March 15, 2016

Eating Our Own Dog Food

Start-ups often talk about “eating their own dog food," if you are going to sell something to someone, you should probably do it yourself.  It is making sure the cobbler’s children have a tight shoe game.

Since I joined TSP in the summer of 2011, we have come a long way.  We have expanded our business significantly, and as the increased number of rooms needed for the legendary TSP “Corporate” Retreat suggests, we’ve hired several really awesome people.

As we have grown, one of the things we needed to do was get more structured in the way we hire – you know, one of the main things people hire us to help them with.  And by “structured,” I don’t mean creating an overly complicated, depersonalized system that makes people feel like a head of cattle; our method had to be authentic, it had to be personal, it had to be simple.  In this internal project, our main focus was getting what was in our “guts” onto paper and created a shared language for thinking and talking about our people.   

After speaking with a cross-section of TSP’ers about what makes someone a good fit for us, regardless of role or level, my teammate Marc Prine (who was in first month with us) and I settled on 12-15 things we heard consistently.  After further boiling this list down, we ended up with four key competencies:

be in tune. get it done. be a leader. love what you do.

What’s been great is seeing the multitude of ways we have incorporated these competencies into the way we think about our people.  We have recognized people who best exemplified these characteristics, awarding four people at the end of last year for excelling in each competency. We interview perspective candidates for fit and align our internal training against these competencies. And to remind us everyday, we put them up in our office.

Interested in eating the dog food and joining our team? Check out working at TSP page.

Tags: consulting & assessment, culture

Author
Chad Thompson PhD

Just because Chad has a Ph.D. in industrial/organizational psychology, doesn’t mean he can’t talk to you about sports, craft beer, tech buzz or the most recent episode of The Bachelorette—a show whose outcome he has successfully predicted more times than most people admit actually watching it. In the people business—and even in pop culture—Chad uses data, tools, and his professional experience to develop and interpret insights about how to measure, develop, and retain people.

Chad joined TSP in 2011 to lead the talent consulting practice, where he delivers executive-level evaluations, both in conjunction with TSP searches and for internal client teams. He also consults with clients on a wide variety of talent acquisition and management projects.  

Prior to TSP, Chad was a consultant at Aon Hewitt, where he had responsibility for leading the design and management of large-scale selection initiatives and leadership assessment programs for Fortune 500 clients. Chad’s research on selection has been published in peer-reviewed journals, and he is a frequent speaker at national conferences. He has also been quoted in publications such as HR Magazine. Chad received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology from Wright State University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Wittenberg University.  

More from this author