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The Workforce Doctor
Strategic Diagnostics

December 2015
Sandy McCormack

Sandy Cormack

Sandy Cormack isn’t a medical doctor, but as managing director of Strategic Diagnostics, he is astute at diagnosing what causes a business to struggle and prescribing a solution to the problem. Like a doctor, he uses tests to gather significant data, and his specialty is the workforce.

“I help businesses hire the right people, and I help develop their workforce,” Cormack says.

He started the business last May after retiring from a 27-year career at Aberdeen Proving Ground that included project management, strategic planning, organizational development and master planning.

“I use the same approach a doctor uses – I diagnose and treat,” he says. “I try to diagnose the root cause of whatever problem the business is experiencing, and, based on the results, I can provide a very targeted cure.” He’s so confident of his approach that he provides the diagnostic work for free.

StrategicLogoStrategic Diagnostics LLC
Sandy Cormack, Managing Director
• Hiring solutions
• Training in communication skills, customer service, emotional intelligence, sales, team performance and management
• Leadership development
• Business strategy development

Cormack tells businesses to look for four things in job candidates they probably don’t look for now:
• Temperament and Attitudes – how well does the candidate’s personality align with the needs of the job?
• Motivation – what motivates the candidate, and what motivations are required to perform the job?
• Emotional Intelligence (EI) – how well does the candidate understand their own emotions and the emotions of others, and how do they use this insight to manage themselves and their relationships?
• Coachability – does the candidate have capacity to improve and develop themselves based on feedback from supervisors, coaches and colleagues?

“I perform all of my diagnostic work on a complimentary basis,” he says. This gives him a chance to help potential clients understand the value of ‘treating’ the problem.

Like a doctor, Cormack sees the same ailments over and over, particularly when it comes to hiring.

“If they hire the right people, they’ll have that high-performing workforce – it’s like preventative medicine,” he says. “If a company has hiring problems, dig deeper – examine how they assess candidates. This is an area where many businesses lack insight.”

His cure includes developing benchmarks against which to assess a job applicant. He assesses the applicant’s behaviors, motivators and thinking attributes, then compares them to a benchmark for the ‘ideal’ candidate. He can then help craft a highly focused interview that reveals if the applicant will be a good fit for the job.

“This is my strength,” Cormack says. “We know exactly what to look for in a sales candidate. I’ve got similar benchmarks for sales management, customer service and administrative positions.”

Recently, he helped a local bank manager having trouble finding tellers with sales skills. After a short consultation, she was floored with the results.

“Through experiencing one of Sandy’s profiles and learning the role personality and motivation play in sales success, I gained a total new perspective on the kind of employee we were really looking for,” says the manager, who asked not to be named for this article. “I’m convinced these benchmarks can help us find the right tellers, customer service staff and managers.”

Cormack uses a similar approach for developing existing employees – assessing them against benchmarks – and he’s particularly adept at evaluating a sales force and finding solutions for underperforming employees.

“You craft a solution based on what you see,” he says.

One possible solution is moving the employee to a different position. An under-performing salesperson costs a business money. But firing and then replacing that employee is equally costly. An employee in the wrong position is a wasted asset – perhaps that sales associate really excels at taking care of people and would be more successful in a customer service role.

Cormack has presented on hiring failure for several business networking groups, where he allows participants to take one of his assessments. For a recent presentation, he assessed everyone’s motivators. Real estate sales associate Debra Rettberg was fascinated with the insight.

“After taking the assessment and reviewing it with Sandy afterwards, it made me understand the things that motivate me and how they drive my success,” she says. “And with that knowledge, I know it will help me moving forward in my career and life.”

For Rick Donovan, business development director for an office technology provider, the experience provided a ‘eureka’ moment and led him to request Sandy perform a complete assessment.

“By seeing the whole picture, I was able to confirm the things about myself I’ve suspected for years – things that make me approach my job so differently than others would. I now know that ‘being authentic to who I am’ is what makes me successful in my career, and that’s the thing I now look for in others.”

Although Sandy will work with any sized organization, he especially loves working with small business owners, helping them hire and then train the right people. “They don’t want to become experts in hiring or training – they just want someone to come in and advise them.” I95