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ET-008: Key strategies for winning the Talent War

With George Randle

ET-008: Key strategies for winning the Talent War

and your host Wayne Brown on August 16, 2022

Episode Notes: A conversation with George Randle

Great storytellers are a rarity. And perhaps it was my own biases at play, but somehow, I hadn’t expected in the past couple of years to find myself listening to and more recently conversing with several – all of whom, come from the military. Funny the hand that life deals you sometimes.

Ex-military, turned HR professional, Mr. George Randle is our guest this week and he is a true gentleman. Authentic to a tee and I’ve come away from the two brief occasions where I had the pleasure of speaking with him, extremely impressed to say the least.

George’s military, corporate and private life experiences made him an obvious choice when looking for guests on our show. The book was a bonus. What we received however far exceeded all expectations. Listen to the show to hear why.

And here’s an example of our conversation taken from the transcript.

“And somebody said, “Can you do recruiting? Can you do talent?” I shrugged my shoulders, I said, “Well, how hard could it be?” Famous last words…

Today’s Guest: Mr. GEORGE RANDLE

In today’s episode, our guest is the very young and very fit, Mr. George Randle, and you’ll understand why I say that later in our conversation. George is co-author of the book, The Talent War: How Special Operations and Great Organizations Win on Talent, and is also the host of the podcast of the same name, The Talent War.

He is an experienced talent executive, and veteran coach and was later known for selecting, building and re-organizing teams to reach their full business potential. George has 20-plus years of Fortune 100 and Fortune 1000 global human resources and talent acquisition experience, building and coaching elite teams.

During his time as an executive, the teams George has built and led, have hired in excess of 85,000 professionals.

   ♦ Home – Talent War Group

   ♦ Home – Talent War Group/the-talent-war/

   ♦ george@talentwargroup.com

   ♦ george@randallpartnersllc.com

George Randle’s book – The Talent War:

The following link will take you to the Amazon book site where you can read more from the intro.

♦ The Talent War: How Special Operations and Great Organizations Win on Talent

♦ or on Audible – The Talent War 

What You’ll Learn – an extract from the company website

The topic of TALENT has been and will continue to be so relevant to every highly successful organization. It is the foundation of every success story from Silicon Valley to Wall Street to the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Any business that leads or dominates its competition in attracting, hiring, developing, and retaining the best TALENT is and will likely continue to be highly successful. It’s the hidden asset that never shows up on the balance sheet, despite being the driver of a company’s true value.

When it comes to winning on TALENT, no one does it better or more consistently than the U.S. Special Operations community. Their success comes down to their people and a widely held foundational belief:

Talent + Leadership = Victory 

Final words of wisdom from George:

“Two things that I would leave a lot of the executives with… Well, the three quick things. One of the things that we pointed out, your company is going to go wrong, especially in this environment with diversity, equity inclusion, the political social media blurring. Your HR leader has to be a strategic leader without a doubt.

As Tracy Keogh said, “HR isn’t at the table. HR is the table,” and that’s the way it should be, and you should compensate them like you would any other C-suite person. The other thing is, talent is the only competitive advantage you could hope to achieve and maintain, and if you focus on your talent and become a talent magnet, so many of your challenges and problems will go away for you.”


0:00:01.6 Wayne Brown: Hello, it’s Wayne Brown here, and I’m happy to welcome you back to our podcast, The ET Project. We’re delighted to be delivering this show for executive talents all over the world, whom we’re affectionately referring to as TEAM ET. In today’s episode, our guest is the very young and the very fit, Mr. George Randle, and you’ll understand why I say that later in our conversation. George is co-author of the book, The Talent War: How Special Operations and Great Organizations Win on Talent, and is also the host of the podcast of the same name, The Talent War. He is an experienced talent executive, veteran coach and later known for selecting, building and re-organizing teams to reach their full business potential. George has 20-plus years of Fortune 100 and Fortune 1000 global human resources and talent acquisition experience, building and coaching elite teams. During his time as an executive, the teams George has built and lead, have hired in excess of 85,000 professionals. Most recently, George has been focused on a new venture as managing partner for Randall Partners. And so I welcome you all to get ready for a deep dive into how you can identify, select and develop talent, leveraging lessons from the military and applying this learning in your organization.

0:01:30.5 WB: This conversation between George Randle and I will help you to learn key strategies for winning the talent war. We hope you enjoy.

