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The Three Job Interview Questions You Need to Answer

How to Position Yourself For Career Success

George Bradt Executive Onboarding Expert - TotalPicture Radio interview with Peter ClaytonGeorge Bradt

Are you committed to advancing your career in 2017? And I don't mean a small, incremental 'one rung up the ladder' type of change. I mean a fundamental change: how to take charge, get immediate results and achieve a new level of success.

Here's the playbook you need: The New Leader's 100 Day Action Plan. This book has legs. That's why there's a 4th, updated Edition. And that's why it's primary author, George Bradt is back on TotalPicture Radio. Although the focus of The New Leader's 100 Day Action Plan is onboarding executives, it really provides a blueprint for positioning yourself for success at every stage of your career. And that's why you'll find it in the Career Strategies Channel of TotalPicture Radio, not the Leadership Channel.

In the first chapter, you will learn how to ace a job interview, and assess if the job is right for you.

There are only three interview questions:
1. Can you do the job?
2. Will you love the job?
3. Can I tolerate working with you.

To put it in another way, that's strength, motivation, and fit.

There are many powerful, career changing insights, tools and tactics in The New Leader's 100 Day Action Plan. George and I discuss a few of them in this podcast. However, my recommendation -- go wherever you buy books and buy this one. Put it at the very top of your reading list.

George Bradt has led the revolution in how people start new jobs.

He progressed through sales, marketing, and general management around the world at companies including Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola, and J.D. Power's Power Information Network spin off as chief executive.

Now he is a Principal of CEO Connection, Creative Director of Glass Heart Productions and Chairman of PrimeGenesis, the executive onboarding group he founded in 2003 to accelerate complex transitions for leaders and teams. Since then, George and his partners have reduced new leader failure rates from 40% to 5% through a single-minded focus on helping them and teams deliver better results faster over their first 100-days. A graduate of Harvard and Wharton (MBA), George is co-author of five books on onboarding, over 375 articles for Forbes, and nine musicals (book, lyrics and music).

Talking Points:
George Welcome back to TotalPicture Radio! It's been 2 years! And listeners, you find a wealth of information by listening to past interviews with George all linked on his show page in the leadership channel of TotalPicture Radio.

Before we dig-into the the latest edition of The New Leader's 100 Day Action Plan..

George is a contributor to Forbes and a recent article caught my attention, titled Why Organizations Get The Employee Engagement They Deserve. Could you share with us the main points of your article?

Those that invite their employees to contribute are more likely to get those contributions. Organizations with a command and control way of operating get mostly compliant employees. And organizations that continually re-organize and do not give their employees clear direction should not be surprised if their engagement scores are low.

I recently interviewed Phil Nosworthy the CEO of Switch an Australian based learning and development program - he works with Microsoft's MACH (Microsoft Academy of College Hires) program and mentioned to me how different the culture at Microsoft is with Satia in charge - it's now "cool" to work for Microsoft - a huge shift from Ballimer's command and control style.

So, The New Leader's 100 Day Action Plan is now in it's 4th Edition.  Before we get to what's new in this edition I want to reprise some of the oldies but goodies from you book. I've always maintained this book is a tremendous resource before you accept a new leadership role. So let's start with culture and why it is so important.

You've coined an acronym BRAVE -which stands for an organization's Behaviors, Relationships, Attitudes, Values, and Environments. Explain the BRAVE framework for us.
(Environment, Values, Attitudes, Relationships, Behaviors)

One of your mantras that has always stuck with me is your observation that there are only three interview questions. Can you expand on these for us.

And you also contend there are only 3 interview answers. What are they?

Today, interviewing - even on a senior level may include a pre-screen video interview. How are these different from face-to-face and how should you prepare for these?

You write about the Deadly Seven Onboarding Land Mines, describe a couple of these for me.

