift to the candidate and we put up on a whiteboard a long line. And on this side, that’s the day they were born. On the other side, that’s today.
Now, we asked them to plot out the defining moments of their life. Don’t leave out the early days. This isn’t just to go through their resumes as an adult. We want to know who they are and how do they– what are their values? Good people know who they are. They felt about their personal core values. We’re trying to understand what made them who they are. By the way, above the line dots those are positive moments in their life.
The data points and the defining moments below the line those are the tough times. Some might call them crucibles, trials. We don’t we just want to know the gold, silver lining behind everything. We want to know what struggles they’ve had. We want to learn about their resilience and grit. We want to know what as their jobs as we do go through their resume, where do those jobs fall on their timeline? Were they good jobs? If so, what made that good?
And, Josh all this is straightforward is pretty simple. It’s like having a great conversation with a friend or whatever and talking about their life like a good, deep conversation. What it does is it and unintentionally, it helps us in a room connect with each other.
We want to connect to the candidate. We also want to know who they are and how they got to be, who they are, what their values are. But to ask somebody about themselves and to truly listen and to care about them and their struggles and what made them who they are and to be really, really interested in that is connection. It helps them feel like belonging and all the stuff that we’ve been talking about.
Josh: When you hire somebody, what percent of those people are still with you a year later?
John: Whoo. You know, I don’t know if I have the yearly turnover. I know our average turnover is 4.9 years or something like that–
Josh: That’s very, very good where you are.
John: Now, I don’t want to be overconfident, Josh. This is not 100% game so sometimes you hire somebody and you think they’re a good fit. For whatever reason, you messed it up or you got it wrong or things happen. But it’s very expensive and it’s harsh on the candidate or the new joiner, if they take a job. It’s not a good fit for them. We do a lot of things to try to avoid making a bad decision and putting somebody in the wrong seat.
Josh: So when you do make a hiring error, how long does it take you to figure out you have? And then how long does it take you to do something about it?
John: So usually through our orientation process, we start to get a sense. I would say in four months or less we really know if somebody’s in their sweet spot. By their sweet spot, I mean what are they great at, their strengths? What are they passionate about? Because you can be good at something and not like it.
Like, I’m good at washing the dishes after dinner. I don’t love to do that. It’s not my passion. Then the third circle is, what is the world needs? What do others value? What does insight need? What our customers need? So you got to have strengths overlapping with value from others and then also the passion piece and in the middle right there that middle zone is the sweet spot.
That’s what we’re thinking about. Now, to the extent that we’ve gone too fast in our interviewing process that causes problems in the past. That’s one of the major if I had any advice to give people it would be, don’t worry about efficiency, worry about effectiveness when you’re doing selection and interview process stuff. Its $150,000 mistake or something depending on this job role and all that goes into it. It’s worth taking your time. It’s my point.
Josh: Hiring errors are very, very, very costly.
John: Oh, it’s brutal, but we get into this mode where we have to move fast. We need somebody. This person might we like them so far, but they might get another job offer. We have to hurry. That can bias your decisions. When I’ve made the biggest mistakes, it’s because I was trying to be too efficient or rush through the process too much or I didn’t take my time, I didn’t do what I really knew I shouldn’t be doing and that was to go slow and get thorough with the situation.
John: It takes the time it takes so—
Josh: Well, it does. One of the things that we did when our last hire was I spent almost the entire job posting talking about our values in almost no time talking about our job.
John: Yes, love it.
Josh: And we got a ton of people applying for the job. This is a part time job not paying a heck of a lot of money. We have over 100 applications.
John: People now and not just young people, but certainly young people there is idealistic as I’ve ever seen and I started working in the sort of the mid-90s. They’ll take less money to do something that matters and do something good in the world and be part of something bigger than themselves purpose and meaning.
That starts with not what are my job role responsibilities that starts with like, what is the mission of the organization? What do we do it? Why do we matter? Why do people pay us? Why do we get to exist? Who would miss this if we were gone tomorrow?
Josh: [Laughs] Good question.
John: I purposely restrict us from talking about their experience and their qualifications and what they know. I don’t even want to know that because I don’t trust myself. Like when you want to really hire somebody, like you need that job role fulfilled, you need to hire somebody. It clouds your judgment like this person’s done this job.
They know this stuff. They know that technology, but they may not be a cultural fit. And so some of the worst decisions I’ve made is when people have their qualifications. They can do the work. They have evidence of having done the work. But they weren’t a fit for the team, for the culture, for our organization.
Josh: That’s often how you end up having what I call brilliant jerks in your company.
