Book Review: Hiring and Getting Hired

Hiring and Getting Hired: A Performance-Based Hiring Handbook by Lou Adler

Don’t let the WordArt-inspired cover design fool you! Even though it’s not offering a full solution to the top-of-funnel problem, it’s taking a worthy crack at it and several other key challenges in the process, which makes it one of the best recruiting books out there.

I came across the book since Grammarly is using it, and another all-time favorite of mine, Who: The A Method for Hiring, as the basis for our hiring manager and interviewer training. The two books have a lot in common at the principles level, but offer different tactics to support them. H&GH stands out b/c it paints a more holistic and detailed picture of the entire process, compared to Who.

The Good

There are several distinctions and frameworks that I found to be particularly useful in H&GH:

  • “Talent Scarcity” vs. “Talent Surplus” recruiting strategies: Incorrectly diagnosing the market you’re operating in leads to a recruiting process that’s unlikely to yield the outcome that you’re aiming for.
  • Before Day 1 / Day 1 / Year 1 / Beyond Year 1 decision-making criteria: There’s a big disconnect between what seems to matter for both candidates and companies before accepting a job, and what truly impacts their performance after accepting the job. The more you can orient your selling and evaluation process towards the Year 1 and beyond criteria — the better.
  • The Performance Profile: is H&GH’s version of Who’s “Scorecard” describing the job in terms of outcomes rather than a set of skills and responsibilities. This is then used for both designing an evaluation process that’s outcome-focused and crafting a job description that’s selling “year 1 and beyond” criteria.
  • Segmenting the talent market: Super passives, explorers, tiptoers, searchers, networkers, hunters & posters — are all in different stages of engagement and progress in their career change process and need to be approached and interacted with differently.
  • The 20/20/60 Sourcing Plan: 20% focused on compelling and visible postings, 20% focused on name generation and targeted emails, 60% focused on direct calling, networking and obtaining pre-qualified referrals.
  • On-site: PSQ, MSA and SMARTe: Asking a performance profile-based problem-solving question (PSQ), following up with a most-significant-accomplishment question (MSA) tackling a similar challenge in a past job, and utilizing fact-finding around the specific task, measurement, actions, results, time-frame and the environment (SMARTe) to get a full picture.
  • Closing: utilizing the candidate career decision matrix: a great tool to bring “year 1 and beyond” criteria into the decision-making process.

The Could-be-better

There were a handful of ideas and concepts that didn’t sit well with me and could potentially be improved.

  • The Hiring Formula: is on the one hand complex and on the other hand not too actionable. I wonder if a “formula” is the right analogy here and if there are better evaluation buckets that are worth considering.
  • Gap around “How?”: this may be tied to the Hiring Formula. There’s a lot of good advice in the book on how to evaluate candidates for a pattern of achievement throughout their careers and how to assess whether they’ll be able to accomplish the “What?” (results) of the role. The slightly more intangible conversation on the “How?” (“will they be able to do it in ways that are aligned with our company values and culture?”) received very few pages in the book, though this aspect of a candidate’s fit is hugely important.
  • The order of chapters: Framing → On-site → Performance Profile → Sourcing → Closing, seems out of order. A sequence that follows the recruiting process made more sense to me: Framing → Performance Profile → Sourcing → On-site → Closing.
  •  Reducing On-site bias: there’s actually quite a bit of discussion in the book around ways to reduce bias in the recruiting process. The appendix discussing the legal compliance implications of using performance-profile-based job descriptions is fantastic. But there seems to be a big gap around discussing bias as it pertains to the Problem Solving Question, on two separate dimensions: the first is around designing a PSQ experience that is as much “in-real-life context” as possible, taking into account the fact that the ability to solve a particular problem “out-of-context” and “in-context” varies greatly. The second is around developing explicit criteria for consistently assessing the quality of different answers, given that there’s no single right answer.

In Sum

While not error/gaps-free (which is an entirely unrealistic expectation), Hiring and Getting Hired is one of the best recruiting books that I’ve read to date, and I’d highly recommend it for recruiters, hiring managers, candidates and everyone else who’s curious.

Book Review: Hiring and Getting Hired

Let’s talk about burnout

Burnout is a hot button organizational topic, even outside the realm of the fast-paced tech startups of Silicon Valley. However, there are also a lot of misconceptions about it, what causes it and what to do about it. So this is my attempt to summarize the more useful and credible information I was able to find about this important topic.

