Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wildcat I to Wildcat II Come In Please

Are you a trivia buff? If so, here's today's Six Figure Learnings trivia question:

In the 22 years that ExecuNet has been around, what topic gets members more ticked off than almost any other?

a. The world has too many Yankee fans?
b. Everything we like to eat is fattening?
c. I rarely hear back from recruiters?

Right, c. It's like things were vaporized.

The purpose of this post is not to condone the behavior but simply to report in the hope that while it may not make those who are angry any less angry but might help lower their blood pressure a little.

Some "learnings" for whatever they may be worth:

First, the fact that this frustration has been at or near the top of people’s PO'd lists for as long as it has probably suggests that it isn't going away any time soon.

Second, (and I know this is easy for me to say) while everyone takes it personally; don't. This isn't about you. I know it feels that way, but trust me, it isn't.

Life is too short and there are more important things to worry about other than wanting to send some recruiters to an Emily Post boot camp.

Third, while you may have been raised in one of those generations where it was considered simply common courtesy to acknowledge any sort of inquiry, based on the feedback we get from the real world it would seem that custom "went out", as they say, "with high button shoes."

Fourth, try to keep your eye on the prize which of course is to get yourself in front of the recruiter's client. You aren't contemplating going to work for the recruiter.

Fifth, the way things work these days is pretty simple. If there is an interest you will probably hear pretty quickly and if there isn't, silence is definitely the norm.

Lastly, the recruiting industry is no different than most others in terms of the spectrum of quality and professionalism. And as any of us would do, we compile our lists of who we trust and feel are the quality players and when we have a need, we act accordingly.

So with the foregoing in mind, when this is over and you find yourself once again into 12 hour days not including Blackberry time, just make sure you don't lose that short list you are carrying around so that when it comes time to add to your staff and you feel you feel you need the help of a recruiting professioinal, you don't have to get mad you can just get even.

It's a great feeling.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Humble Hound

I know there are lots (i.e. millions) around the country who think that the New York Times is so liberal that when you even mention the name Bill O'Reilly breaks out in hives, but that is not what this post is about nor is this about trying to make a case for the Times in general.

It is, however, to suggest that anyone who either doesn't have the time to get their TV news from the News Hour or haven't got the time to read BusinessWeek, Fortune, Forbes or The Economist either in hard copy, on a Kindle or the new iPad that you stayed up all night to get, you might find reading the Op Ed columns in the Times very wothwhile.

It makes no difference what your political persuasion might be as they have a nice mix of both liberal and conservative viewpoints. More importantly, whether you agree with what folks like Paul Krugman, Tom Friedman, Gail Collins, Maureen Dowd, Frank Rich or David Brooks have to say, the writing is usually both provocative, not infrequently eye-opening and often very funny.

Not surprisingly these writers often are commenting on the issues of the day, but from time to time they also have some interesting perspectives on leadership, and it was a piece by David Brooks which he called The Humble Hound that caught my attention over coffee on a recent Sunday morning.

In short Brooks helps the reader to both think about and understand that the sterotypical vision most of us have in our heads of how leaders lead isn't the only game in town.

Living as we do in a time that seems to push everyone toward faster and faster responses, taking the time to think things through is not a bad way to go either.

Point being there is a fair amount of middle ground between intuitive instant knee-jerk reaction and "analysis paralysis."

Said differently, when it comes to leadership we sure don't live in a WYSIWYG world. All one need do is look at the turnover at the leadership levels across the corporate spectrum for all the data you need.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Global War for Talent

As this written, I no longer remember where I stumbled across the info that came out of a 2008 study by The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development and which placed the United States 18th among the 36 nations examined.

While I know 2008 seems like ancient history and in Twitter years probably qualifies as prehistoric, but even way back then there were folks concerned about where America stood from an educational perspective.

Indeed, even with data this old, if you were looking for a way to get back on your diet by losing your appetite in a hurry, you can read the entire article here.

I am guessing that most of us would have a tendency to say, that if the sky hasn't fallen by now, it's time to worry about something else like trying to figure out if the Eagles trade of McNabb to the Redskins was a good one, and if so for which team. (As a Giants fan, I'm worried about both.)

If you read some of the think pieces about our country's prospects for the future as a global player most don't exactly make you want to run out and bet the ranch on our educational system as the answer.

Certainly I realize that many of the articles that look at this stuff as very much half empty are done to, as they say, "sell papers" but the fact remains that even if things are not as dismal as they project, to say that we do not face major challenges is a huge understatement.

When one reads articles on how to fix all this, the Rx always seems to say we need to develop more collaboration between parents, teachers and school administrations. Rarely, or at least not often enough, there is little talk about the role that business leaders should play.

Sure there is a fair amount of financial support for scholarships, but in a sense it feels to me that by the time those are awarded, we have already lost hundreds of thousands of kids with equal or better potential because they have been destroyed by the system before they even had the chance to compete.

As to putting cost of education out of reach for most middle class families, there is plenty of fodder there for books much less blogs.

If business leaders hope to compete effectively on a global basis, then they best think about putting some of that R&D money into helping to figure out how to save the intellectual capital that is going to waste.

H-1 visas are not an answer, they simply mask the disease.