I continue to be amazed at the arrogance of some (well-known) search firms when they have an opportunity to be involved in competing for a new client and a new search.The old adage that just showing up is half the battle (apparently) still holds true. One might think that given the market dynamics of the past 24-30 months that having the chance to compete for a senior level search would bring out the best in some of the most respected search firms in the country. Sorry.
Actually, I’m (very) happy to report that some high-end search consultants still maintain an elitist attitude about their value equation. I mean really… I guess they think potential clients should feel blessed (and honored) that they would consider engaging in a retained search assignment for their company. Why show up and spend any cycles at a shoot-out? After all, they know the firm well and so does the rest of America. Why bother? To stoop so low to travel and waste a day to compete for a senior level role should not be required. “Let’s just chat by phone” to discuss the search was the answer. Forget about building a long term relationship with the CEO the senior management team and have a chance to learn more about the company and its culture. Sorry (again) but I really don’t get it.
Perhaps the no-show has not had the chance to read a newspaper or has any clue on what has happened to the search industry since 2008. That’s unfortunate. Very unfortunate. You see – that sort of arrogance is not forgotten. Oh no. When the company doubles or triples its sales over the next few years (and they will) they may need help in scaling their team to handle the growth. Guess what? They will probably turn to their trusted partner to help them with their human capital needs. That’s how the relationship works. Got it?
While some just “don’t get it” others do. I don’t care about counting search assignments in any given month, quarter or year. It’s not a metric that matters long term. What matters most to me are developing deep meaningful relationships with clients that value our service and what we bring to the table. These relationships drive multiple opportunities year after year if we perform. It’s not about being transactional – it’s about the relationship. That’s what matters.
It all begins by showing up.
Tim Tolan is a partner at Sanford Rose Associates and specializes in Executive Search in Healthcare IT. He’s a closer, and you really don’t want to call him unless you’re ready to bring out the bazooka to bag some big game. When I started Fistful, I checked four references on Tim – his wife, his kids, his pastor and a client. The references were great, even if it sounded like they were reading from a sheet of paper. I just chalked that up to them being “detail oriented” in their feedback….