Of course, there's the psychology of winning when you're involved in multiple job interviews, background checks, everything that's involved in hiring for leadership positions. However, you caution that candidates must do your due diligence before you accept the job offer.

Chapter title: Leverage the fuzzy Front End. Explain what you mean by fuzzy Front End.

The New Leader's 100 Day Action Plan contains a number of worksheets and is supported by an extensive web site.

You contend that the moment you accept an offer you need to start to work -- even if it's several weeks before you actually start the job. Why is this so important?

Ok what's new or changed in the 4th edition?

One of the most important tasks a new executive needs to create what you call a Burning Imperative. Describe this for us.

What is important that I didn't ask?

How can our listeners connect with you?

EPISODE 1570: George Bradt. TotalPicture Radio Transcript

This spring TotalPicture Radio will be reporting from and covering a number of the most important and influential talent acquisition HR, leadership, and technology conferences. Including Sourcecon in Anaheim, California, The ERE Spring in beautiful San Diego, California, TAtech Spring Congress co-locating this year with SHRM Talent Management in Chicago, Illinois. To learn more about these events visit the TotalPicture Radio conference and events page on TotalPicture.com. For more information regarding our unique, strategic, and custom sponsorship opportunities, and video production services, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it with media kit in the subject line. Or give us a call at 203-293-7003.

And now, here's our show.

Peter: Welcome to TotalPicture Radio. Your resource for leadership, learning, and development career strategies featuring best selling authors, leaders in HR talent acquisition, sourcing, and the related tools and technologies accelerating business growth. I'm your host Peter Clayton.

Are you committed to advancing your career in 2017? And I don't mean a small incremental one rung up the ladder type of change. I mean a fundamental change; how to take charge, get immediate results and achieve a new level of success. Here's the playbook you need - The New Leader's 100 Day Action Plan. This book has legs. That's why it's in its fourth updated edition, and that's why its primary author, George Bradt is back on TotalPicture Radio.

Although, the focus of the New Leader's 100 Day Action Plan is on boarding executives, it really provides a blueprint for positioning yourself for success at every stage of your career.

In the first chapter you will learn how to ace a job interview and assess if the job is right for you. There are only three interview questions. 1 - Can you do the job? 2 - Will you love the job? 3 - Can I tolerate working with you?

To put it another way, that's strength, motivation and fit. There are many powerful career changing insights, tools, and tactics in the New Leader's 100 Day Action Plan. George and I discuss a few of them in this podcast. However, my recommendation, go wherever you buy your books and buy this one, then put it at the very top of your reading list.

George, welcome back to TotalPicture Radio. It's been about two years, and listeners, you'll find a wealth of information by listening to past interviews with George all linked on his show page in the careers strategy channel of TotalPicture Radio. Before we dig into the latest edition of the New Leader's 100 Day Action Plan, George is a contributor to Forbes, and a recent article really caught my attention. It's titled, "Why Organizations Get the Employee Engagement They Deserve." Could you share, George, some of the main points of that article with us because it really resonated with me.

George: I can. Thank you for asking. The big thing is they get the engagement they deserve because they prompt it. What happens is, there are I would argue, four levels of engagement. To just say engaged or not engaged is too blunt a tool. What you've got is people are disengaged; everybody understands that but then you've got people that are compliant doing the minimum they can do to get by. And people that are contributing that are really trying to help and people committed to the cause. If you boil it down you get what you prompt. If you provide people inconsistent communication or constantly reorganizing, you shouldn't be surprised if your employees are disengaged.

If you have a command and control environment where you're telling people what to do, you're going to get people complying. If you want people to contribute, you have to invite their contributions. If you want people that are committed, actually what you have to do is get the garbage, get the distractions out of their way so they can do what they really want to do, which is drive things that are good for others because they believe in it and they're emotionally invested.

