Once we had our A Player executive team in place, we moved through the rest of the organization, replacing a team of mostly Cs with As. That ended up requiring a 100% turnover on our Sales team to accomplish. Now we’re beginning to see some amazing results and are on track to become one of the top 10 players in physician staffing in the next 2 to 3 years.

- Jamal Pilger, COO

Company: OnyxMD

No. of Employees: 30

Industry: Physician Recruitment


  • Improved from 10% to 90% of people hired in the total company turned out to be A Players/A Potential with Topgrading.
  • 100% turnover prior to Topgrading; 0% this year.
  • Company success in early stages had come from recruiting 90% As from Networks.

“Although challenging at times, the Topgrading process has been essential to our success.  The Topgrading principles helped us to quickly identify that significant personnel changes were necessary to correct a negative trend in our business.  By hiring the best in our industry, we have been able to establish the foundation required to stabilize and accelerate company growth through high performing teams.”
—Dr. Robert Moghim, CEO

Company History: Onyx M.D. is a physican staffing firm with 30 employees, based in Denver, CO and Dallas, TX.

Topgrading Methods: CEO Dr. Robert Moghim is an avid reader of best practices, and asked his leadership team to read Topgrading in 2009.  Why?

With production and company culture going in the wrong direction, Dr. Moghim recognized that his company was made up of largely C Players. The organization culture was flawed and the chance of becoming a premier physician staffing firm was remote.

The team planned an aggressive Topgrading rollout.  In 2010 Onyx M.D. saw almost 100% turnover in efforts to replace C/B Players with A Players; the executive team anticipated that there would be turmoil and frustrations during this time but remained committed to implementing Topgrading principles whenever possible. This resulted in a significant increase in the number of A Players, which in turn enabled the company to grow.

2011 was a year of stabilization. Onyx M.D.’s main objective is to become one of the nation’s premier (top 10) physician staffing firms.

This young, entrepreneurial company has deliberately hired from within the industry to build a foundation of experienced professionals who can then train and influence future hires. As such, 80%+ of the A Players hired came through referrals from A Players in the company.

“The organization culture is so strong and positive, A Players set the tone and B Players are under strong peer pressure to move up or out.  Topgrading Interviews and other Topgrading methods are expected to be widely used starting in 2012, when we will go after talent outside the industry.”
—Monty McKentry, VP Sales

Topgrading Results:  From an estimated 10% of people hired turning out to be A Players, the company in 2011 has 90%.

Business Results:

Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Year 6
Revenue       304,467 5,994,480 7,204,842 9,954,046 9,717,668 10,909,045

“During the time when the leadership recognized a dire situation with company personnel that required immediate attention, our CEO laid out a vision for Onyx M.D. to become a Top-10 competitor in our industry within 5 years.  Over time, the implementation of the Topgrading principles has empirically shown our relative improvement towards reaching our Vision.  Specifically, there are two measures that have demonstrated this.  We looked at the relative change in revenue in the year immediately preceding the implementation of Topgrading and the transition year immediately following the implementation.  Having almost turned over our Sales force by 100% in the 12 months immediately following implementation, we still grew revenues by 12.3%!  Another measure we looked at was the growth in individual client accounts when A Players replaced the chronic B and/or C Players.  Specifically, we looked at the average monthly revenue for a particular client in the 6-month period preceding the change in personnel and the 6-month period following the change in personnel.  The average monthly revenue increased by 193% in this short-time in large part due to the people touching the account.”
—Jim Chandler, CFO

Best Advice for Would-be Topgraders:

  1. As with anything else worth doing in life, Topgrading is worth it to your organization, regardless of the pain necessary to get started.
  2. Never let the personal gain of an individual stand in the way of the success of the overall organization.  In the end everybody pays the price.
  3. Foster a company culture where members of the team hold each other mutually accountable for the team’s results.
  4. Peer pressure to perform is a powerful motivator.  Dr. Moghim describes it as a “peer pressure barometer."  When the barometer is high, A Players initiate the Topgrading process, not necessarily the leaders.  This in turn creates an environment of accountability, which ultimately eliminates sub-par performance through culture alone. 
  5. Instill a set of core values that will drive your organization.  In our case: enthusiasm, loyalty, integrity, teamwork/trust and ethics (ELITE).

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