Last Friday I asked for some time with one of my region's (NC, SC, VA) top executive recruiting firm principals. Late on a Friday afternoon it seems that the TGIF mentality starts moving in like a storm front through the highly productive offices across the nation's different time zones. This hour conversation helped me understand some things about Friday afternoons. It helped me understand a few things that core clients and alumni of Career Pro Inc. emphasize to me as they are in or as they go through career transition.
What matters most to you in this work life? I don't know your specific situation but I think what matters most to me now, after 20 years in business, has to be relationships. Unfortunately I think most of us, trained by the well-meaning teachers we have had, focus on Return On Investments.
Because I worked on the relationship with this executive recruiter I gained so much, including:
1. New Ways to Search Out Recruiters for Client Introductions (traditional search engines are not the way!)
2. How Recruiters Respond to Emails When They Are Busy (they are always busy or should be)
3. Why Some Candidates Get Hired and Why Some Don't (most candidates think they know the reason but often don't)
4. Why It's Not Worth the Time for Recruiters to Educate and Teach Everyone (they would lose valuable relationships with their key constituents by doing this too much)
5. Several Keys to Helping Clients Move Properly Through the Search Process (from their intensive case studies)
So I "invested" the better part of an hour with this executive recruiter. Was it worth my time? Yes. But why was it worth her time?
Here is why the meeting was productive:
1. It Was Based on Mutual Benefits (I found out five areas I could help them with)
2. I Wrote An Agenda (I showed respect for their time)
3. I Stuck With the Agenda (I let her walk through and interact with me about the details)
4. I Researched and Provided Business Value (I knew my points would resonate and I knew she wanted to improve their business)
5. I Committed to Serving Her Company Without Compensation (I gave without expecting a return)
But what was my real goal? My goal focused on building a relationship better, deeper and adding more trust. How will both of us benefit and how will that relationship go in the future? I don't know but I can tell you this person and her business trusts me and my company more. I expect that by focusing more on relationship building I sewed seeds that will continue to grow. How these seeds will grow depends on the next conversation, the next referral and the next meetings. But I know we both gain by knowing each other and helping each other.
In a very cold, clean way business is about buying something of value and expecting a return. If you are buying a microwave you expect it to work like a microwave, safely, effectively. But when you want long-term value that can pay greater dividends over time focus on the return on relationship investments.
Remember that you may work with numbers as an accountant or sell things as a sales representative but what matters most in this business and career life? I contend that you make a bigger impact when two parties agree to focus on building trust, helping each other and try to work on a long-term give and take relationship vs. a transaction. This is especially hard to do when you need "a fix" to your job search, your marriage, your job, your boss or your friend. But finding out the win-win benefit, long-term, in any relationship matters most.