Peter: When I read that article I thought about an interview I recently did with Phill Nosworthy who's the CEO of a company called Switch, which is an Australian based learning and development program. He works a lot with Microsoft on their MACH program which is the Microsoft Academy of College Hires program. He mentioned to me how different the culture at Microsoft is with Satya in charge now. It's cool to work for Microsoft and a huge shift from Ballmer's command and control style. I think that's an interesting observation on how quickly leaders can really change the culture of an organization just by the way they lead.

George: You're anticipating next week's article. What I've been thinking about, so you are literally ahead of the curve on this one is, is leading by example is always wonderful but it's hard to embed leading by example. My thinking is that as you move into an organization and try to change things there's an order. Before you start you really need to seek first to understand. You don't want to change anything. Before you get there, if you're going to converge and evolve just figure out what's going on and understand the way these organizations behave, the way they relate, their attitude, their values, and their environment. Then when you come in the environment where they play, the choices they make there, that's kind of set at least for the moment. The values are bedrock. What matters and why and who cares most; those are bedrock and you're not going to change those.

Arguably, the first thing you'd want to change is the attitude. Not by trying to change the vocabulary, because vocabulary is sticky. The words people use, the language of the organization is sticky. But if you give people new frameworks you can change their attitude - new frameworks for thinking, new ways of approaching things. What happens is you can start to make the intellectual change. You're leading by example but you're explaining the way you're thinking through frameworks. Not that threatening, you're not saying people are bad. It's just 'hey, here's a new way of thinking about things.' That's attitude.

Then you move on to relationships. You've been building relationships before you start, but as you want to start to change the relationships of the way people connect that happens through stories narrative, and the way you tell the stories and the way you learn the stories because stories and narrative drive emotions. If you made the intellectual change with frameworks to change the attitude then second step is to start making emotional change to the stories.

Finally, you come back to the behaviors. You embed the new behaviors by changing the processes. So, it's frameworks, then stories, then processes over time.

Peter: Interesting. I think that's a great segue into talking about the New Leader's 100 Day Action Plan which is now in its fourth edition. Before we get into what's new in this edition I would really like to have you reprise some of the what I call the oldies and goodies from your book. I've always maintained this book as a tremendous resource before you accept a new leadership role. Let's start with culture and why it is so important.

George: Actually, I'm going to have to twist your question because we have always thought culture was important. Through all the editions - a big change between the first and second edition was, we had to rethink communicate. Fourth edition is where we used to think culture mattered, we now actually think culture is all that matters. It's all about culture. It's everything about on boarding in our mind. If I could boil it down it is about converging into a culture and then evolving it. It is sequential. If you try to change it before you're part of it, you are a change agent. Change agents have a very low likelihood of surviving the change they're creating. Whereas, if you can find a way to converge into the culture and evolve it from within (A) you're more likely to survive, and (B) it's more likely to stick.

Peter: Let's take this one step further and talk about your brave framework. This acronym you coined BRAVE, which stands for an organization's behaviors, relationships, attitudes, values, and environments. Explain how you approach this whole BRAVE framework for us and how this helps you when you go into a new relationship, a new leadership role within a new organization.

George: It's been a really valuable framework. I think we thought it up for the third edition and it's really the heart of the fourth edition. The thing about culture is it's hard to understand and it's hard to figure out what's going on. Some people drop back to really overly simplified definition of culture. Yeah, culture's the way we do things here or the things that happen when nobody's looking. Nothing wrong with those but they're really, maybe not as useful as they could be if you take them further.

Other people do pretty sophisticated studies of culture and do research. They interview people and they get to really sophisticated models. Those are wonderful but they're hard to do relatively fast. I was searching for a way for people to get a handle on culture, preferences, behavior and whatever it is relatively quickly but I wanted it to be robust enough for people to use. I got to this BRAVE thing which started out as culture and then it turns out it's a framework for leadership, as well.