Let’s start with a more accurate definition: burnout is a syndrome that results from applying ineffective coping strategies to dealing with stress. It’s most common mental and physical symptoms are exhaustion, cynicism and professional inefficacy. A recent study elaborates further:

  • Exhaustion is the feeling of not being able to offer any more of oneself at an emotional level
  • Cynicism represents a distant attitude towards work, those served by it, and colleagues
  • Inefficacy is the feeling of not performing tasks adequately or being incompetent at work.

To understand burnout, we need to start by understanding stress.

Stress is our physiological response to an environmental condition that we unconsciously perceive as a threat, often also referred to as the “Fight of Flight” response. Our sympathetic nervous system and our adrenal glands (by secreting cortisol hormone into the bloodstream) prepare out body to take action to respond to the threat:

While stress was evolutionarily designed as a survival mechanism, moderate levels of stress, often referred to as eustress, have a positive impact on performance:

Problems arise when the level of stress exceeds our physical and mental ability to deal with it. Experiencing this unsustainable level of distress for long periods of time eventually leads to burnout.

While burnout can be more clinically diagnosed using the Maslach Burnout Inventory Test, there are many leading indicators on the path for burnout. Herbert Freudenberger the psychologist who first identified burnout as a unique syndrome and gave it its name, identified a 12-stage process which, without effective intervention, eventually leads to full burnout syndrome:

Source: Scientific American

Once burnout reaches a clinical stage treatment requires clinical intervention. But often times burnout can be avoided by more gentle interventions prior to that. The interventions that can be applied once symptoms start manifesting themselves can easily be considered also as effective preventative strategies if turned into healthy habits:

  1. Make self-care your #1 priority, before work: eating well, getting enough sleep, exercising regularly, taking time off in meaningful chunks (several days) and investing in your closest social relationships. Consider adopting more of a segmentor approach to managing your work and non-work time.
  2. Proactively manage your workload: deliberately and ruthlessly prioritizing your work, which also includes learning how to renegotiate pre-existing commitments and learning how to say no the right way.
  3. Strengthen and reflect on your motivation for doing the work — do an Immunity To Change exercise and uncover the hidden commitments that lead you to overwork. Design safe experiments to start loosening the hold that these commitments have on your life. Motivation is driven by both meaning (the work that we do here matters to me) and impact (the work that I do here, matters to others) and there can be disconnects on both fronts. Build deliberate reflective spaces into your routine to identify what they are and work to resolve them.
  4. Invest in developing mindfulness and self-awareness — in the context of managing stress and burnout the benefits are two-fold: i) tactically, in situations that trigger the “fight or flight” response, identify the sensory triggers that tell you that you are in that state and take deliberate action to diffuse them, and avoid staying in that mode more than you absolutely have to. You’re essentially increasing your capacity to deal with stress effectively ii) More strategically, identify the symptoms that suggest that you’re on track for burnout sooner rather than later and take corrective action.
Let’s talk about burnout

Enabling Engagement: A micro-meta-analysis

Today I’m going to try an touch on a loaded topic without fully tripping the landmine: employee engagement.

So let’s start with a big disclaimer: “Employee engagement” is a peculiar label. It’s defined by different people in different ways. There’s no good direct way to measure it, and the indirect ways are far from perfect. While there are reams of research that have shown a correlation between improved employee engagement and business outcomes, I’ve yet to have seen a highly-rigorous, randomized, controlled test that demonstrates causality. And finally, even if we accept the fact that this is something that we want to improve, opinions differ on who owns that problem and what are the best ways to do so.

No that we got that out of the way, it’s worth calling out what we can learn from the conversation around engagement: under the engagement banner, large groups of smart people set out to study organizations and figure out how to best create an environment in which the individuals in the org are set up to be highly productive and highly committed to the org. And while we need to be very careful about not over-interpreting any sort of measurement, the process of measurement and the conversation around the results gives us a shared language to talk about what we want to improve and structure and cadence to take action that will start moving us in that direction.

I’ve been following the engagement conversation quite closely over the last 4–5 years or so, and was curious to see how do the different “thought leaders” in this space differ in the way they decompose engagement to its enabling components (whether they use the “engagement” label or not).

