Friday, November 24, 2006

You're Going to Need a Bigger Boat!

In my business growth consulting and executive search work, I sometimes come across a need to translate a given situation, problem, or opportunity into a discussion about adding to the organization the "tools" required to "get the job done right".

....And often the dialog starts with a fight for the status quo followed by a "negotiation" to accept the need for an investment in time, capital, and/or commitment to put an appropriate, but new strategy, tactic, or skilled professional into play.

Then, I find myself invoking a "work smarter, not harder" rant followed by the "horses for courses" diatribe, as I try to explain why more of the same will "sink success".

Is it a reticence to change? The comfort of old habits? A reluctance to spend? A disconnect between the goal and the reality needed to get there? My Joe Pesce "I amuse you?" delivery style?

Regardless of the reason........

If you need a bigger boat......You need a bigger boat!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Watching TV Commercials

I am not a TiVo owner. So, I don't have intimate knowledge of the experience. But, as a marketing professional all I hear about from my ad/marcom peers is their fear of viewers opting out of watching their hallowed commercials.

Cut to viewing some videos of Japanese TV shows.

.....and here I am actually waiting for and watching the commercials. Nobody is fast forwarding the tape. Why?

Curiosity and creativity. Most TVCF's [as they are called in Japan] are entertaining, informative [Japan loves their "feature/benefit" visuals], and possess a storyline mystery of what will come next.

So, maybe the TiVo threat is best countered with commercial creativity and editorial intelligence. "Incent" the viewer to want to watch.

.....And then you can get the product placements out of the show content and let me enjoy my TV viewing time, again!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Executive Search, Goodfellas-Style

I've spent the past few years in the world of executive search.

..........equal amounts of time with job hunters AND corporate/agency hiring managers.

What I see and hear from both sides reminds me of the classic Mafia line- "This is the business we have chosen."

Everyone seems a little resigned to the reality, but accepts the situation as something that must get done.

No job hunter likes being involved in the process and they fear the risk that each interview could feel like Michael's spaghetti house meeting [Thank God, they never really end that way!].

Hiring managers often approach candidates with the same mindset that Don Corleone takes going into a "sitdown".....a "what's in it for me?" selfishness and a healthy dose of "what's your angle, you piece of baccala?" skepticism. eg- Me first, no trust.

Add in the "consiglieri factor" called an executive recruiter and everyone starts to envision the horsehead scene from Godfather 1.

Candidates wonder if they are the horse. Hiring managers wonder if they are the film producer being coerced. Pressure and suspicion abound.

How to avoid it all?

Candidates- "Keep your friends, close and your enemies closer." Keep your head up all the time. Tell the truth, but never let others in on the "family business", just stick to the hiring facts. Trust no one. Trust yourself.

Hiring Managers- Pick your team, as if you are picking your "crew"- look for core values, loyalty, commitment. Treat everyone with respect. You learn more about the candidate being nice and letting them talk vs intimidating them into the answers you want to hear.

...and please use your imagination.

Don't be so literal with the job spec and your needs. Bugsy never would have dreamed up Vegas if all he was thinking about was bootlegging and loansharking.

Executive Recruiters- Be a good soldier, do your job well, be loyal to your "Godfather" [client] needs. But.....respectfully stand up for your point of view. They hired you as an expert, not some "resume bagboy".

...and be nice. Don't be too arrogant on behalf of your client. Don't project a "know it all" attitude. Listen for signals. That's why Tony is still around and Johnny "Sack" is in jail.

Do these things, my friend. Otherwise, you will all eventually end up like every Pesci character in every Scorcese mob movie......

Pissing the wrong guy off, making enemies, and everyone wishing that you inherit a hole in the ground all your own.

"Leave the gun, take the cannolis."