Culturally, it is behaviors. If you can understand a culture by watching the way people actually behave you can understand the culture by understanding the way they relate to each other. You can understand a culture by understanding their attitude, is this an organization like Apple that is always on the front foot and ridiculously innovative and the whole culture is based around innovation. Or, is it like the Ritz Carlton where the culture is based on responding to guests needs so they are reactive in the most positive way. Very different cultures, very different needs, very different premises. That's attitude.

You can understand a culture by understanding its values. Not the values on the wall. Not if you are Enron, for example sitting there saying, " Okay, we care about communication, respect, integrity, and excellence, except we really don't. Or, Volkswagen whose values were social responsibility, sustainability, partnership, and volunteering. Gee, how big do you want social responsibility and sustainability? Not those values but the values that are real that people actually follow. Then you can understand the culture by looking at literally the physical environment. It's very different if you walk into Goodyear Tire Company ten years ago that still looked like it was in the 1950's with big mahogany walls and executives hiding behind their secretaries, hiding behind the walls and three inch thick carpet versus walking into WeWork's where people are sharing the same desk and whatever.

The framework is relatively simple. Behaviors, relationships, attitudes, values, and environment - it helps you understand the culture.

For onboarding, part of the magic comes in actually starting by understanding your own preferences and how you like to behave, relay your attitude, your values, and the environment you like to work in. When you understand the same things for the organization you're getting into you can get a really quick, but really pretty good read on fit. If the organization looks a lot like your preferences it's going to be easier to fit in. If it looks very different, fits going to be an issue. When organizations are hiring people they say they want to change their culture, but if somebody is way out on a bunch of dimensions they're not going to fit. If they are perhaps a little more disciplined in the way they behave that's a cultural evolution that might work. If they relayed in different ways, if they have a slightly different attitude, if it's a little change, then you can evolve into it.

I've been talking for a long time. We started this framework a couple of years ago as a cultural framework. A lot of people have liked it. A lot of people have gotten a lot of value out of it.

Peter: I think it's fantastic. You cite some examples in your book of people who have gone into organizations where there's not a good fit, and a lot of times it's interesting; it seems to be marketing positions. We all know that CMOs are the most endangered species when they take a new job because they go into these jobs thinking that they really are going to be able to change things and that they have a license to go in and really shake things up and change things. I have a very good friend who just took a senior role not too long ago with an organization in strategy and recruiting. Two weeks in she realized that she had made a huge mistake because she wasn't going to be able to turn the Titanic at all.

George: It's not in the book, but a personal story. I was coming out of Coca Cola. An executive recruiter called me up and wanted to talk to me about being the chief marketing officer for International Paper. At that point International Paper had I think 80,000 engineers. I said, "Why would you want to hire me? I'm a consumer products marketer." He said, "Oh, they want to make a cultural change and they want to be more consumer oriented." I said, "Right. You think me coming in as chief marketing officer, you think I can change the minds of 80,000 engineers? Not in this lifetime. Go find somebody else." I knew going in I didn't have the framework but I just viscerally knew.

You're right, a lot of examples in the books but at the risk of repeating myself, change agents find it very difficult to survive the change they make. People that come in to make organizations more consumer oriented they get it started, they can make an impact but they can't survive it.

Peter: One thing that we've spoken about in the past that has always stuck with me is your observation that there are only three interview questions.

George: I keep coming back to this because it's true. Three interview questions and one follow up question. Any question you have ever asked anyone in a job interview or any question anybody's ever been asked in a job interview is a subset of one of three questions: -Can you do the job? -Will you love the job? -Can we tolerate working with you?

Or strengths, motivation, and fit. It's just that. There is nothing else.

The expansion is, if there are only three questions there are only three answers. As you go into a job interview you just need to be clear on your strengths, what motivates you and where you fit, which comes back to the BRAVE preferences and cultural thing.

