Top 100 v1.44 George Bradt

Top 100 v1.44 George Bradt

Posted on 24. Nov, 2009 by in Blog, Top 100

Onboarding programs are everywhere. You could be excused for thinking that this somewhat obvious idea has always been a part of the landscape. Employee onboarding, and more specifically, executive onboarding, is a relatively recent invention.

I had a good laugh today in a conversation with an old friend. “Imagine”, I said, “that you got to your new job and, on day 1, your desk was in place, your name was on your door. Your first 15 meetings were arranged, you had clear goals and a 100 day plan.” My friend, who is 30 days into his new job, laughed hysterically. “I still can’t remember where the bathroom is and my job description feels like jello.”

This is the world of George Bradt.

Bradt has worked for a number of big companies (Coke, Unilever, Proctor and Gamble, JD Powers) in sales and marketing executive roles. He is not your standard issue HR leader.

He tells the story of his epiphany this way:

“In the ’90s in Japan, I was responsible for hiring this one particular Vice President. On his first day in the office, he walked in and nothing, absolutely nothing was ready for him. We spent the day sorting out the logistics of office space, bathroom locations and so on. We’d spent a fortune to get the guy on the job and were simply unprepared for him. I know it was a real waste and a real opportunity. I swore it would never happen again.”

Onboarding was born.

“The next new executive hire was a different story. When she arrived, her name was on the door; her computer was ready; there were flowers in the office; she had meetings scheduled. In other words, we got her off to a running start.”

Bradt believes that success or failure of a new executive is determined in a very short and early window. (At least 40% of all executive placements fail in the first 18 months.) In the following years, his recipe for improving the odds grew richer and more detailed. He forced his organizations to work to make new executives successful. Today, Bradt refers to a Heidrik and Struggles study that suggests onboarding reduces the failure rate to 10%.

When he launched his own company, PrimeGenesis, the idea was to follow the onboarding thread exclusively. What makes a guy like Bradt so influential is that he knows how to stay focused and on message. In the early days, no one wanted to talk about onboarding. Today, it’s nearly a household word. Meanwhile, the company has stuck to its knitting. The company blog is a cornucopia of onboarding insight.

The New Leaders 100 Day Action Plan, George’s first book, got its name because the publisher didn’t think the word ‘onboarding’ would sell. It continues to move at an interesting rate and was the foundation for Bradt’s second, “Onboarding“. The third, “Total Onboarding” is due out next spring.

PrimeGenesis also offers, a structured nine step workstream for people who want to make their next job a success.

The combination of laser focus and a clear story are the underlying elements of George Bradt‘s influence. Nearly single handedly (with the help of the PrimeGenesis team, of course), George has brought a new aspect of the hiring process into focus. This google timeline gives you a sense of the explosion in the use of the term ‘onboarding‘.

Bradt focuses on three aspects of the new engagement.

  1. Preparation for a Head start.
    The onboarding processes focuses on researching the new job and the new team in advance of Day 1. The name of the game is to have a clear agenda and a clear message. The process includes making sure that the workplace is prepped from a logistics perspective with offices arranged and meetings set.
  2. Push.
    George and his team are relentless about their focus on having a message and sticking to it. One message, one clear set of objectives.
  3. Inspiring and Enabling The Team.
    After initial introductions, success is really all about the team. Bradt urges an approach based on the new executive being grateful for the opportunity to serve his team (rather than charging in on a shiny white horse).

Bradt likens his work to being a harbor /component/page,shop.browse/category_id,7/option,com_virtuemart/Itemid,62/”>cialis erectile dysfunction pilot. “We get put on the boat with the new captain. We help them /component/page,shop.browse/category_id,7/option,com_virtuemart/Itemid,62/”>cialis erectile dysfunction map out their plan. We facilitate meetings. In rare cases, we take the helm. Onboarding helps the transition process gain traction and momentum.”

George Bradt is changing the way that companies treat new employees. There is an emerging partnership that focuses on getting the right start for both sides of the equation. It’s an important part of the proactive hiring process.

7 Responses to “Top 100 v1.44 George Bradt”

  1. david perry

    24. Nov, 2009

    Great interview and George is absolutely correct. the battle to hire the best begins well before the first interview.

  2. Susan Storts

    24. Nov, 2009

    Great article and spot on! I met George shortly before he started PrimeGenesis. Not only is he focused and driven, George is very “human” as well. I believe this combination is cornerstone to his success. Not only does he understand the business component but he also recognizes the human element in a given situation. Make no mistake, George does what he does well and his success is well-deserved.

  3. uberVU - social comments

    24. Nov, 2009

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by johnsumser: George Bradt is the latest Top 100 Influencer.. Father of onboarding…

  4. Larry Shoemaker

    25. Nov, 2009

    George is truly “at the top of the game” when the word onboarding is mentioned. His process takes what we, as good search consultants do to identify and help clients recruit game changers, and ensures their success through immediate impact in the organization. Too often an ineffective start can negatively impact a new senior executive and they attain only marginal success in the role they were hired to do. George’s vision, focus and commitment has created an important process that every organization must pay attention to.

  5. Harry Falber

    25. Nov, 2009

    I got to know George fairly well in the more embryonic days of PrimeGenesis when he helped my with my corporate-provided onboarding to be president at Hallmark Flowers & Gifts (I could have really used him on a full-time basis given the culture and situation). I also tried to get his company hired on a retainer basis there (didn’t work). But moving on, what I like, is that George understands that what the landscape seems, isn’t what it is. He helps navigate the “the Grand Canyons of business” through the the business version of the Colorado River rapids

  6. Trish McFarlane

    25. Nov, 2009

    George’s book should be in the hands of every HR department. It is true that on-boarding is certainly where most fall down. I’d even venture to say that many companies have a more robust exit/alumni process than their on-boarding process. Thanks for the eye opening post.

  7. Bob Butler

    02. Dec, 2009

    Once upon a time, I was actually onboarded by George… his approach really works and we had amazing results.