The 3 C’s of Character

At Broker Builder, we have crafted a framework to use as a template for both hiring and performance reviews. We call it: The 3 C’s of Character: Competence, Commitment, and Coachability.

In short, Competence is whether the candidate or employee meets the objective standards of the job. Commitment involves an individual’s willingness to work, their conscientiousness. And Coachable, is a reflection of are they willing to learn and can they handle feedback.

When used in recruiting, they act as subsequent hurdles or bars for a candidate to achieve. If they don’t pass the competence “test”, then there’s no point going to the next step. Even if they demonstrate basic competence, yet aren’t able to demonstrate commitment, then there’s little point of moving forward to evaluating coachability. These characteristics can also be used as stepping stones for performance reviews. A perfect score on Competence, doesn’t necessarily equate to a perfect performance review. One must be evaluated against Commitment and Coachability as well. Developing clarity as to what each of these mean for a given role/organization is the most important part of being able to use this framework effectively. 

Competence is the one we’re likely to be most familiar with. It can be thought of as the “boxes” that need to be checked off. Does the candidate meet the objective requirements of job description? The clearer the requirements, the more effective this step will be. This is as important with respect to performance reviews. Were the expectations of the employee clear for both employee and supervisor? Do both know what was needed to be done and can we see, objectively, whether these criteria were met or not?

Once we’re satisfied as to a demonstration of Competence, we can look to the next Character “C”. That is, Commitment. Is the candidate committed? How do we know? How can we assess based on their past experience? Short stints at multiple employers in their recent work history would be a red flag indicating trouble in this area. Whereas, a resume reflecting years in the same industry would be indicative of commitment to at least the industry, not necessarily their personal role. Did they show up to the interview early? Did they show up having done any research on your organization and/or the role being applied for? What kinds of questions are they asking during the interview? Are they asking about how they can improve themselves or progress within the company? Is this candidate someone who “will get the message to Garcia”. Google how to get the message to Garcia to learn more about the most desirable characteristic employers are looking for in their employees. Does candidate have evidence of demonstrating initiative? Can they work independently or will they need to be spoon fed work? Can we offer them a challenge, whether during an interview or as a take home assignment that would provide them with the opportunity to showcase this Character “C”? If we are comfortable with both their Competence and Commitment, we can move to the third Character “C”,

Finally, we can seek to assess their Coachability? This may be a bit difficult in an interview. What’s the last course/education they’ve done? Why was it done? Was it because work made them or did they choose it? What kind of hobbies are they in to? Why? Are they interested in getting better? What’s the last book they have read? Where do they see themselves one year, three years, and ten years down the road in their careers? Do they know what a growth mindset is? Have they heard of Carol Dweck’s work?

That’s it, the 3 C’s of Character – Competence, Commitment, and Coachability. It really is a rare breed that demonstrates all of these. These 3 variables do somewhat mirror business author Patrick Lencioni’s Ideal Team Player variables of Hungry, Humble, and Smart where Smart would be Competence, Hungry would be similar to Commitment, and Humble would be comparable to Coachability. We hope this framework is useful for your organization.