But, the other thing to remember about interviews is nobody actually cares about you if you're being interviewed. All they care about is what you can do for them. They don't really care about your strengths. They care about the strengths that you've got that are most applicable to their needs. They don't really care about your motivation. They care about how your motivations line up with what you're going to be doing in the job so that you're going to be excited about it. They don't really care about your preferences. They care about how close your preferences are to the organization so they know whether they're going to be able to tolerate you or whether you're going to be disrupted.

That's the expansion of that. Trust me, I can go into excruciating depth.

Peter: That really gives people a good sense of really what we're talking about here. There's another thing, you have a chart in your book that is the Deadly 7 On boarding Landmines. Can you describe several of those for us because I think it's so germane to what we've been speaking about.

George: I can and I'm happy to talk about it. I'd like to trade up a little bit. Jamie my co-author really sort of loves the seven. I can't remember seven. I guess I can remember... I can go through the chart. They really tree up to three.

The people that fail in new jobs fail for really one of three reasons. Either they don't fit, they don't deliver, or they don't adjust to a change. Fit definitely picks up a lot of the early seven landlines. There's an organizational issue. If you don't fit with the organization or if the organization doesn't have a winning strategy it doesn't really matter. You have to fit with the role. If you're not lined up with the role, forget it. The CMO you were talking about who two weeks in figured out 'oh my gosh, I can't do this job,' that's a problem.

If your skills don't fit with what they're looking for... shame on you if you pretended to have strengths that you don't have that doesn't work. All that's fit. Relationships are fit, as well. The first four of the seven - organization role, personal skills, and relationships - they're all kind of subsets of fit.

Learning and delivery are subsets of not getting done what needs to get done. If you can't learn fast and you can't deliver, then shame on you. Those are landmines five and six.

Landmine seven is adjustment, which is a failure to see or react to changes down the road.

If I stick with those three instead of the seven - and stop me if I'm taking this in a direction you didn't want to go... The fit is absolutely a two way game. This is game-over before you accept the job. It is incumbent on the organization to figure out if you fit. It is incumbent on you to figure out if you don't fit. If you don't fit call it off before you get there or otherwise, it's just going to be ugly.

Delivery - when people fail, when people don't deliver what they're suppose to, whoever you talk to blames the other party. If you ask the organization they'll say, " You know, she just didn't get done when we needed her to get done." If you ask the person coming in she'll say, "You know, they didn't give me the support I needed to get done what I needed to get done." So it's always somebody else's fault.

When people fail to deliver which is the second big reason people fail; they didn't learn fast enough, they didn't deliver. Shame on everybody. There's enough blame to go around. The adjustment one is this failure to see, and of course they're related because if you fit well and build relationships those people will help you adjust. If you don't, you can't adjust. Part of that game there is seeing the change. Seeing the little cloud in the horizon that's going to turn into the gale that's going to wipe you out.

A second part is assessing a change. Does this change have just a minor impact? Does it have a big impact? Is it going to hit us above the water line or below the water line (to steal stuff from the Gore company). Is it temporary or enduring? Because the way you classify that impacts how you're going to deal with the adjustment. If it's temporary and minor you're just going to drive right through it. If it's temporary and major you've got a crisis or an opportunity you need to jump on and deal with it right now. If it's enduring but minor then you can evolve into it. If it is a major change with an enduring impact you need to jump into it, all in, hit a restart button, and start over. Those are the ones that wipe people out. Sorry, long answer.

The seven landmines, the shorter answer would be, the seven landmines are organization, role, personal skills, relationships, learning, delivery and adjustment. It trees up to poor fit, poor delivery, poor adjustment.

Peter: I'm wondering if some of this, and the fact that a lot of people take jobs that obviously they are a poor fit for and realize it very early on. There's a psychology of winning when you're involved in multiple job interviews and background checks, and everything that's involved in hiring for senior leadership positions. You caution that candidates must do their due diligence before accepting an offer. Do you think there's this again, psychology of winning - we're talking A personalities mostly here. Do people just want to win and in doing so, really avoid the landmines that you just talked about and doing the due diligence that they really should do before accepting an offer?