0:01:41.6 Speaker 2: Welcome to the ET Project, a podcast for those executive talents determined to release their true potential and create an impact. Join our veteran coach and mentor, Wayne Brown as we unpack an exciting future together.

0:01:58.8 WB: Great to have George Randle with us today on the ET Project, a great honor. Thank you, George. I know it’s quite early over where you’re sitting in the world, and I really appreciate you taking the time out of your busy schedule to come and talk with our listeners, so I look forward to our conversation today.

0:02:19.4 George Randle: Yeah, thanks Wayne for having me on. And I am… As I get older, I’m getting up earlier because I don’t wanna waste any hour of the day, so I’m up at about 3:45 AM, US Central, every day of the week.

0:02:35.1 WB: I’m not gonna go there, George. [laughter]

0:02:40.5 GR: Well, secret is, I go to bed early, so it’s a good way to get the day started, so it’s really great that this is the first thing, to be with you today.

0:02:50.5 WB: Excellent, excellent. Well, I appreciate it. I normally kick off with a question about any fun facts that you would like to share.

0:03:00.5 GR: Yeah. The fun fact about me is that I lead this incredibly busy life, which I’m very, very grateful for, it’s great to be needed, wanted, and to have work. So like, I’m up early, but with all of that comes a need for decompression valve. So I am an avid and have been for 45 years, which tells you a little bit about my age, a soccer player. And I had a conversation with my significant other, and she was just like, saw me limping off the field, she says, “Are you ever gonna stop playing soccer,” and I said, “I will stop playing when I can’t.” And so she thinks I’m a little insane to be playing with guys that are 15, 20 years younger than me, but I’m like, “It’s the greatest decompression valve in the world,” and most people look at me with a little bit of gray in my beard, they’re like, “Oh my God, you’re still running around in Texas heat.” [laughter] It’s just a great way to kinda let the week go, and to have something to recharge your batteries, especially in today when… I know all the people that you talk to, there’s kind of a corporate athlete, and you have to really take good care of yourself and find out what’s… That are above and beyond work.

0:04:12.1 WB: Right, so you take it out on the small round ball on the field and destressing by laying the boot into it and sprinting up and down.

0:04:23.3 GR: And wrestling off defenders that wanna take me out, so yes, yeah. But you know, it’s one of those things where when you get out on the field, that kind of the world just melts away, and I’m grateful that I still have the ability to play a sport that I love.

0:04:39.8 WB: The listeners can’t see us. Unfortunately, we’re only doing audio, but I made the comment when we first caught up, that you’re still look in very good condition, despite how old you might feel.

0:04:51.4 GR: Yeah, there’s still that, in the morning, the alarm goes off and it’s kind of like you can’t… I wish the listeners could see it, but it’s kind of one, two, and then you swing your body over out of bed on the count of three. [laughter] But yeah, it was a nice compliment. I just work hard at it because… Well, let me… Here’s an interesting fun fact really quick. I do stay fit, I’m in the gym four days a week, I’m on my bike, I road cycle, and I play soccer. I consider myself for my age, turning 56 on Monday, by the way, the 8th, and I consider myself fit. My oldest is turning 30 and she has a grandson. My cardio lasts maybe 45 minutes to an hour with that grandson, he is a Texas tornado, and I’m like, no matter how… I don’t even know how I got through parenting, Wayne, to be honest with you, I’m like, “This kid wears me out in 45 minutes flat,” so it’s crazy.

0:05:46.8 WB: That’s probably why you’re still fit and why you’re still… [laughter]

0:05:51.0 GR: It is, just to keep up with him. That kid, all of a sudden, you turn… You blink an eye and that child’s gone. So…

0:05:57.7 WB: So I’m six years your senior, and I have an eight-year-old daughter, so I kind of understand what you’re talking about.

0:06:06.0 GR: Oh ho, I don’t know how you do it, my friend, I don’t know.

0:06:08.8 WB: Yeah, I’m not sure I do too. [chuckle] We’re still here to talk about it, which is great. Anything around you or in the world today that’s exciting you?

