Wednesday, September 17, 2014

If Not Me, Then Who

This is a fabulous quote from a brave marine who lost his life defending freedom. I feel a bit uneasy commandeering it for purposes of a silly diary but as I started thinking through my day it struck me that without taking risk we cannot achieve greatness. Certainly Travis risked everything to achieve a greatness beyond himself and for that we all thank him. Even on an everyday level though we must be willing to take risk to excel.

I wrote yesterday of my approach changing the dialogue with a sales candidate and I believe I ended the posting fairly proud of myself as I believed he would end up joining our team. Unfortunately he chose to decline and I was left wondering how I had messed up.

Certainly I could have given in and rewritten our offer documents to accommodate this person but what then of the rest of the team who have signed on under the existing plan and trusted that there superiors would treat them fairly. I just couldn't do it. I got to the point where I veiling end there might be deeper issues with this candidate and I held firm to line I had drawn in my mind.

I'm very disappointed with the choice he made but as I analyze my performance looking for ways I could have made things work I end up at a place where I believe I was fair. I believe I was straight forward describing where I could bend and why could bend no further and ultimately I specifically asked the candidate to trust in me and himself to achieve as int he end that's all that would truly matter in determining his success. He was not willing to do that. There was too much risk.

While I have lost a lot of time and need to restart my recruiting process I am now confident that this is the right outcome. Without risk there is no reward and with certainty there is less potential for upside. I need upside and I need people that are will to take the risk that they can perform. So I move on to the next phase. I have one new person starting in about a week and I will begin again to recruit to add to the team. That's what I do.

And that makes de happy.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

I Need a New Song

It seems like an endless loop. Two lines of a song and I don't really know the words but they keep playing over and over. Don't you just hate that.

Yesterday was filled with negotiations concerning minor points in our offer documents to one of two sales reps I am trying to hire. I had been back and forth with him twice prior and each time he returned to his sister, a lawyer for further advice. Each time this resulted in further requested changes to the document. By yesterday I had had enough and actually, just due to the foreshadowing of the whole process almost rescinded the offer. But that was the old curmudgeon in me. So, as I often do I wrote out the scathing email and then read it back to myself. Did I really want to be that aggressive? Was I really trying to scare him off? What was it that I actually wanted to say that would be constructive and yet definitive concerning my positions? And, finally how could I tactically state that the negotiations were over.

I needed a new song, a new voice, or a new level of thoughtfulness to get my ideas on paper.

One very good tactic for communication in general is to put yourself in the place of they other person. My young candidate likely hadn't negotiated documents like this in the past and thus he just wanted what he wanted. He was bolstered by a very well meaning sister advising him on changes that would make the documents perfectly employee friendly. Don't I try to get the best for myself in negotiations? I was worried though that he was displaying an immaturity in his tactics that wouldn't serve him well as a sales rep for me and I was having second thoughts.

By combining his perspective and my worry I finally got to the voice I was looking for. My message on the negotiations ending was polite but definitive. I voiced my concern over the repeated retreading of negotiated points already decided and I offered him a polite and painless way to exit without hard feelings. I didn't pull the job but I made it clear that I was worried about the prospects of our long term relationship. I again made my positions clear, as much for his sister as for him and closed my note with a hope that he would meet me in the middle of a situation that was clearly imperfect for both parties and yet developed in an environment of trust. With little trust left in the world I felt that the game could be over but had to make that the cornerstone.

I will hear his ultimate decision today. I expect him to accept and did get a nice note from him in return later in the day. Perhaps I was able to change my tune just enough to find harmony here. I am hopeful.

And that makes me happy.