So I decided to do my own little micro-meta-analysis comparing them. I’ve looked at four key players:

  • Gallup Q12 — Gallup is credited with making “engagement” a thing. Their 12-questions questionnaire it a the core of their research and has been considered to be for many years the “gold standard” for measuring engagement. Gallup’s 12 questions can be divided into 4 categories: basic needs, management support, teamwork, and growth. I’ve decided to use that categorization as a shared taxonomy in comparing the various engagement frameworks.
  • Google — Google’s People Operations team has done some really phenomenal work in the last 5 years or so, applying really rigorous research to exploring organizational performance questions. They have also been kind enough to open-source much of their research on the Re:Work blog. Without labeling as “engagement research” Google has set out on two massive multi-year projects. The first, Project Oxygen, explored “what makes managers effective?”. The second, Project Aristotle, explored “what makes teams effective?”.
  • CultureAmp — CultureAmp is one of the leading vendors of what can be colloquially referred to as “engagement software”. As opposed to other vendors in their space, they dig very deeply into the science behind the business problems that their products are aiming to solve. They employ in-house organizational psychologists that help support the product development process. In designing their employee engagement survey product, CultureAmp developed the LEAD framework, which decomposes engagement enablers into 4 key categories: Leadership, Enablement, Alignment, and Development.
  • The Mind Gym — The Mind Gym is an L&D consultancy, portions of its work were covered here a few weeks back. I’m fairly impressed with the level of scientific rigor they bring into their solutions so I was curious to see how they’re approaching the topic of engagement. Their approach decomposes engagement based on the roles that the individual, manager, leadership, and colleagues play in creating the necessary conditions for strong engagement.

The results are summarized in the table and screenshot below:

Eyeballing the overlap between Gallup, Google, and CultureAmp, I’d say that there’s about 70% overlap between the three frameworks if we ignore some minor framing or focus difference in the way some of the questions/statements were worded. Both Google and CultureAmp got rid of the weirdest Gallup question (“I have a best friend at work”). Google adds more focus on team dynamics. CultureAmp adds more focus on systemic/organizational issues that span more than the immediate team. While I had some preconception that there’s quite a bit of overlap between the Gallup questions and what Google’s Project Oxygen uncovered, seeing how Project Aristotle “filled in the blanks” in many ways was an interesting discovery. And while I like the CultureAmp LEAD categorization a bit more than Gallup’s, the underlying content is not that much different.

The MindGym turned out to be the odd duck of the four. Mostly in a good way. In full transparency, The Mind Gym does have its own 24-question assessment questionnaire that would make their approach look a little more similar to the other three, but only a handful of questions map well. The Mind Gym does seem to take a fundamentally different approach thinking about engagement, viewing it much more as a mindset shift, driven by the individual and supported through all the other players in the organization. My one qualm with their framework is that the scientific approach supporting different pieces of it seems a bit anecdotal/stitched together, but in fairness, it’s an unfair bar to evaluate them against considering the opacity of the academic research behind the other three. It is still the approach that resonates with me the most and the one I’m most curious to better understand and explore further.

Enabling Engagement: A micro-meta-analysis

GROWing the Retention Tree [Re:Work + Canner]

Retention is a delicate professional topic. Parting ways is a painful experience, regardless of the circumstances. However, it is especially emotionally loaded when it happens unilaterally and takes the other side by surprise. We, therefore, tend to view these situations as inherently “bad.” Where in fact, in some cases, parting ways while still regrettable was the right thing to do, and in some cases, it could and should have been avoided.

Nico Canner, CEO of Incandescent, offers a simple checklist to separate situations in which parting ways was the right thing to do, from situations in which it should and could have been avoided:

How to Retain Talent — And How to Lose People the Right Way

1. Did we have an open dialogue with that individual about their dreams, priorities and concerns, the different kinds of opportunities they were thinking about on the outside, and what might be possible for them within the firm?

2. Did we think creatively and well about the best way for that individual to realize their aspirations within the firm, and identify specific things that would make a positive difference?

3. If we made any commitments based on this dialogue, did we fulfill them?

If we answered “yes” to all three questions, we have done the right things, and parting ways was the right outcome. If we answered “no” to any of the three questions, we could have done more to keep a talented employee.