0:06:20.0 GR: Well, I think I’ve been really, really fortunate. After I left the military, I was enlisted in an officer and I got into the talent game, and I had just been passionate about the human dynamic. I’m an avid people watcher, if I go to a shopping mall or something, behavioral analytics, and I love it, so I’m so passionate about talent, but I think what’s amazing me in the world is that we’ve gone through in the past… I don’t even know what the timeline is, maybe two years now, but we’ve gone from working in office and having these drive-by meetings and the socialization, this collaboration and community, to all of a sudden we’re working remote, everybody created a new normal and there’s a shortage of people out there, and so we’re dealing with clients with a shortage of people, and then now economically, we see some of the things turning across the world where that’s now back contracting again. And people ask me if I was worried and I said, “You know, I’m really not, because in my function, it’s always been about people, whether there’s too few, too many. At the end of the day, whatever your count is, it’s about getting the people factor right.

0:07:26.9 WB: Yes.

0:07:27.6 GR: And the leadership right. Because whatever your product or your service, one of the things we wrote about in the book, which I know we’ll talk about, is the only competitive advantage you can hope to have and achieve or maintain is great talent, and it hasn’t changed in the world, it’s just the environment around that talent, and so, it keeps me going, watching the world and how important people are to all of the things going on, be it politically, economically or even socially nowadays.

0:07:58.6 WB: Exactly, that’s nice leading to my normal question, which is around your career and anything that you would like to share with the listeners that sort of stands out for you over the journey that you’ve been on.

0:08:14.0 GR: Okay, things that I can disclose. [laughter] Well, the short thumbnail is, I grew up relatively poor, and I knew that I wanted to go to college, my parents really had a strong emphasis on all the boys going to college, so I joined the army, army reserves to pay for my way through school, and I caught the leadership bug and eventually became an officer and did a lot of great leadership positions, some very tough tours around the world, and then I jumped into the corporate world and I actually fell backwards into HR and talent. And it was because of a geographical move I had to make for my family, and some sacrifices. And like, somebody said, “Can you do recruiting? Can you do talent?” I shrugged my shoulders, I said, “Well, how hard could it be?” [chuckle] Famous last words.

0:09:03.7 WB: Famous last words, I was just thinking…

0:09:05.1 GR: Yeah, but I got into it, and I guess it’s a funny fact, is, you may think I’m fit now, but… Oh, here’s a fun fact. Sorry, we’ll jump back. But this is part of the story. I was one of those kids when puberty hit that my height came, no weight came. I had to gain 4 lbs to join the US Army. So I’m poor, I’m skinny, I’m named George, and back in my day, that was not the ideal name, although I’m named after my father who’s my hero. And it kind of came full circle when I fell back into talent. When you’re poor, skinny, tall, have acne, you learn to talk, fight and run, and then you go into the Army, and it’s always about building teams. And so about 90 days in HR, it clicked in my head, I love talking and working with people and building really dynamic teams, and so that spawned a 25-year career in talent acquisition as an executive, leadership positions, and ultimately, my teams have hired like 80,000 across the globe. And I can’t say I know it all, but I can tell you, I have never, ever, ever been bored, ever. And I love being in the talent function. But then from there, I partnered up with a guy named Mike Sarraille to write an Amazon best-selling book, The Talent War: How Special Operations and Great Organizations Win on Talent, and now I’m the primary person for… I’m a managing partner for an executive search firm, and so it’s just different levels of talent, and I’m loving it.

0:10:39.9 WB: We’ll segue into the book now, anyway. But just looking at your bio and reading through some of the, I call them adventures, you may not call them adventures at the time, [laughter] but extremely interesting journey throughout the last 25 years, probably even longer than that, I guess. And I’m sure you’ve gained a wealth of experience through different stages of that career. And one of the things that I often look back myself is, what are those key milestones as we go through our career that may be pivotal moments for us, that our listeners are quite new to or maybe can relate to as well. And for me, one of the takeaways is the value of reflection as you progress through your career, don’t just stay… Always moving forward, you need to learn a little bit from where you’ve been.

0:11:37.5 GR: Yeah, I think there were probably… I mean if I sat and pondered, I can come up with a lot more, but I think there were really four key ones for me. And the first one was, I enlisted in the army. I didn’t know what I was getting into. I mean, the commercials are great, you know, at the time, it was “Be all you can be,” and there’re all kinds of movies and you have all these delusions of what it’s gonna be like. But after I got into it, I remember somebody said to me, and they said, “You know George, you have a pretty colorful vocabulary,” that’s the nice way of saying what they told me. They said, “So why don’t you go be an officer?” And I think the first light bulb moment for me was, I really do have a passion for leading and the ability to influence other people, so that was the first light bulb moment where I went from, “I’m not just looking for a job, but I wanna lead, I wanna impact. I want to impact the people around me to do great things, ’cause it’s about building teams.” The second one was the one I just talked about, was getting into HR, was realizing that I always thought HR personnel, payroll comp and benefits, and then I realized, “Hey, this is really something I’m passionate about.”

