January 10, 2019

ABCs of Success: A Simple, Comprehensive Model for Making Great Talent Decisions

We invest significant amounts of time, money and energy into making decisions about talent placement. There’s a lot at stake in answering questions such as:

  • who should get hired?
  • who should get promoted?
  • who gets a spot on the bench for a key role?

Great organizations are preoccupied with finding the right answers to these questions, because they understand that having the "best of the best" talent is a key competitive advantage. In reality, certainty is impossible – there will always be some level of risk associated with talent decisions. The good news is that the risks can be mitigated if organizations have a model that clearly defines the critical "success factors," or factors that influence who will be successful in a particular role.

At TSP, we call have a simple and effective model we call "the ABCs of Success", which stands for:

  • Attributes – what's hard-wired in a person
  • Background – what a person has done and where they have been
  • Competencies – what tools a person has developed

We use the ABC model to help reshape leaders' thinking about talent, in terms of both acquisition and development.  Below are some common components of each of the ABCs:



The ABC model is a strong foundation for making great talent decisions because it has two critical qualities – simplicity and comprehensiveness.

  • If a model is simple, then it is more likely to be followed consistently across time and location.
  • If a model is comprehensive, then organizations are getting a full picture of a person.

In our upcoming blog posts we'll take a deeper dive into each one of the ABCs and explore how organizations can effectively assess talent in each area, so make sure to return for more!


Want to learn more about how TSP can help you make great talent decisions? Let's connect.


Justin Long

Justin Long is a passionate industrial / organizational psychologist with valuable experience as both an internal and external consultant. His consulting background integrates the areas of executive assessment, leadership development, talent management, and training. Justin earned his Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from The Chicago School of Professional Psychology. He also earned a Master of Theology degree from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Bachelor's in both Psychology and Philosophy from the University of Delaware. 

Justin has lived in Atlanta, Los Angeles, Dallas, and now Temecula (about 60 miles north and inland from San Diego). 

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