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Topgrading: How Leading Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching, and Keeping the Best People, Revised and Updated Edition Hardcover – Bargain Price, April 7, 2005


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 592 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover; Revised edition (April 7, 2005)
  • ISBN-10: 1591840813
  • ASIN: B000BOB2SO
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 5.8 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,361,059 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

The key to building a superior company, an increasing number of observers now agree, is the ongoing ability to recruit and retain superior personnel. In Topgrading, industrial psychologist and global consultant Bradford Smart expands upon this idea by examining in great detail exactly how today's premier organizations have assembled such top-level employees, and then showing precisely how others can do it, too. "Simply put, topgrading is the practice of packing the team with A players and clearing out the C players," Smart writes. "'A players' is defined as the top 10 percent of talent available at all salary levels--best of class. With this radical definition, you are not a topgrader until your team consists of all A players. Period." Essentially a best-practices manual for developing this outstanding personnel pool, the book is based on more than 4,000 interviews and case studies conducted by Smart at major corporations like General Electric as well as fast-growing high-tech companies and small family-owned firms. He further bolsters its effectiveness by including his extensive "Chronological In-Depth Structured Interview Guide," along with other assessment tools and hands-on strategies for assembling an ideal work team. --Howard Rothman --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Topgrading is the definitive manual for becoming an A player and for recognizing those traits in others. (Larry Bossidy, coauthor of Execution) --Larry Bossidy, coauthor of Execution --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

I highly recommend this book as one of a handful must reads for the busy manager.
M and K
TOPGRADING helps with this problem by providing you with a process that reduces that number a lot, but still ensures that you will be able to hire the best.
Donald Mitchell
Just because someone is a leader does not mean they know how someone else should do their job.
Jim Estill

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

111 of 118 people found the following review helpful By jds100 on May 16, 2006
Format: Hardcover
"Topgrading" does have some insights, that are of some value, but keep in mind that this book is also a marketing tool for the author's services. The ideas here are not necessarily new; they're certainly not earth-shattering. The 'tool' for interviewing is most unlikely to be used by people in the real world, in HR or in the position of making a hiring decision. It is unweildy, excessivly long, and absolutely dependent on the ability of the interviewer to accurately evaluate the responses of the candidates. It is absurd to presume or assume that everyone -maybe even anyone- who reads this book will come away with that talent. I certainly would not want to make my company's growth and/or survival dependent on someone's consistent ability to accurately evaluate qualifications -and "quality"- over the course of using this 2-1/2 hour-long interview tool.

I also question whether or not the best candidates wouldn't get up and leave in disgust, or run as fast as they can from a company that would use this kind of interviewing tool.

The tone of the interviewing methodology seems, to me, to be adversarial and condescending, which will not generate the most accurate eveidence of talent of fit with a given organization. This is tedious, and excessive. It would not take a genius to BS his or her way into giving impressive answers. I question whether or not candidates, the best candidates especially, would not be offended at being asked these questions. I can imagine that candidates who are desperate would be happy to sit through this 'therapy session', but real professionals would more likely determine that a company using this method would not be a good fit. If you believe in making your candidates run a gauntlet of pain and fire, then be honest: set that up.
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40 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on June 8, 2007
Format: Hardcover
While Brad Smart offers some good advice for the hiring manager, we must keep in mind that the purpose of TogGrading is to make money for, uh, Brad Smart. It is every hiring manager's responsibility to select the best candidate for a position. Some instinctively do a good job at this, while others are simply clueless. Dr. Smart presents his methodology with a zen-like religious furvor. He insists that if everyone in the organization adopts his methodology and becomes a zealot, the organization will become wildly successful. Isn't pretty to think so. My company jumped on the TogGrading bandwagon three years ago, because we had high turnover in a two departments. Now our hiring process is adruous, time-consuming and expensive. The results? Those managers who had low turnover rates still have low turnover rates. Those who had high turnover rates still have high turnover rates. The bottom line: TopGrading doesn't work any better than any other of the various magic bullet methods hawked to managers over the years. There is no one-size-fits-all methodology for selecting top performers. If your company is failing at attracting and retaining "A players" you'd do better to carefully examine your corporate culture than to jump on the latest fad method. If one manager excels at hiring and retaining good employees, allow him to mentor the managers who don't. This is cheaper and far more effective than turning your HR process upside down and hoping for a miracle cure.
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42 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Greg on July 11, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Be very careful using some of the information in this book or you risk creating an HR nightmare for your company. Ford Motor Company is in the process of defending itself against law suites brought on by employees who have been exposed to the "A, B, and C, Player," environment. The Top Grading system is viewed by many as arbitrary, unfair, and discriminatory. Even the most vocal practitioners of this system, General Electric, will admit the process can destroy moral.
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28 of 33 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 19, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Brad is arrogant. His style is hard to read, and his conclusions lack evidence. He claims to have used over 4,000 interactions for his book. There really are no specific or scientific use of the data he claims to have. The method may serve to give a prospective candidate practice interview questions. Any senior person would be insulted at his methods and would go to another company. But Brad is high on himself!
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 19, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I have read this book and conclude that most of the information is accurate in my experience. I think that Brad could TOPGRADE his style, however. The chest puffing gets tiring, his arrogance makes me gag and in general detracts from the potency of the book. This method is "no silver bullet" it works and can be difficult to implement. I also didn't care to read about Brad's property investment property and how he has Topgraded his help. .....Please lighten up Brad.
Woody Daroca Denver, Co.
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42 of 52 people found the following review helpful By M. Sulborski on January 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an interesting book, which can be summarized in a few sound bites: 1) steal all the "top" people you can from other organizations; 2) if you don't have a rock-solid track record, don't bother applying here (sorry - no mommy trackers or career changeovers need apply); 3) the only HR skill a manager needs is unbridled contempt.

An interesting aspect of this book is the emphasis on HIGH SCHOOL behavior as a critical success factor. By the end of the book, I was convinced Topgrading originated as a hiring manual for hourly-workers. With the decline of factory jobs in the USA, this book appears to have been "Topgraded" to sell into the professional marketplace.

This is not a manual for improving or leading a workforce - it is a manual for cherry-picking. It is demeaning, demoralizing, and degrading. Based on the philosophy that the employee is completely expendable, this book succeeds in "Topgrading" worker exploitation.

The company that "Topgrades" is the company you want to own. It is not the company you want to be employed by.
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