0:12:51.8 GR: And so the light bulb moment, that talent for me, in some form or fashion, was going to spawn a 25-year career. I didn’t know it then, but I knew I found a passion.

0:13:03.8 WB: Right.

0:13:04.9 GR: Probably third light bulb moment really was understanding as part of that journey, somewhere in there, it happened that I’m like… I had been in so many different companies, and there was a moment where I realized, “It isn’t your product, it isn’t your service, it always is your people.” And there’s millions of companies that you and I can probably name if given time, where they thought they cornered the market on their product or on their service, and they lost sight of their people.

0:13:34.9 WB: Yes.

0:13:35.5 GR: And that’s… And so that drove me further. But then as I moved into the senior ranks of human resources and talent acquisition, I grew… Like I said, grew up skinny kid named George, and you have this people-pleasing mentality as a recruiter, like, “I wanna show the executives, I wanna show these leaders how valuable our team is.” And that never work, no matter how hard I tried, no matter how hard my teams… The last light bulb moment was, “Wait a minute, I’m the tip of the spear here, I’m the gateway for the standards of the talent in this company, I am your partner to bring talent solutions to business problems.” And then from that point, it was the book, it was really launching off. So those big four moments about, “Hey, I like leadership, it’s about building great teams. I’m really, really a partner.” Those are things I think that along the way, when I realized them, helped me make better career decisions about my own personal life, but helped me support the people that I was working with, all that much better.

0:14:46.4 WB: Powerful insights, thank you. Let’s dive a little bit into your book. You already mentioned the co-author, Mike Sarraille, and the book again, The Talent War: How Special Operations and Great Organizations Win on Talent. From what I can gather from the book, it draws first-hand experience from both of you, but you also call on a lot of expertise from military colleagues, as well as corporate experts, corporate leaders. And for me, there’s a huge number of takeaways that I got from it. And I say this in a very nice way. The military at the moment is almost in vogue. You’ve got Jocko, you’ve got Life Bourbon, you’ve got David Gorgon, and…

0:15:36.1 GR: And Jocko wrote the forward to our book, I was…

0:15:37.4 WB: I saw that, yeah.

0:15:38.5 GR: Very, very grateful for that. And he had us on his podcast, so a lot of kudos to him and the work his team has been doing.

0:15:44.4 WB: It’s the deal to be in at the moment when it comes to discussion on leadership topics, and rightfully so, I would have to say. I mean there’s a discipline for sure that… And I’m not from the military, so I’m not speaking first hand, but I can see that there’s a discipline that comes out of military that is very applicable in leadership. The way you conduct yourself, the way you hold yourself with integrity, and all the other attributes to go with that. And that’s largely where your book is based around, right? It’s around those attributes and it’s around looking at people.

0:16:23.5 GR: Yeah. It is, and so Mike and I… And to your first point about there’s some stories.

0:16:29.9 WB: Yes.

0:16:30.4 GR: And for those who haven’t read it, some of those are stories of failure, and one of the things that Mike and I try to put forward in the book, because you read so many books where people are like, “This is how you do it, this is what you should do.” And while Mike and I wanted that to be a part, what we wanted to impart to the readers was, “These are the scars, mistakes, failures that we had to learn from, that launched us into really, really great practices. We haven’t perfected everything, but we absolutely know that along the course of the way, we have a lot to pass on and create a legacy of leadership with those people that are hiring managers and decision makers when it comes to talent.” We were both very… We call it the world’s greatest leadership incubator, the military service, because you’re just forced at a very, very young age to take an awful lot of responsibility. And so we were really, really grateful for that. One more, or two more quick points, and that is, the United States army arguably has produced more leaders than anybody else, and so there’s a lot of great material that applies across the board, because leadership is leadership, your environment’s simply different.

