Podcast Episode 044 – Interview with Alec Broadfoot


In this episode of the Business Broken to Smokin’ Podcast:
Lodestone True North’s Head Coach Mark Whitmore interviews Alec Broadfoot, CEO of VisionSpark https://visionsparksearch.com/
They discuss Alec’s new book, “Revealed! Insider Secrets To Hiring Your #2 Leader” https://visionsparksearch.com/alecs-book/ , finding second in command folks, interviews, business operating systems and a whole lot more!

0:00 Intro
1:22 Shoutout to Sal Filardi

1:31 Book reference: Horse Soldiers by Doug Stanton
2:01 What is Second In Command? – “Someone who is going to run the business for the Visionary”
3:48 Where/when do you see an organization needing to hire Second in Command or C suite?
6:52 Does it work to bump up the office manager into Second in Command? Good question to ask: Can this person take my business to the next level?
8:29 Background information on VisionSpark  https://visionsparksearch.com/
12:59 How do you pitch hiring folks for companies?
13:45 What’s the difference with a recruiter and a search firm?
16:31 Tips for using a recruiter:

  • Ask what their success rate is
  • What is your guarantee? And what does it mean when I need to activate the guarantee?

17:29 Using assessments in the hiring process: success rate more than triples
17:43 Reference to University of Michigan study: The interview as a tool to predict someone’s future success is about 14% accurate. But when you use a high quality assessment the percentage goes up to 52%
18:03 Some examples of high quality assessments 

18:34 What about DISC? https://www.discprofile.com/what-is-disc/how-disc-works/
18:45 What the assessment does: it measures an individual’s core behavior.
20:16 What’s the most quirky or cool/different assessment? What’s one that you wouldn’t recommend?
Several that are really cool:

22:33 Talk about the difference between, cognitive, affective, and conative

  • Cognitive: measures mental, attention to detail, learning speed, vocabulary, memory recall, ability to retain information
  • Affective: measures your core personality behavior, organizational level, orientation towards process, energy level  
  • Conative: measures instinctive behavior

29:34 What assessments would you recommend to a company new to using them? Fairly easy to get their hands around?

  • VisionSpark
    • Start with complementary assessment for our listeners: Email [email protected] and mention this podcast!

34:05 Interviewing hacks

  • Pre-take an assessment
  • Have pre-written interview questions ahead of time
  • Have the same questions for each candidate at that level
  • Have a hiring process/playbook
  • Get specific examples in an interview
  • Have someone else in the room as an interview partner to take notes, so you don’t have to remember everything the interviewee says

36:24 “We have seen visionaries where their strength that makes them a great entrepreneur also is the kryptonite for them when hiring individuals.”
37:16 Quick and easy interview format:

  • Start with a closed-end question 
  • Tell me about a time when…
  • Ask questions about how to solve a difficult situation 

40:35 Hiring process:

  • Create a compelling position profile that attracts the right people
  • Look at resume to see if they have the qualifications to do the roll
  • Phone screener
  • Invite them to take an assessment
  • 90 minute interview (Phone or Zoom)
  • Have an interview day for the top 3 or so candidates 
  • Have them interview with 2 direct reports
  • Have them interview with their peers

43:09 VisionSpark Interview Day Form LINK HERE VisionSpark_Candidate Rating form

Evaluate these in 6 areas

  1. Resume
  2. Cultural fit
  3. Ability (past-focused: what do we know about their past)
  4. Aptitude (future-focused: what do we know about their cognitive or physical ability)
  5. Core values
  6. Character

47:57 Book reference – Ideal Team Player by Patrick Lencioni
49:01 During and interview make sure you’re listening, and don’t do all the talking. It’s a discovery process

51:35 Book reference – Topgrading by Brad Smart
52:36 The AAR Tool https://youtu.be/YScRIF5Pm-A
58:36 The average time of a mis-hire 278 hours

1:00:02 Alec’s new book “Revealed: Insider Secrets to Hiring Your #2”
1:07:36 How do you help people figure out their unique ability?
1:10:57 What talents are good for a visionary?
1:13:59 How do you start with a visionary?

  • Start with some questions:
  • If we’re having this conversation a year from today, what has to happen for this #2 leader to be a hero to you and your organization? What is your company like? What is your life like?

1:17:13 What is the suite of rolls for a Second in Command?
1:22:04 What does the Second in Command own?
1:27:22 What characteristics do you see in a great #2 Leader?

  • Strong mental aptitudes
  • Great at critical thinking and problem solving
  • Strategic thinking
  • Detail oriented
  • Organized
  • Process oriented
  • They love playbooks and have the ability to create and implement playbooks
  • They love people and realize that people are truly important to the organization, and they will coach and develop
  • Right people, right seats
  • Great communicators

1:30:20 What resources would you recommend for developing a future #2 Leader?
1:35:50 Sensitivity testing…
1:37:45 Why are visionaries not good at hiring in general, but especially when hiring people for their leadership team?

  • They hire from a pool of 1
  • Hiring based on resume, gut, or instinct
  • Not using objective tools
  • Having a process for interviewing 
  • Hiring someone they like instead of someone that is best for the business 

1:45:00 Book references:


  • Make the noise go away by Larry G. Linne 
  • Rocket Fuel by Gino Wickman
  • The second in command by Cameron Herold

1:49:46 Talking about core values
1:52:51 Pinnacle tool: Who wants to keep your job?

2:03:11 Book reference – The road less stupid by Keith J. Cunningham
2:09:55 What is so compelling about working with entrepreneurs?

Website: https://www.lodestonetruenorth.com
Website: https://www.bigeasydesk.com (The best co-working space in Northeast Ohio!)
LinkedIn Book Club Group: https://www.linkedin.com/groups/14158790/
LinkedIn Mark: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mark-whitmore-lodestone/
LinkedIn Lodestone: https://www.linkedin.com/company/lodestone-true-north
Lodestone Online Courses: https://lodestone.thinkific.com

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Mark Whitmore

Mark Whitmore

Mark Whitmore is the Head Coach and founder of Lodestone True North, a dynamic firm of experienced business coaches who help entrepreneurs and managers get to their Land of Awesome.

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