#3 is relatively straightforward — honor your commitments / don’t make promises you cannot keep. However, consistently answering “yes” to #1 and #2 usually requires putting in place a bit of structure/process to help us ensure that these conversations are taking place consistently and effectively.

How to have these conversations is where some of Google’s contributions to their Re:Work People Ops open-source repository come in particularly handy:

Structure Career Conversations with GROW

GROW is a neat problem-solving/coaching framework that’s been around for a few decades. Variants have evolved over the years but in one of the more popular variations GROW stands for Goal, Reality, Obstacles/Options, Way forward. Google developed a very good career development conversation worksheet around this framework, focusing on four key reflection questions:

  • Goal: What do you want?
  • Reality: What’s happening now?
  • Options: What could you do?
  • Way forward: What will you do?

One of the things I particularly like about it, is that it avoids a common anti-pattern in these interactions that implicitly (over even worse, explicitly) shifts the responsibility for the employee’s career development from the employee to the manager. You are always the primary person responsible for your career development. However, the manager can be a powerful ally in coaching you through the process and helping you to remove obstacles. The shared inquiry framing of the worksheet allows the manager to play the role of a proactive coach in the process, without assuming an unreasonable amount of responsibility in the process.

GROWing the Retention Tree [Re:Work + Canner]

Bounded Specialization (and the limits of human collaboration)

Differences are at the core of any synergetic collaboration effort. The whole ends up being larger than the sum of its part, only when the collaboration leverages the ways in which the collaborators are different, rather than the way in which they are the same.

Consider the difference between two people carrying together a rock that is too heavy for one person to carry on his own, and two people brainstorming a solution to an abstract problem that one of them was not able to solve on his own. The former collaboration utilizes their similarities, while the latter utilizes their differences.

While variation and differences naturally exist in nature, recent studies suggest that specialization, which I’ll define here as the deliberate creation of differences for the purpose of more effective collaboration, is “a human innovation, drawing on our ability to learn and improve by practice, and to trade goods and services”. Ironically, this innovation was inspired by misinterpretation of the ways other animals collaborate.

This innovation has enabled humans to undertake collaboration efforts at unprecedented levels of scope and complexity such as nation states and multinational corporations.

One particular form of specialization seems to be playing a rather pivotal role in such massive collaboration efforts — multi-tiered authority structures, or hierarchies for short.

To avoid a common confusion with “dominance”, Ronald Heifetz, defines authority as “conferred power to perform a service”. Viewed through a specialization-in-support-of-collaboration lens, both parties voluntarily agree to assume “leader” and “follower” roles: “Given your know-how, I give you power to make decisions to accomplish a service, and I’ll follow these decisions as long as it appears to me that they serve my purposes.”

The critical role that authority and hierarchy play in large-scale collaboration efforts is as a mechanism to encapsulate the massive complexity of such endeavors.

But like almost everything that’s taken to its extreme form, specialization, especially of the authority type, has a dark side, which stems from the dichotomous leader/follower distinction.

The dark aspects on the leader side are often summarized as “power corrupts”, but the follower side is not free of sin either. When we fully integrate the follower role into our identity, we are more prone to counterproductive behaviors such as developing “learned helpless”, viewing ourselves as victims, not acknowledging our role in both creating the problem and finding and implementing the solution, and rebelling for the sake of rebellion.

In one of my favorite HBR pieces of all times, Chris Argyris described this dynamic beautifully in an organizational context:

There seem to be two rules. Rule number one is that employees are to be truthful and forthcoming about the world they work in, about norms, procedures, and the strengths and weaknesses of their superiors… Rule number two is that top-level managers, who play an intensely scrutinized role in the life of the company, are to assume virtually all responsibility for employee well-being and organizational success. Employees must tell the truth as they see it; leaders must modify their own and the company’s behavior. In other words, employees educate, and managers act.

How do we manage the dark side of specialization and authority? Well, I don’t think that it’s by getting rid of authority altogether, and “going flat”. That would be throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Until I come across an alternative solution that’s capable of addressing the complexity encapsulation challenge, paraphrasing Winston Churchill’s famous quote about democracy seems appropriate: “Hierarchy is the worst form of organizing, except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time”.

I can think of three things that we can do instead, all acting to constrain the dynamic in various ways so I’d like to group them under the banner of “bounded specialization”.