0:17:43.2 GR: But the reason that we chose Special Operations… Well, number one, to your point, it’s in vogue, it catches people’s attention. But we were really adamant about making the point that despite what you see in Hollywood and the movies about special operations, I can take anybody off the street and give them drone support, air support. I can give them the most modern day weapons, night vision goggles, signals and imagery intelligence, I give them all of that, and it doesn’t make them special operations. What makes Special Operations special is the people, and from there, digging into the attributes that all of those special operations forces look for. So when we combine that with the best practices of what great companies were doing, be that Netflix or HP or Google, or any number of companies that we cited, we were trying to… You could easily boil the ocean on this topic, and we were trying not to do that, which is exceptionally hard. But boil it down to say, “When you get talent right, this is what it looks like in the business world, in the military world, and they’re not dissimilar.”

0:18:56.0 GR: So it was a lot of books on hiring, there’s a lot of books on Special Operations, and we were really hoping that we honored both sides of the equation, where people would say, “Hey, these are two good things to pair, and we learned a lot.”

0:19:16.4 WB: Well, for me, there were so many great takeaways, unfortunately, we’re not gonna get through them all, of course, but I will touch on a couple that I hope… Of interest, a topic in there that we spoke about when we first caught up, which is about the importance of knowing yourself and know thyself. I wonder if you could sort of share a little bit more on that, please.

0:19:41.6 GR: There’s a bunch of parts that go into that, but in modern hiring and even promotion, selection, people… Mike and I like to say that the default position of hiring managers, leaders and talent acquisition is lazy. Now we don’t mean that as an insult. We mean it as they’re looking for the easiest path forward, and so when you’re selecting talent for promotion or to bring into your firm, you’re thinking the best way to do that is to simply, “Hey, create this laundry list of things that we need as far as skills and competencies. And do we like the person?” So it’s likeability and the set of objective requirements, and to know yourself part is a couple points. Number one, do you know the DNA of your company and what makes it successful, we’re all different from a start-up to a large enterprise, there are different skills competencies and attributes that make you thrive and successful in different organizations. Do you know your company?

0:20:48.6 GR: Number two, do you really know your team? If you’re filling an empty position, do you understand… Well, let me put it a different way. Let’s say you have a manager for some R&D project. There’s a list of technical requirements, great, but if they have all of those things, the team dynamic and knowing yourself, knowing your team, knowing what will succeed, thrive and collaborate, essentially creating a success profile for the human being that’s going to be in that role is so important before you go to market. Otherwise, you’re just hiring. If you don’t know the human dynamic, why interview, just take the resume and say, “This looks like the best one, we’ll hire him.” So it is about knowing yourself, knowing your company, knowing your brand, your service, your clients, but understanding the DNA that allows somebody to operate successfully in that environment. And then deliver exceptional service, be it your product, your service, or whatever it is you’re presenting and earning revenue on.

0:21:56.1 WB: Okay, excellent. And I guess a lead off of that is something you mentioned multiple times in the book, that’s hire for character, train for skills.

0:22:07.9 GR: So, and two things, number one that’s how all of the US Special Operations and some of our allied Special Operations work. There’s two examples, I’m gonna break them into two parts. Number one is, let’s take the Navy Seals, they have recruiters that are out there now being a great example for Navy recruiting. But if you go into a high school or a college and you say, “How many people know how to jump out of the plane at high altitude and oxygen, navigate their parachuted to a target called HAHO, high altitude high opening, to navigate, or how many people know how to hit a target with a high caliber weapon at 800 yards accurately? Nobody’s gonna raise their hands. Those skills don’t exist. So by default, Special Operations has to hire on character, first and foremost, so that’s part one. Part two, is the two quotes that we really pulled out in the book was the founder of Porsche, is the one who said hire for character, train for skill, and we all know how that car company’s turned out, and I happen to own one thankfully, now that my kids are off the payroll. Let me put that plug in there, I can do that.

0:23:18.6 GR: I was a regular SUV guy until they got off the payroll, but then there was… And to a certain degree, we have to admit that this book is a little bit US-centric. But we believe the principles apply globally, and I’ve hired globally, and there was this great airline that tried to break into the market years ago called Southwest Airlines, and the CEO was Herb Kelleher. And he said, really, he said, “We hire great attitudes. We can teach everything else, but we can’t teach you to have a great attitude, we can’t teach you to have a great approach to life. And if you’ve got that, we can do everything else.” Now, our caveat to that is you’re not hiring a recent MBA grad from an Ivy League school to be the CEO of your company, there are skills, there are competencies and experiences you need, but those experiences tell you where you’ve been, character and attitude tell you where you’re going.

0:24:17.3 WB: Right. And you list nine telling attributes that support that.

0:24:24.5 GR: We do.

