Tell us about your hiring system.
So I have a unique technology that measures how people think and how they make decisions. It’s very different. It’s not a personality profile or a behavioral profile, which most people are used to. It actually measures, rather than behavior, personality, how people actually think. It’s an objective science.
Most of those tools that are out there are great tools and I use them for different purposes. But most of them are subjective in nature. So, the accuracy, while typically if they are validated, they are very accurate, you can only use them for certain things, in certain instances.
Anyway the technology that I utilize primarily for helping business owners make sure they are hiring exactly the right person, and specifically, most importantly, making sure that they are not hiring someone who is really a bad fit for the company, because that’s bad for everyone right, is a technology that’s objective and it’s mathematical. So I use that technology to predict performance and help business owners know who the best person to hire is. A lot of business owners will use this technology and my ability to interpret it to understand their current staff and how to get the most out of them and how to, say, motivate people, if you will, or just make sure that people are performing to the highest degree possible.
How did you get into this field?
I’ve always been really interested in people. I love people and I love the idea of performance. I love the idea of how do people learn, and how do they translate that learning into actual performance. I studied sports psychology for a little over 20 years, because I’m fascinated again with how people get the best out of themselves, especially under pressure when it means the most and is most important.
In, let’s see, April of 1991, I went to work for a guy named Stephen R. Covey. Stephen Covey wrote a book called, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” He’s written, of course, two other very famous, well-known books: “‘First Things First” and “Principle-Centered Leadership.”
I spent five years running the central United States for Stephen. When I left that company, I went to another organization, where we taught leaders and managers of Fortune 500 companies how to coach other people to higher performance, using the sport psychology methodology. So I was pretty stoked when I learned about this methodology and about this company. In fact, the owner of that business just put out a best selling book this past October, 2010. His name is Alan Fine, and the book is called, “You Already Know How to Be Great.” I recommend it to you. It is a fabulous book.
But when I left Covey and I went to work for this organization, Alan Fine’s company called, InsideOut, they actually had me complete this exercise that your staff member did. I was absolutely shocked by what they knew about me. I didn’t think it was possible to know that kind of thing about me. So I really was hooked from the word go, when I found that technology. In fact, I was fortunate that three months later, the worldwide guru of the science, the man who has spent 35 years, refining the math, advancing the technology, computerizing everything, writing hundreds of thousands of paragraphs and different sentences so that it’s custom to the report and the results are custom to each person, he came out and he trained us for three days. That was about 15 years ago.
So that’s how I ran into it. Once I learned about that technology and then I met him and got trained in it, I was hooked. I didn’t really do much about it 15 years ago, although I’ve been using it ever since then. I didn’t actually formalize it into a business, because it still left wanting a little bit in terms of marketing it. The technology was amazing, great results, but from a mass marketing standpoint it wasn’t quite ready. So I didn’t do much with it until about four or five years ago.
When did you decide to market this technology?
Well, I started my own business about 11 years ago, coaching business owners, doing consulting, management, development, people performance. In 2008, when the economy took a bit of a downfall, I lost about 40% of my business, maybe 35% of my clientele. Cisco Corporation is a big client of my today, and they have been a big client mine. I do a lot of work for them. But in 2008 when the economy hit, they cut out all consultants, and they were a big part of my business. Fortunately, they weren’t all my business, but I had to sit back and ask myself, “Where am I unique and what can I do differently, where I can make a difference?”
I instantly thought about this technology and how unique it is in its ability to, in its accuracy and what it measures and the way it measures it, and then the fact that it’s objective and therefore so much more accurate. You can count on it. It’s trustworthy. I said, “Well, not too many people know about this technology, and not too many people have the skill that I have.” Fortunately, about two years earlier, I had gotten master certified and master trained by that old guru I had met 15 years earlier. So I hung out a shingle and started letting business owners know that I had this ability to predict performance in a unique, accurate way that they could count on. That’s when I started using this technology specifically in this way.
How were you able to grow a business in a down economy?
I think the way that I overcame that was really quite a fortuitous, actually, experience. I picked a niche. What I did is I decided, “Well, maybe I should really get started.” I had heard a lot about niche marketing. So I decided on a niche. I thought to myself, “What industries are growing, in spite of the fact that the economy is so bad?” Because they’ll have money, they are not afraid to spend, and will have a greater need. Really the only industry that was growing, I think, was health care. They grew 27% in 2008, and everybody else kind of lost business.
But I did find a unique niche in working with law firms. I had a friend who owned a personal injury law firm. We were talking and I asked him, “How is business?” He’s a good man, but he kind of chuckled and laughed and said, “In a down economy, we really grow like crazy, because everybody wants to sue each other.”
I kind of didn’t really love that, but I thought, “Hey, everybody has a need.” So I started focusing on law firms. I had a neighbor that started to focus on law firms. He owns a business. He started focusing on law firms at the same time. Long story short, we went to a conference for attorneys, a marketing conference for attorneys. I met some key people who own the herd as we know the language. They basically had a whole lot of attorneys who followed them and listen to what they had to say. Basically, they loved what I did. They found about what I did. They loved it and started to share with their own niche group of attorneys.