1. Bounded by duration

Duration-based elections are a core component of modern democracies and help ensure that authority relationships are not indefinite. Progressive organizations are starting to follow suit as well and elect all members in authority positions, not just their board, to predefined terms.

2. Bounded by context

Distributing authority by narrowing its context can limit its hold on our identity. In a sense, this is an extension of the “separation of powers” concept in democracies where no single body or person has both legislative, executive and judiciary authorities. But it goes beyond that to ensure that we’re followers in some contexts and leaders in others. For example: I trust my Doctor with my medical decisions, and my Financial Advisor with my financial decisions, but I am myself an Educator, so others trust me with the educational decisions for their kids. To bring this back to organizations, this can be done by unbundling the monolithic authority often given to managers (the executive trinity) into separate roles.

3. Bounded by focus

I find this one to be the most challenging to explain, but the most critical to understand, so here goes. The idea here is to blur the dichotomous distinction of roles and responsibilities between leader and follower, manager and individual contributor, or those who hold public office and those who don’t. It’s a little easier to explain in the civil context: consider the difference between a citizen of a country and a resident of a country. They both authorized the government of that country to make decisions on their behalf. They pay their taxes, and they abide by the law. But a citizen also has a right to vote, which requires her to play a more active role in the relationship as both Heifetz and Ret. General Stanley McChrystal point out:

“The concept of social contract may be at the cornerstone of democracy, yet democracy is not so easily achieved in light of our inclination to look to authority with overly expectant eyes. In part, democracy requires that average citizens become aware that they are indeed the principals and that those upon whom they confer power are their agents. They have also to bear the risks, the costs, and the fruits of shared responsibility and civic participation. “ — Ronald Heifetz

“This critical caveat to Tocqueville’s predictions of American democratic success cuts to the heart of what makes democracy tick: a political structure in which decision making authority is — in some ways — decentralized to the voters, rather than concentrated in a monarchic or oligarchic core, requires a high level of political awareness among the public in order to function. If people are not educated enough to make informed decisions at the polls, the feedback system on which democracy is premised will not work. “ — Gen Stanley McChrystal

Now ask yourself this: “how much of our time do we invest in doing our civic duty?” not just paying our taxes and abiding by the law, but playing an active role in the civic process.

For many of us, myself included, the answer is typically “very little, to not at all”. I believe that changing that extreme dynamic in which civil servants are spending 100% of their time on civil matters and many of us spend none of our time on civil matters is critical to managing the dark side of specialization. I’m not advocating for 50–50, that would be missing the point and eliminating all the benefits of specialization. But how about 95–5? Or 99–1? The pattern is applicable to the dynamic within the organization where the distinction is between people who are working in the org (individual contributors, doing the actual work) and people who are working on the org (managers, making the organization better).

I’ll conclude with these unanswered questions: What if every individual contributor spent 5% of his time working on the org? What if every manager spent 5% of her time working in the org?

Bounded Specialization (and the limits of human collaboration)

Goodbye AltSchool, Hello Grammarly!

A few weeks ago, I bid farewell to the friends and colleagues I’ve made over the last couple of years at AltSchool. Today, is my first day with Grammarly and I could not be more excited.

Periods of transition are natural opportunities for reflection, and I did my best to use this one as such.

My tenure at AltSchool, while far from easy, has been a tremendous period of personal and professional growth. For the time being I’ll keep some of the more personal insights private, but on the professional front, upon reflection, a handful of insights bubble up to the top:

  • To create a transformational solution, you have to get the people who experience the pain of the problem, the experts on how to solve it, and the people who can build it, to actively participate in the problem-solving process.
  • Most of our collaboration challenges as adults are rooted in gaps in our own socio-emotional learning. Progressive classrooms are ahead of progressive workplaces in solving that challenge, and a great source for good solutions. Many things that work well with kids, with minor adaptations, also work well with adults.
  • Strong relationships, social connectedness and a sense of belonging are explicit goals in and of themselves.
  • Curiosity and wonder drive self-awareness and personal growth. But sometimes they are dormant and hard to be awakened.

On a slightly more personal note, the past 2 years have been a tremendous validation that continuing to focus my career on the “people” track allows me to bring much more of my unique abilities to my professional life in a way that’s both highly valuable to the organization and highly rewarding to me. Which is part of why I’m so excited to join Grammarly and lead their People function.