George: The short answer is yes. The longer answer is, there's actually two different ways that that happens. That being defined is not doing the right due diligence. Certainly people get so caught up in winning and getting the job that they forget to do the due diligence or they ignore the due diligence. Or, they've been selling so hard they've started to believe what they've said. "Do you want this job?" "Oh yes I want this job." "Do you think you're going to be a good fit?" "Oh yes, I'm going to be a great fit." It's really hard when you get offered to stop and carve out the time to do your own role, due diligence, and pay attention to what you learn. That's one.

The second thing is, nobody remembers this. Back 2008, 2009, 2010, the economy was a disaster. People were looking for jobs. They would get to the end and they would know it was highly risky and they'd know it was a problem. They'd say, "Really, I can't do due diligence. I've been looking for a job for a year. I just have to take it." My argument to them was, your due diligence is even more important there. If you know you have to jump off the cliff into the water then you know there are rocks down there but you can't - You don't get to decide which cliff to jump off of because you only have one job offer. I would argue it's even more important to know where the rocks are so that you can pick the way you will land in the water to have a chance of surviving.

Peter: Yeah, I think you're so right. A lot of this comes down to the fact that somebody has been looking for a job for a year and just needs a job, and they're willing to jump into the water whether it's ice cold or whether they're going to hit rocks because they just get caught up in the psychology of it.

George: It's so unfair when reality gets in the way of all these nice theories.

Peter: Chapter Title, "Leverage the Fuzzy Front End." Explain what you mean by the fuzzy front end.

George: This has actually been one of our biggest innovations. "Fuzzy Front End" is a term from scientific development, people, prototypes, and things. They've got the idea and they want to launch it, but it's a soft launch because they don't really know what they're doing so they do rapid prototyping. This time between development and launch is called, "The Fuzzy Front End," scientifically.

For us, we define it as the time between accepting a job and starting a job. Stages of onboarding you go through a bunch of gates around first contact, offer acceptance, and start. There are things you need to do before your first contact. Between your first contact and the offer you're selling. Between the offer and acceptance you're doing due diligence. After the start you're doing things that are also important.

We define fuzzy front end as this time between accepting the job and starting the job. It is a magic time. It is a chance to get ahead of the curve and to jumpstart relationships. Inevitably, when we talk to people the first time about this they go, "Are you kidding? I'm taking a vacation because I know when I get into my new job I'm going to be working 90 hours a day. If I don't take a vacation and reconnect with my family I'm going to lose them." We say, "Yeah, that's not it." Or, the company says, "I don't know, we need this person yesterday. We can't extend out their start date."

People fight against the fuzzy front end until they see its value. We really tell people that there's other things in it. We really tell people to do two things. One is, get a head start with your plan and your preparation. The second is jumpstart relationships. The jumpstarting relationships is just stunning. Imagine if you would, whatever company you used to work for. Imagine I'm coming in to be your boss. I mean, Peter you know me, that would be your worst nightmare. Let's make it worse. You wanted the job. You were up for promotion and didn't get it.

Peter: This happens a lot. This happens a lot.

George: Happens a lot. Well, it happens to you a lot. Doesn't happen to everybody else. So I show up day one and I do whatever I do day one. I wonder around and greet people. Day two I go to a management meeting, which you don't go to, because did I tell you I'm now management and you're not; so you're not invited to that meeting. Day three I come by your office and I say, "Hey listen, I've heard great things about you. I'd love to get to know you. Let's go have lunch." How are you feeling at that moment?

Peter: Well, I'm feeling better because you recognized me as someone that can contribute to the team.

