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Success is Simple

Monday, October 26, 2015   |  

Success is simple. Do what's right, the right way, at the right time.” - Arnold H. Glasgow

Success is, or at least can be, simple – provided, of course, that it is possible to adhere to the basic advice of this adage. Therein lies the challenge. After all, human beings are not omniscient nor even innately rational.

We are, however, capable of learning and applying principles of rationality to our judgment and decision-making, whether in our personal or professional lives. 

For instance, most of us have learned over the course of our lives (and would largely agree that):

Quality matters. As anyone whose bargain garment has split at the seams or disintegrated at first wash will agree, cost alone should not guide most decisions and the cheapest options are not always best; quality is a significant factor in determination of value, whether in the domain of products or services.

Specialization matters. When stakes are high and outcome is important, solutions and their providers are best customized to the situation. A patient requiring serious surgery, for instance, would not dream of entrusting the procedure to their General Practitioner but would be referred to or insist on seeking out the most experienced and/or best-equipped surgical specialists with the strongest track record in performance of the specific procedure. In such cases where the process is nuanced and the results are critical, it is widely recognized that one-size-fits-all or jack-of-all-trades solutions providers are rarely the best option.   

What is therefore remarkable, and what I have witnessed repeatedly over the last decade-plus in executive search, is that many individuals who appreciate these concepts in principle and apply them to most areas of their lives nonetheless systematically fail to translate and apply them in their place of work and in the boardroom when approaching critical decisions about procurement of the most valuable commodity to every organization: their people! 

What exactly am I referring to?

There are three core external recruitment categories, each of which offers a different service proposition to organizations, holds equal importance in the industry value chain, and represents a solution best suited to specific organizational requirements:

Executive Search. A retained executive search process is sensible in instances when an organization has recognized that the right individuals will most likely be inactive (not looking for a new company or role), and may furthermore see the value in research mapping to better understand the competitive landscape and talent pool. The client will want systematic updates around the progress and how (if not confidential) their brand is being received at market. This methodology is traditionally deployed for senior leadership, confidential, business-critical and niche appointments.

Recruitment Agencies. This is a success fee (contingent) model and these institutions will typically be adept at working with active candidates seeking a new role or employer. These agencies will be able to work on ad hoc appointments in a swift and thorough manner (far quicker than executive search firms) and will also be able to support clients speculatively (e.g., we might have a need if we find the right person). Recruitment Agencies are also arguably the most successful of the three categories outlined at servicing clients who have interim or temporary resourcing needs.

Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO). This solution best applies when a client sees value in intelligence, process mapping, management information, flexible scale, and specialist experience in delivering multi-hire or volume appointments. RPOs are successfully deployed in a number of mature markets. For example, 60% of banks in Europe, 50% of banks in North America and 30% of banks in APAC all have a third party delivering a third or more of their recruitment activity.

Understanding the logical distinctions between categories can empower organizations to rationally select the right types of solutions and providers to suit specific evolving organizational circumstances, thus greatly improving the chances of wholly satisfactory customer and partnership experiences.

So for all those institutions that are looking at manpower planning, strategic growth, executive restructuring, middle management, or ad-hoc appointments in the near future…

Remember:  Success is simple. Do what's right, the right way, at the right time.”