But that’s just part of the story. The mission and the team played a key part in this decision. I guess sometimes startup clichés turn out to be true 🙂

First, the mission. Effective interpersonal communication is at the heart of every human collaboration effort. Tying it with one of the lessons-learned above, it’s a good example of a skill that many of us didn’t get to hone and develop fully while at school. The explosion of asynchronous and narrow modes of communication over the last decades, from SMS to Slack, seem to be making matters worse, increasing the likelihood of miscommunication and misunderstanding. Grammarly is taking big strides in growing from its modest-yet-impressive stronghold of Grammatical Error Correction to actualizing this mission in broader and deeper ways, operationalizing cutting edge Machine Learning and Natural Language Processing research in an unprecedented scale.

Second, the team. Grammarly’s EAGER values are deeply ingrained in the organizational DNA and came to life in every human interaction I had with a team member. In addition to making it an amazing group of people to work with, it’s also a testament to the disciplined way in which the current organizational practices were implemented and the importance that the leadership team attributes to organizational health. Spending a few weeks “on the market” in this transition period made me really appreciate how rare this attitude is among the prospective companies that I’ve interacted with during this period, and how essential an ingredient it is to my ability to contribute and add value in the organization that I’m going to be part of.

I am off to starting a new chapter in my professional (and personal) adventure. Can’t wait to see what new experiences and learning opportunities it will unlock!

Goodbye AltSchool, Hello Grammarly!

“Breaking them in” or “Revealing their best” [Cable, Gino & Staats]

Every company reaches a stage, usually very early on in its life as an organization, when it realizes that setting up a new employee up for success doesn’t stop with hiring the right people and then just letting them “figure it out.”

Usually, the next employee touch-point that gets thoroughly thought out and designed is the employee’s first few weeks on the job, often referred to as “onboarding.”

Typical onboarding aims to ramp up new employees as quickly as possible on “how we do things around here” and making them feel “part of the team,” so they have a solid operational and relational understanding of how to get work done in the new company.

An interesting paper by Daniel Cable, Francesca Gino, and Brad Staats suggests that often a powerful positive component is being left out of that experience:

Breaking them in or revealing their best? Reframing socialization around a newcomer self-expression.

In their paper, they argue that “helping employees frame their new role and its necessary tasks as opportunities to use their signature strengths and unique perspectives at work, thereby bringing more of their authentic best selves to the job.” leads to a more positive attitude, improved performance and stronger retention.

They present a field study and a lab study to support their conclusions. The field study in particular is quite impressive.

The authors partnered with a large Indian call center company to run the study and measure its result on the participants’ on-the-job performance and duration of retention. Different onboarding cohorts were given one of three treatments:

  1. Control group — standard onboarding focused on skills training and general company awareness.
  2. Individual-identity group
  3. Organization-identity group

Both individual and organization identity treatments consisted of augmenting with standard onboarding by adding a 1-hour presentation during the first day of onboarding, giving participants two fleece sweatshirts and a badge.

In the individual-identity group, participants were given sweatshirts and badges with their names on them, and the presentation consisted of:

  • 15 min discussion on how working at the company would provide
    each new agent the opportunity to express himself or herself and generate individual opportunities.
  • 15 min to individually complete an exercise that would permit self-reflection in the next part of the orientation session.
  • 15 min thinking about how the decisions they had made in the exercise may have compared with other people‘s responses and answering a few reflection questions.
  • 15 min introducing their best selves to their future work group.
    and discussing their answers and the approach they took to solving the exercise.

In the organization-identity group, participants were given sweatshirts and badges with the company logo on them, and the presentation consisted of:

  •  15 min discussing the company’s values and why it is an outstanding
  • 15 min discussing the company values and why it is an outstanding
  • 15 min individually answering reflection questions on the information they just heard about the company
  • 15 min discussing their answers as a group.

The statistically significant results were quite impressive: participants in both the organization-identity and control groups were more likely to leave the company, compared to those in the individual-identity condition. The odds of turnover increased x2.5 in the organizational-identify and x1.5 in the control group, compared to the individual-identity group.

The work done by the authors suggests that augmenting/tweaking “traditional” onboarding programs, by adding a relatively small “best self” component, can have an outsized positive impact on employees’ tenure at the company.

“Breaking them in” or “Revealing their best” [Cable, Gino & Staats]