Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A Pocket of Greatness (or is it, weirdness?)

Ray Jutkins is one of those weird and crazy marketing guys that make all of us linear-thinking folks look really bad. He challenges us to think – to be weird – different. In one of his articles from 2002, he talks about this weirdness and how we need to embrace it to become more like those folks Jim Collins references in his book Good to Great.

Collins shares several stories of turn-around-artists ... those weird folks who make a company going bad, good again. His example of David Maxwell and Fannie Mae - although nearly two decades old - is a classic.

Maxwell became CEO at a time FM was losing a million dollars a day. When asked by the board "what" he was going to do to fix it, he replied;

"That's the wrong first question. To decide where to drive the bus before you have the right people on the bus, AND the wrong people off the bus, is absolutely the wrong approach."

Maxwell was talking who. And soon Fannie was earning $4 million dollars a day.

Why? Because it’s the who in the organization that impacts change. And bringing this down to reality…we are the who that are recruiting the who that will impact change. It’s about people, people.

Another success story is Wells Fargo Bank. Jutkins played a part in their transformation to something better.

When the Bank decided to ever so slowly, yet ever so surely, become a truly big player in the western USA, one of the requirements was that branch managers get active. Go into the community. Meet customers. Seek new business. Follow-up current customers for more. Get seen and be heard. Become extroverts ... no longer the introverted manager that was so prevalent in finance.

Hitting close to home yet, recruiters?

This is what Steve Levy (Principal, outside-the-box Consulting) referred to today on when he said,
“Leaders build relationships, Amateurs send emails and make phone calls.”

Oh, yeah, back to Wells worked. Because somewhere around 20% of the managers left, to be replaced by the new breed (which wasn't the direction for status quo). The incumbents were cut from old cloth - and the new focus was weird…it WAS weird! The focus came off the bank and went onto the customers. It WAS different. Unusual. And unique for its' day. And . . . it worked!

Collins says;

"So long as we can choose the people we want to put on our minibus, each of us can create
a pocket of greatness.
Each of us can take our own area of work and influence and can concentrate on moving it from good to great. It doesn't really matter whether all the
CEOs get it. It only matters that you and I do."

So, recruiters (Investment Bankers) - there are challenges to being creative. I contend that if you are in a box - it's a box you built. So unbuild it! Get out. Be weird. If you just don’t have it in you to break out, call Steve Levy (outside-the-box Consulting), or send him an email:

Go ahead, recruiters - be weird – become a pocket of greatness. That's where the world's most ingenious ideas come from.

Mucho thanks to Ray Jutkins – and his weirdness.
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1 comment:

Dennis Smith said...

That's what I like about you, Jason - you are always thinking, and that kind of thinking pushes us to be creative...weird, if you will.