John: [Laughs] Yeah.
Josh: You have somebody who is highly competent at the job they’re doing but impossible to get along with.
John: Yeah, we don’t do that. Maybe we don’t grow as fast. We have 100 people.
Josh: That’s a big IT consulting organization.
John: Yeah, we’re the biggest in our area. So when I go around and talk to people, people in my role as the chief people officers, but entrepreneurs in general, their number one thing that they’re saying right now is, “I can’t find good people.”
Josh: I’ve been listening there for 40 years.
John: I know, right?
Josh: It’s not that they can’t find good people. They don’t have a way of developing good people.
John: That’s right. Absolutely.
Josh: Hiring process is one thing. Then there’s the onboarding process and then there’s coaching process which is replaced performance reviews with performance coaching because I don’t think reviews are worth anything, but coaching is very valuable.
Most companies are not willing to invest in that type of employee engagement nor do most companies value their employees as much or as I would like to see them do more than their customers.
John: Right. I’ve got this first principle, Josh. You hit it. You open the door for me to talk about it. I’m so fired up about it, but if we treat people like a means to an end, we’re going to lose.
John: Nobody likes that. One of my friends was talking about something anyway, they were talking about one of their best employees and they were asking and I’m like, “How can I find 10 more people like you?” They meant it to be like a flattering statement to the employee and I just cringed inside. I’m like, “Nobody wants to feel like a widget like a means to a profitable end.” That doesn’t feel good at all. If we make somebody a job offer, it’s because we want to work with them.
John: And if we do well, if we make a good decision and there’s a good fit, we’ll both do well, but treating people like a means to a profitable end has got to stop. That right there feels horrible. That’s dehumanizing. That’s objectifying people in a way that’s off-putting. It’s just not right. It’s just not a good thing to do. I don’t want to be like a pack mule or a horse tied to a cart and whipped and just– that’s one of our core things is like, do we want to work with this person? If so, why? Why are they a good fit? If we get that stuff right, we’ll do well.
Josh: Yeah, absolutely. What it really comes down to is having a great team requires great leaders who are self-aware, curious and interested in what can they do to help others not what can others do to help you?
John: Right. Yeah.
Josh: What I call servant leadership.
John: Servant Leadership. That’s so important.
Josh: Kind of like to take the org chart and turn it upside down.
John: Yeah, respect for people is big with us. We’re also big fans of like, Toyota’s philosophy and lean manufacturing techniques, but for the service industry.
Josh: I kind of like agile better than lean for your size company, but that’s a different conversation that we don’t have time to get into it right now. Unfortunately, John we are out of time. I’m hoping that people here wanting to learn more about your company and want to learn more about what you do and how you do it. Can you tell us how we find you?
John: Find us on our website, https://www.endsight.net/. That’s https://www.endsight.net/. For me, you can find me on LinkedIn. Search for John Grover with Endsight and come and find me. Send me an invite. Let’s have a discussion. I’m passionate about this stuff. I think that work should be better. I think that work should be great. It’s such a big part of our lives. I will help. I can talk to anybody. I’m kind of on a mission. If this is important to you, and you’d like to talk more just send me an invite. Let’s start a discussion.
Josh: Sounds great. I have an offer for you, too. One of the things that allows John to do what he’s doing is I’m going to promise you cash flow is not a huge issue for me. Probably was an issue when he first started his company, but today, I’m going to bet it’s not. Every business owner I know and I can tell by the way John is looking at me. He says, what do you mean cash flow is not an issue for me of course, it’s an issue for me.
Josh: It’s an issue in a different way. I developed a program called Cracking the Cash Flow Code which talks about the success path about how you goes a startup having no cash to having a mature well oil company where you’re creating enough cash to fund all four areas of your company. I did an infographic around this. It shows what are the bottlenecks each step along the way. To get is pretty easy just go to www.sustainablebusiness.co/cashflow that’s www.sustainablebusiness.co/cashflow. You’ll get access to the infographic and you can see where you are on the road to creating cash flow freedom for your life. This is Josh Patrick with John Grover. You’re at The Sustainable Business. Thanks a lot for stopping by. I hope to see you back here really soon.
Narrator: You’ve been listening to The Sustainable Business podcast where we ask the question, “What would it take for your business to still be around a hundred years from now?” If you like what you’ve heard and want more information, please contact Josh Patrick at 802-846-1264 ext 2, or visit us on our website at www.askjoshpatrick.com, or you can send Josh an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thanks for listening. We hope to see you at The Sustainable Business in the near future.