Meet Conrad Norman

Founder and Managing Partner of Global Peak Solutions

I’ve always been fascinated by people, and that’s probably what drew me to the Human Resources field. Over the past 35 years, I’ve handled HR, learning, and people development for The Home Depot USA, Sears Holding Corporation, the State of Georgia, and others. Along the way, I’ve paid close attention to the unique contributions, perspectives, interactions, and, yes, limitations of individuals in an organizational setting.

Those observations have taught me a lot. For example, throughout my experience in various industries, I’ve noticed that companies generally do a decent job with what I call ‘system issues’: processes, tasks, budgets, etc. But otherwise capable executives, managers and even H.R. professionals appear to struggle with ‘people issues’: hiring the right people for the right job, coaching and developing employees, limiting conflict, and retaining talent.

I couldn’t help but see that these difficulties took an enormous, ongoing toll on the organization as a whole. Not just in terms of workplace quality and efficiency, but also wear and tear on the players. Plus of course there was the very real financial impact resulting from bad hiring and promotion decisions.

Yet there remained a sense within most organizations that problematic ‘people issues’ were somehow normal and to be expected. In my heart, I didn’t buy it. I was working hard to develop effective talent management systems, to help nurture the growth of both employees and the business itself. Yet all around me, the overall driving force behind important personnel decisions seemed to be ‘gut instinct.’ This was further compromised by the decision maker’s personal tendencies as well as their blind spots. The eventual result? “Gee, I really thought they would work out…” I heard it all the time.

Then came a turning point. I began to explore the use of assessment tools for hiring and talent development. Almost to my surprise, I discovered that the most valid and reliable assessment instruments could reveal an astonishing range of consistent, in-depth and objective information and insights about people.

My new paradigm was put to the test when I suggested a compatibility assessment for a candidate who was being considered for an executive post. He came highly recommended, but the results of his compatibility assessment indicated that he simply would not be a good fit for that particular role and organizational culture. The hiring manager discounted those results because he really liked the candidate. You can probably guess the outcome: the new executive failed and left within a couple of months. And the hiring manager became a believer in assessments from that moment on.

Since that time, I’ve carefully experimented with a wide variety of assessment tools, rejecting the ones that were ineffective and poorly written. Those trial-and-error efforts finally led to my partnership with two of the largest, most respected and reliable assessment developers in the country, Profiles International and Birkman. After matching assessment results against eventual outcomes, time after time, I’ve developed a very high degree of confidence in these particular programs. And I’m far from being the only one.
Armed with these amazing tools, and the knowledge and insights acquired from my years in talent development and organizational effectiveness, I began Global Peak Solutions. Beyond helping to administer the tools themselves, my role is as a coach and advisor, helping organizations choose, adapt, and customize them to their own use, and to interpret the assessment results in a meaningful, actionable way.

I invite you to pick my brain about personnel issues that continue to make your job harder than it needs to be. Whether it’s with assessment solutions or just the helpful insights that I’ve acquired along the way, helping organizations grow stronger is what I love to do.

Conrad Norman is certified as a Senior Professional in Human Resources through the HR Certification Institute (HRCI), a Senior Certified Professional (SCP) through the Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM), and a Certified Professional in Talent Development (CPTD) through the Association of Talent Development (ATD). He resides in Atlanta, GA.

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