Measure twice, cut once: How to ensure your search is a success

Taken as a general sentiment from a cross-section of testimonials, it appears our clients genuinely appreciate how much time and energy we apply to getting to understand their business.

We apply a rigour to the briefing and pre-research process that is usually surprising and often quite daunting – insisting on quality time with all decision-influencers and stakeholders.  At the outset that’s something many a client has balked at.  It seems a lot.  It is a lot.

On a recent multi-stakeholder programme of work, this insistence on briefing rigour meant fourteen hours of individual meetings, and another handful writing up new role profiles and preparing the search plan and narrative for client approval.    You’d think just one or two would have done, surely?  Here’s why these hours matter:

Firstly – may I assume it’s collective wisdom that a good foundation is going to impact on the final result?   The right narrative, the ability to answer all of a prospective candidate’s questions and have a reasonably intelligent exchange about the opportunity.  My Grandfather’s mantra was “measure twice, cut once”.  It’s applicable to just about everything in life, including a search project.

Secondly, a good plan and set of mutual commitments and expectations (which don’t just happen) mean that, once the process is underway, you can trust that it’s in good hands and get on with all that other stuff related to running and building  a business that you do.  Clear reporting, transparency, and even a good sense for time commitments required and planned for both you and your team – weeks and even months ahead of the time, all contribute to your sense of ease.

Thirdly, and perhaps most importantly, the intensive engagement at the outset means we get to understand your business.  Beyond the fact that there’s a ‘vacant seat’, we need to understand your culture.  That’s all the inherent traits of your business that affect your collective behaviour.

How do you structure the business?  Who has decision rights, and how democratised or authoritarian are your decision-making approaches?  How agile are you?  What are your motivators as a collective?  How do you store, share and collaborate on business information?

In other words:  How you look and behave?   What’s the ‘smell of the place’?.

Make the time.  It’s your best investment in a superlative outcome.  An appointee who will not just survive, but thrive in your environment.

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