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Experience and technical knowledge are overrated. Sorry!

March 6, 2013

Experience, Technical knowledge and Sales Prowess are all overrated. Sorry!
The above are all “Me” oriented, and thus limiting.
Communication & Chemistry are “We” oriented.

The fact is most  Headhunters, recruiters  & internal talent acquisition experts understand this (I hope), but lack the intestinal fortitude to  explain this to hiring companies / managers.  They instead focus on experience & technical knowledge.  The whole interview process is skewed from the beginning & literally dooms companies to repeat the same mistakes over & over, that ultimately translate into lower employee satisfaction, increase turnover and  reduced productivity.

Come to think about it,  Most recruiting companies don’t get it or do they? They are burn & churn factories themselves. They quietly have among the highest level of employee turnover.  I guess they do practice what they preach after all.  I suppose that is what keeps these folks in business.  I’m not buying that sermon however! Don’t you wish more Recruiters, H/R managers & even CEO’s were required to watch Jerry Maquire once a month? (side note – of the 100+ recruiters I’ve met over time, I care to deal with only 5 of them.) 

Does your company have a Mission Statement or Vision clearly defined?  Do all your employees understand these ‘well thought out words’, OR are these just plaques on the wall?  Everyone needs to walk the talk, starting at the top.  Everyone must be “We oriented”.  Even the hunter /killer sales reps.  Get on the bus or get run over!

You have heard this and probably even said it… “My company is unique.” or “The product / service we provide is special.”
These might be true statements but do NOT get confused.  Products & Services are unique. but Business is Business.
While we each have an expertise,  I’ll take a good  ‘Business-person’  that has tangible results & knows how to get along, versus the experienced technical wiz…. any day.  I’d love to get the best of both worlds but that person is a rare find!

What do you pay per hour for the Xerox/HP / Ricoh repair person to fix your printers /copier?
What do you pay per hour for your Lawyer to draft a letter or provide response to a problem?
What does your Specialist / Doctor / Psychologist / Recruiter charge per visit?

What do all these uniquely skilled professionals have in common?   2 things –
1) They are taking your money.
2) They largely provide a ‘Tactical’ reactive service.
You always have a choice, but you are stuck paying someone.

That is a huge disadvantage to you.  Is this how you are hiring people for key positions too?

You need to be much more strategic.
The majority of my clients (I’m not a recruiter, I’m a Fractional CFO/COO), admittedly ‘initially’ come to me with a current or lingering problem with a Tactical solution in mind.
All too often, they are focused on the ‘effect’, but either don’t know or don’t want to address the ’cause’. 

I know a company that is looking to hire their 3rd CFO in less than a year.  Ouch! I bet they’re a model of efficiency. You think they are looking in the mirror at all?  Who’s job is it to help wake them up? It’s admittedly a tough job! Only 1 person has a lock on their job at that company & that’s the Director of H/R… human restrictions.  Totally tactical, putting out fires, more than likely either  A) too busy,  B) too afraid or C) clueless to push for a better process.  

John Wooden said it best : “If you do not have time to do it right, when will you find the time to do it over?”  Far too many companies repeat the same problem & turnover is a huge impact. Recruiters just love it!  The average  tenure for a  blah blah blah is 24-36 months…  Yah! I wonder why? You mixed & served the drinks – no duh!

Buzzword time:
Effect = Tactical, which equates to ‘Take a Tums to relieve your heartburn.’  You implicitly endorse masking the problem.
When you take the Tactical approach, you have a short term frame of mind & view the cost as an expense.

Cause = Strategic, RCA = Root Cause Analysis. “My cash flow stinks.”  There are probably 10 possible causes.
The immediate & wrong response is: “We need to be more diligent in making collection calls.
That by the way is Last on the list of needed improvements in 90% of the cases!
Let’s tactically address each one & Strategically put a few ‘simple’ processes in place to make sure it doesn’t slip again.
‘Strategic’ is a longer term focus. Cost is considered an investment.  Your frame of mind for your business is far wiser.

Do you own any Life insurance or Health insurance?  These are strategic purchases.
Big question here:  Do you take the other strategic steps associated with these wise investments to limit your reactive costs?
This is the problem!  Most people, owners, CEOs, and executives don’t.  They don’t make time.  Do you?

The same is true for your business.  You are constantly accepting so much reactive tactical costs, that hurt your top line, bottom line, cash flow, productivity & your time (your most valuable & coveted resource)!   “Time is the measure of business” (Francis Bacon Sr.)

The “Trust Tax” Payer, (a Low-Trust Leader /Company) – will use such service in a tactical manner, on a repeated basis.
These clients only call when they are in trouble, something is broke.  They are short term focused & all costs are expensed. They rarely  make investments in their business &  growth is a challenge in many directions/metrics. The norms are:  putting out fires, no time, and plenty of excuses. This applies to fixing a printer or taking far to long to find the right employee for the job because their focus is skewed.

The “Trust Dividend Earner” (High-Trust Leader / Company) – will retain services, trusting others to do what they do best, with high expectations.  These folks take a longer term view. They view such cost as an investment & better leverage their time &  skills where needed to maximize benefit. The High Trust Leader/ company will focus on chemistry & communication to make sure everyone understands the common direction / goals & makes sure everyone  buys in.
They will partner with employees/ vendors/ service providers to address & limit Tactical concerns by Strategically driving positive change thru out the organization
Payback is generally easily verified in multiple manners, from increased metrics, to cost elimination/ savings, increased employee & customer satisfaction.

Maybe there is more merit to  the axiom, “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”  While some people think that is unfair, there is a level if Trust required. So enough with  experience & technical skills,  stop thinking “ME”,  focus instead on  chemistry & communication.  Think “WE”! Trust your gut, & your people  to make it happen.  Driven folks get it done, learn faster, work harder & smarter when they are valued & trusted.

Continued Blessings!

Chris O’Connor

2 Comments leave one →
  1. March 6, 2013 8:37 PM

    Interesting perspective. I had a similar thought about management talent within companies. Why is it that we take the person who is best at their craft and automatically assume they should be promoted to management? In my experience the best “do-ers” rarely make the best manager/mentor. I’d like to start hiring great managers regardless of their past industry/discipline and have them learn the ropes of the business instead of learning how to be a manager and ruining good talent in the meantime.


  1. Experience overrated | Bill Bennett

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