George: Good. Okay. So, that's a good thing. I actually asked a lady in Peru how she felt at that moment. She said, "Well, I hate you." I'm liking better than hate you. Let's contrast that, if you would. Same exact scenario. The difference is, the day after I'm announced three weeks before I start I call you up, I say "Peter, I know you heard about the announcement. I know you were the lead internal candidate for the job. I've heard just amazing things about you. It really seems like it is in your best interest and my best interest and the organization's best interest for us to just make sure we get off on the right foot. It is too important for me (too important to all of us) for me to wait until day one to start to get to know you. I'd love to meet with you before I start. I will meet you anywhere in the world you want, any time you want so that we can spend some time. Pick your time and place and I'll show up." Now, how are you feeling?

Peter: A lot better.

George: A lot better. So, the girl in Peru said, "I love you." I'll go from better to a lot better. You know me. Truth is, you're still going to hate me, eventually. At least you're going to give me the benefit of a doubt. It's one thing that people have done in fuzzy front ends that have made just a huge difference with either somebody that reports them who wanted the job or a critical peer. Imagine the editor and chief and the publisher or marketing and sales or somebody coming in to lead one big customer, or whatever. There's always one or two critical relationships where if you get started ahead during this fuzzy front end it can make all the difference.

Peter: It's amazing to your point earlier that people don't, especially in these leadership roles that they're going into where they know that there's someone within the organization that was being considered for the job. The rumor mill is churning. No one knows who you are. They don't try to engage beforehand.

George: We've really built an entire business and the core of our book is three ideas. It's get a head start, manage the message, and build the team. In the fourth edition we split that into set direction, build the team and sustain momentum and deliver results. So we've kind of expanded on that.

We've been talking about getting a head start. A big thing you can do while getting a head start is manage your message. The rumor mill is going to go rampant and people are going to make assumptions about you. People are going to tell stories about you and you are going to get positioned in their mind whether you like it or not, whether you do it or somebody else does it. Given that, why not take charge of your own narrative, your own story and your own message. Manage your message and position yourself the way you want to be positioned. That is, you just hit on it is, the second of our big ideas.

Peter: One of the most important strategies, I think, in your book is something you call the burning imperative. Can you describe this for us, and why it is so important when a new executive assumes a role?

George: Yes. It's code for pivot. Our fundamental idea if you sort of click-up from the three ideas of get a head start, manage your message, build a team. A real insight is - I mentioned it earlier in our conversation - is that you have to converge before you evolve. Different people in different situations will do that at different paces. If things are going really well you don't want to screw things up so, you could spend a lot of time converging. If things are in real trouble you might spend three hours converging before you call everybody together and say, 'okay, sorry, we're losing ten million dollars a day and we have 100 million dollars left in the bank. We need to turn this thing around in two weeks. Here's what we're doing.' You do this at different paces.

But when you're converging you are listening and learning. You're on the back foot. You don't have any ideas because any idea that you would have would be your idea and therefore, it's not invented here and it won't be well received. The pivot between converge and evolve is this burning imperative. Our first prize way to do it is to do some sort of workshop, some sort of gathering with your core team at the right time. Probably by the end of the first month... maybe earlier if you have to accelerate or maybe later if things are going really well. You pull them together and it's your pivot. You get people aligned around the imperative which is the mission, the vision, the objectives, the goals, the approach. Call it what you want. Call it strategy, call it approach, call it priorities... and maybe even some plans to go forward.

Ideally, you and your team co-create that burning imperative. If you can do that and make that a pivot what happens is, after that as you are evolving the team, as you emerged from converged to evolve, where before any idea you had was your idea and not invented here. Afterwards any idea you have you can relate back to the imperative, "You know, based on what we said at our imperative workshop two weeks ago do you think we should consider this?" Now it's our idea. Now it's invented here. Now it comes out of something that we all co-created. The team owns it and it evolutionary as opposed to disruptive.

We use the burning imperative to kick off the strategic changes that kick off the strategic process depending on which side of the pond you're on. I can throw lots of consulting speak words at it. The big thing is, it is the pivotal change from converging to evolving.