0:24:25.3 WB: I’m not gonna actually gonna go through all of them, but my point in raising it is that as we look at our listener base which is executive talent, it’s important for the talents to realize that various attributes are important and you need to be able to demonstrate a range of those attributes depending on the role that you’re looking to fill, if you’re a talent and you’re looking for your next big career move, what are some of the core attributes that you should be sort of holding yourself to?

0:25:00.2 GR: Well, and if I may, I’ll answer both sides, the nine attributes as we believe that these were the… I mean we boiled it down from probably 20 down to nine. And when we talked about earlier, know yourself, we think that those are a great guide for executives to say, of these nine, maybe these three or four are exactly what we need the most of in a candidate to be successful in this role. Curiosity was one of those, that’s an admirable trait, but if you’re hiring a chief revenue officer or a head of sales, curiosity is not gonna be amongst the list, but resiliency may be the thing that you absolutely… Their resiliency, their drive, their effective intelligence. And so you need to know which of the nine that you’re looking for for success in this role, this environment, and that will lead the team. Because… And I’ll come back to this point. I could go down a really bad rabbit hole, but executive referrals are the most insidious. They’re the worst hires. An executive will tell you that, but given that I’ve hired over 2500, I will tell you, “Oh yeah, I know Joe or Sally or whomever over at this company, and they were awesome, so they’re gonna come right in here and do it.” Those attributes are important in your environment.

0:26:26.8 WB: Yes.

0:26:28.4 GR: Just because somebody was successful in a different environment, you have to know yourself. Now on the candidate side, you have to look at those things and know yourself applies to candidates. When I do career coaching most people learn to answer the basic questions and they can talk about their accomplishments and what’s on their resume. Now I’m gonna do a podcast on The Talent War podcast, and teaching people how to interview without looking at a resume. And it throws the executives off that I interview because I wanna know the DNA. So most leaders that have moved up the ladder, the toughest question for them to answer when I ask is Tell me about your leadership style. Because they’ve never gone down those attributes, they’ve never gone down those subjective assets that they have as a leader that enabled them to be successful in the multiple environments. So if you’re a candidate, you need to know what you’re highlighting to that company, for that role, is it your effective intelligence? Meaning it doesn’t matter what you throw at me, if there’s never been a solution, I will find a solution, effective intelligence. It might be team ability, that I have the ability to work in the most diverse groups and operate with the principle, “Best idea wins.” So what are those attributes as a candidate that I need to bring forward, that demonstrate for this environment, for this role, will make me thrive and succeed.

0:27:58.6 WB: I think that’s a key message, just there. Is so many people just look at the role and they turn up and they don’t make that association, and…

0:28:09.4 GR: They don’t, and I’m sorry to interrupt, but…

0:28:10.8 WB: Yeah, please.

0:28:12.6 GR: It’s interesting with executives, and when I’m coaching them, and I’ve coached several to do career transitions, they’re asked about their history, but they’re not asked about what makes them tick. So they’ve never had to articulate it, which is an entirely separate skill. And so first, you have to think about it and know yourself. Executives, the longer they’re in the corporate world, the more that their success or the way they do things becomes muscle memory, meaning they adapt to the environment, they execute according to what they’ve used in the past, but they’ve never been asked to articulate it.

0:28:54.1 GR: And so when you hear a candidate say, “This is how, these are the things within me that enabled me to achieve the success.” As an employer, you’re able to gauge more quickly. “Yeah, I can see that person fitting in here and doing really well,” or, “Oh my God, this person is gonna be a disaster because they’re very directive in nature, they’re dictatorial, they’re not collaborative.” You can hear when somebody discusses their attributes much more clearly, do they fit and the best part of it is you’re out of the likeability factor, which is where most executives hire. “I like this person, I like the resume, I think they’ll do good here.” It’s like, “Okay, we know how that usually works out.”

0:29:44.3 WB: You have a very nice methodology that you stepped me through when we first spoke around this whole construct, I won’t ask you to do it now, but it just demonstrates the degree of, I would say, complacency that we evolve through as executives. Just as you said, we developed this muscle memory or unconscious habits, if you like, about what’s happened in the past we’ll continue to do in the future, and it’s not really the right predictor, that’s for sure.