Then actually one of those persons, Rem Jackson, who owns a company called TopPractices.com, he is a coach to podiatrists. He really took a liking to what I do, and he got this in front of all his podiatrist clients.
That’s the way I overcame it. It was really fortuitous, but I think the good decision was to focus on a niche and to go be somewhere and do something, even though the money was short.
Who were your entrepreneurial influences?
My father is an entrepreneur, my mother and father. They are both very, very entrepreneurial people. They were raised in eastern North Carolina. My father decided it’d be fun to be a disc jockey, and he had a really bad Southern accent. He calls it a bad Southern accent, a real strong Southern drawl.
When he was 15 years old, he read out loud for 3 hours a day. He says three hours a day. I believe he did it, but I don’t know how much time he spent at it. But he read out loud. He read the newspaper out loud into the mirror, every day, trying to overcome his accent, because he had learned that the big money was like in New York and so forth and in these big markets.
When he was 17, he went on the air live as a disc jockey. Then so many years later he was driving up to New York, he and my mother, to see my mother’s brother, and he decided to take a left and go to Detroit where he had sent an audio tape of himself to a general manager of a radio station. My dad drove all night from midnight to 9 a.m., to go see this guy. So long story short, my dad got this job in Detroit as a disc jockey. Then he became a voice over talent, and then he started his own marketing company. Kind of everything he ever did turned to gold. So he was a huge influence on me, and my mother and their work ethic, their focus and their belief in themselves and the aggressive nature.
Frankly, I don’t know, I like people and I wasn’t born necessarily with a real killer instinct I wouldn’t say. I shouldn’t maybe admit that. It took me a lot of years to learn to be very practical and to focus on getting results on a day to day basis. I love the saying my dad said. He said, “Owning a business is like riding a tiger. If you get off, it will eat you alive.” So it took me years to learn to be very . . . anyway, so they were big influences, big mentors, and I owe them a great deal.
Can your technology predict the success of an entrepreneur?
It’s been really interesting to find. I do have some things to say about that. But it has been interesting to find that it is kind of across the board. I’ve seen profiles where I’d say, “Oh, yeah, this person would be very successful.” But it doesn’t measure everything in a person. It can’t know what they believe. It can’t know what they think. It knows how they think and how they make decisions, how they are wired to do that. That is the foundation of performance, frankly, because how you see the world affects how you analyze what you perceive. It affects what you allow yourself to see and not see. Then it affects how you analyze it and the decision you make as a result, which affects the action you’ll take, which then affects the results you’ll get. So if you want to change your results, you can reserve engineer that process.
So I see a lot of different profiles, thousands and thousands, of course, and a lot of entrepreneurs. One thing I’ve seen that I do know is that about 90% of people are over focused on where they’re headed. They are driven by their beliefs. Now again, I can’t know what their beliefs are, but they are driven inside by a need to go and achieve something. The human mind is always seeking meaning. It’s always seeking meaning. So maybe, if you have people that aren’t performing the way you would like them to perform, maybe they are not experiencing the meaning that they need to have in your business. Speaking to everyone, Travis.
That’s one piece that stands out to me. Of course, there are different patterns that make it easier for people to be entrepreneurial because some people are so focused on mitigating risk that they have fear. They always want to know, “Well, if I take this action, am I definitely going to get this result?” That’s hard to know, and they slow themselves down and hesitate more. They prefer the consistency of a job.
Where other people, basically, they have the wiring where they are maybe extremely practical, very focused on concrete things that are happening immediately around them right now. They are very results focused, and they don’t pay attention to systems. But it doesn’t mean they’re going to be successful. Comparatively speaking, there is an ideal entrepreneurial view of the world. But again, because people are so driven inside themselves, many, many people succeed.
I’ve seen people who, you go, “Man, they don’t focus on anything. They don’t think about anything. Everything they see is broken and flawed, it won’t work. How could they ever succeed?” But I’ve seen people like that making three, four million dollars a year from businesses they started on their own. Very successful, highly educated.
So you can’t say this person is definitely going to be a successful entrepreneur, because no matter how you think, there are things you can do and strategies you can implement in order to do your wiring better, if that makes any sense, be more effective.
Where can someone find more information on what you offer?
Sure, RealTalentHiring.com is my website. So you can go to RealTalentHiring.com and take a look. You can register to experience the process and the methodology for free, if you are a business owner and if you plan to hire soon.
The way that it works is kind of like what you do Travis. You would have someone that you know very well, but who I do not know complete this quick exercise. There are no questions. It takes less than 20 minutes. It’s actually a thinking exercise. They are actually performing a task, and so the results that you get back are how they performed. And because it measures how they wired, it’s how they will always perform.
I look forward to meeting anyone who would like to do it. Travis, thank you very much for having me. I appreciate it.
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