Pete: One of the things that I want to mention about your book is that it contains a number of worksheets. There's also an extensive website to support the book.

George: Yes. I've got to credit Richard Naramore at Wiley with the first edition he came up with the idea. He said let's make this more of a workbook and put stuff online. This was 10 years ago, 11 years ago. We did it and we've always put the tools on the website. There are tools in the book. We've got the forms in the book. We have downloadable changeable copies of things that are in the book as well as, a whole bunch of thing that are not in the book as well as, new ideas. As we have new ideas between editions we just add them to the website. We create new tools, we change tools or we adjust tools.

What we found is, a lot of people go into organizations that have a set of processes and tools and forms that they should use processes. Our advice is if there's a tool in place that you can use, use it because you're converging and your evolving. You don't need to change all the forms when you get there. A lot of people have found, a lot, thousands... hundred of thousands in this point, have found that the downloadable tools are really valuable. You can give it to somebody you work for and say, "Hey, here's a way to start. Here's a way to get started on a team charter. Here's a way to get started on a positioning statement. Here's a way to get started on a recruiting brief. Here's a way to get started on a strategic plan." It's all the things that you really need to help think through your BRAVE culture. Your BRAVE preferences. To prepare for interviews, to do due diligence. To manage your fuzzy front end. To create your 100 day action plan. To plan through day one. To do a new leaders assimilation. To jumpstart your strategic process and run an imperative workshop. To jumpstart your operating process and put a milestone management system in place. To charter a team for an early win. To jumpstart your organizational processes and do recruiting briefs and things like that, or interviews, or whatever. To evaluate changes and assess changes.

There's a whole, whole bunch of tools. It's kind of our gift to the world. A lot of people are using them. We see them from time to time and they're very valuable. Thank you for mentioning them.

Peter: Absolutely. Thank you for taking time to speak with us here on TotalPicture Radio, George. It's always a pleasure to speak with you. One last thing. How can our listeners connect with you?

George: I am ridiculously findable.

Peter: That's true. You own on boarding, let's face it.

George: If you Google executive on boarding we come up. You can find me through the Prime Genesis site. You can email me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . You can call me up. My phone number's on the website. I'm crazy, crazy findable, and delighted to talk to anyone or help anyone at any time because this is my mission. It just bothers me that so many people fail in the first 18 months of a new job. I'm on a crusade to fix that. Great if you want to buy our book. Great if you want to hire our services. But seriously, I believe in this stuff; if you want to call me up I can just spend 10 minutes on the phone with you, that is a good thing for me to do.

Peter: Again George, thank you so much for speaking with me today here on TotalPicture Radio.

George: Always a pleasure, sir.

Peter: Thank you.

George Bradt is principal of CEO Connection, Creative Director of Glass Heart Productions, and Chairman of Prime Genesis, the executive on boarding group he founded in 2003 to accelerate complex transactions for leaders and teams. Since then, George and his partners have reduced new leader failure rates from 40 percent to 5 percent through a single-minded focus on helping them and teams deliver better results faster over their first 100 days.

A graduate of Harvard and Wharton, George is co-author of five books on on boarding, over 375 articles for Forbes and nine musicals.

Thank you for tuning in to TotalPicture Radio. We sincerely appreciate your participation. Comments are very welcome on George's show page in the Talent Acquisition channel of TotalPicture Radio. That's TotalPicture.com where you'll find links to the Prime Genesis website and other resources. While there, please sign up for our free newsletter, subscribe to our show on iTunes Google Play or Sound Cloud and join the conversation on our TotalPicture Radio Facebook Group. You find me on Twitter @PeterClayton, @TotalPicture and @JobsinPods. Be sure to DM me if you'll be at Sourcecon next month, ERE Spring, TAtech or SHRM Talent Management this April. Looking forward to seeing you and extending the conversation.

Have a great week.

{/slide="Interview Transcript"}

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Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.


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