0:30:19.0 GR: It is, and when I ask executives, like we went through that drill, what it tells me, among multiple things that it tells me, is how self-aware is this executive or executive candidate, and how committed are they to self-improvement? It also gives me authenticity and integrity, it’s pretty easy after my number of repetitions when I can… If somebody tries to blow through that test, I know in like five seconds in. But it’s really interesting because you learn the DNA, and I will say something that’s a little different that executives may not like, if you’re honest and authentic and you know yourself and you put four of those attributes in an interview and you’re still not selected, you should be considering that a very good thing.

0:31:09.9 WB: Yes.

0:31:10.0 GR: Because there are great candidates and there are great roles, that doesn’t mean they go together, you want great on both sides, but right candidate, right role. And so finding their DNA, what makes them successful, if you know what’s successful in the role, you make much better matches and have a much, much higher success factor of them driving great results for your company and taking great care of your wonderful team.

0:31:38.9 WB: It also highlights an area, George, that I think corporate, our corporate world is under-performing in and that is as leaders, our education in interviewing professionally and rather than just following a model, like a star model or something, actually being able to conduct an interview in the right way, and have the right preparation in place, I think we’re very underdone in that regard.

0:32:12.2 GR: Yeah, we are. And so when we talked about the book, we talked about the Know Yourself, and we talk about the attributes. Special Operations and great organizations, what they have in common for talent is they have a defined process that helps you reveal it to the best ability you can. Are there gonna be people that skate through an interview because they’re great interviewers? Yeah, there are. And we’ve seen it lots of times, my hit ratio, because if you do a number of repetitions, you get better and better and better, but I will have one slip by me, it’s rare, but it happens. But you have to have a process that reveals those attributes in some form or fashion.

0:32:52.0 GR: And I’ll give you one of the attributes that nobody asks about in an interview, which is integrity. It’s like we take… That’s one of the attributes that people take it for granted amongst executives. But what gets companies in trouble more often than not, is a breach of integrity, and we don’t scream for it, why? If it’s important to you, why are you assuming that as fact. So you have to have a process that reveals, you have to have a process, throw some challenges or mountain in there, something that creates stress or something that creates them to think and talk about themselves in a way that’s a little bit of a departure from the resume. And then you start to see a more holistic version of the person.

0:33:34.5 WB: And that for me is probably where it becomes challenging for the typical leader is they don’t know which questions are going to extract that line of information rather than just the rhetoric.

0:33:48.1 GR: Exactly, and that’s where people have to think about their hiring process ahead of the need. And so, I’ve used that in my speeches, and I’ve said. I actually had a CEO and he says, “How the heck do you ask about integrity.” And I said, “Okay. First of all, I want you to think of a position where you weren’t the CEO, where you were below the C-suite. Walk me through your thought process and the situation where you had to deliver bad results or bad news, even when you knew the consequences to your career would be negative or there would be ramifications to your team that were negative.” How did you handle that? And it forces them to go back to a time where they were in that pressure situation, and it really draws out how they think, and it’s just as simple as changing a question instead of, “Do you have something? Tell me about the time you exercise that particular trait.”

0:34:42.8 WB: Yeah, very important. I’m conscious of the time, so I’ll ask you for some final takeaways in a moment, but there’s one topic I really wanted to touch on and get your insights on before we wrap up, and in the book, you talk about a winning formula and the formula is talent plus leadership equals victory. And I feel myself, that’s such a powerful equation. But I wonder if you could just expand on that a little bit more, please?

0:35:13.5 GR: Yeah, a couple of things. And so it really started with when we were writing this book, and then you get to the end of the book and you’re like, “Okay, how do we button this up, how do we kinda bring it all together?” And Mike and I took a different route, which was Chapter 10, I believe it is, is you can’t hire or fire your way to success, you must lead. And if you couple that thought with the very common fact that most people don’t leave bad companies, they leave bad managers and bad bosses. It means if you’ve done all of these things to get great talent in the door, you still have to lead, mentor, coach, and train.

0:35:51.3 GR: Because A players and A talent absolutely want to work with A players, they want to grow, they want to improve their skills and they wanna move up the ladder. So you have to have leadership. And then the last thing that I would say, it’s a refrain that we kind of pound the desk on. I appreciate that there are a lot of people out there that leave their mark on the world with a particular product. The founders of Google, the founders of Facebook, just for the big, big names. But there are all kinds of other dynamic products, but really the only thing you can leave when you step out of the corporate world or move to another firm is a legacy of leadership, creating junior empowered leaders below you that will take care of the next generation of leaders.

0:36:37.7 GR: So if you have great talent and you have great leadership that’s dedicated to creating a legacy of leadership, your company is going to be flexible, responsive, and be able to cover whatever comes at them economically, environmentally or otherwise. And you need those two things. You do that more often than not you’re gonna win in your space.

0:36:58.5 WB: It’s such powerful book, I have to say. A couple of more questions before we wrap up.

0:37:03.4 GR: Fire away.

0:37:06.0 WB: Anything that you’re currently working on that you would like to announce or share or… I don’t know if you can announce some of the things, but…

0:37:14.3 GR: Well, we are… Yeah, well, number one, I’m starting up a new practice, I’m a Partner Emeritus at Talent War Group group. This is… They have a great cadre of leaders that are doing a lot more leadership development, and my push is towards executive search, so I’m standing up a practice in Austin for this amazing firm called Randall Partners, name’s spelled differently, just coincidence. I kinda took it as a sign of faith, [chuckle] but also, my co-author and I, and then two others are… We’ve got most of the second book done in us and it is the… The best way to describe it because we haven’t come up with a title, which believe me is like outside of doing an audio book is the hardest thing to do is figuring out our title.

0:37:58.5 GR: But it’s the intersection of leader and, leadership and culture, because most people are talking about those topics as if they are separate. And leadership behaviors define culture. And so now we’re digging into the leadership side, how you can create the cultures you need to succeed and thrive, but it begins with your leadership abilities and competencies and attributes. So we’re having that book done when we’re gonna release it, we technically, if we push it, we could release it by Christmas, but our problem is in the United States, we have these political elections, and they suck all the air out of the social media and everything. And so there’s a certain amount of timing to hold off, but we think this leadership and culture book will be a great companion to the book that we’ve done before.

0:38:46.6 WB: Wow, I look forward to reading. So on that note, George, anywhere the audience can find you, where would you like them to check out some of the things you’re doing.

0:39:00.3 GR: So wherever podcasts are, you can pick up the Talent War podcast, you can find the Talent War Group at talentwargroup.com. You can find me at George@talentwargroup or you can find me at George@RandallPartnersLLC.com. Find me on LinkedIn, that’s probably the best way. But if you wanna get a good insight, then I would tell you pretty much wherever books are sold on Amazon, is pick up a copy of the Talent War because it’s just one of those things where you’re gonna see a lot of mistakes over the course of our career, but the things that we did that were right, that you can simply plagiarize till the end of time and really make a difference on the leadership and the talent and the culture of your company. So the The Talent War: How Special Operations and Great Organizations Win on Talent, Amazon is probably the best place to tell you to go to find it.

0:39:49.8 WB: And it’s available audio as well as hard copy, right?

0:39:53.3 GR: Yes, that was the most brutal thing that Mike and I have ever done, we got done with the audio book, we’d slept 15 hours after we got it, after done. Physical specimens, whatever, standing up there speaking into my chest out, diaphragm tight, it was like I have a whole new respect for singers and public speakers. I was like… I got to the end of that, I was dead, but we did the audio book ourselves because we wanted the emphasis and the voice to really be ours because it was really our ideas, and we wanted people to kinda hear from the horse’s mouth, as they say.

0:40:27.8 WB: It came across very well, and Jocko at the beginning, of course, is a very notable voice, sort of say the same for both of you and… It was very good, it was very good. Any final takeaways before we close up.

0:40:45.6 GR: Two things that I would leave a lot of the executives with… Well, the three quick things. One of the things that we pointed out, your company is gonna go wrong, especially in this environment with diversity, equity inclusion, the political social media blurring. Your HR leader has to be a strategic leader without doubt. As Tracy Keogh said, “HR isn’t at the table. HR is the table,” and that’s the way it should be, and you should compensate them, like you would any other C-suite person. The other thing is, talent is the only competitive advantage you could hope to achieve and maintain, and if you focus on your talent and become a talent magnet, so many of your challenges and problems will go away for you.

0:41:27.1 WB: George Randle, it’s been an honor and great conversation, I really enjoyed it. Thank you very much, and I look forward to keeping in contact and connecting in the future when that next book is launched.

0:41:40.8 GR: That sounds great Wayne, an honor and my privilege to be on. And thank you so much for inviting me.

0:41:46.8 Speaker 2: Thank you to joining us on the ET Project, a show for executive talent development. Until next time, check out our site for free videos, e-books, webinars and blogs at coaching4companies.com.

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