Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Ok, so I’m stealing a word from my favorite SNL episode where George Bush sums up his campaign in one word: STRATEGERY. But, you get the picture.

Most recruiters who fancy themselves strategic thinkers possess the following traits (at least some of these): Curiosity - Flexibility - Future Focus - Positive Outlook - Openness to New Ideas - Breadth of knowledge/interests.

What can you do today to increase your strategic-thinking skills?

Challenge your assumptions.
Never forget the infallible words of Ken Olsen, the founder and CEO of Digital Equipment Corporation, "There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in his home." Somebody at DEC should have challenged Mr. Olsen. Instead, they lost the opportunity to capitalize on the next biggest thing since sliced bread. Why? They were unwilling to change their assumptions about computers.

I recently talked with a successful VP of Marketing who was in the process of creating a new senior-level job in his organization. He was really excited because he’d just placed an ad on a “big” job board and couldn’t wait to see the resumes start pouring in (yes, he’s a Sr. VP). I inquired about the rest of his game plan and was informed that “this is it.”

Two days later…”My inbox can’t take it anymore! I’ve received 300+ resumes in two days and don’t have time to read through them….what do I do!”
He now has changed his assumption about recruiting. And, he’s a great candidate for Jobster.

Identify the critical factors that block or hinder greater performance, quality, or customer service.
What is preventing your team from achieving its potential? Which of these factors are considered to be “givens” (things the team believes will always exist)? Be aware that these givens are what your competitors will figure out how to change, so begin working on them “now.” Figure it out and attack it – fast.

Engage in “what-if” thinking.
“If we do this, what will our customers think and what will our next move be?”
Think through future implications and weigh the benefits and risks associated with your actions.

“You think you understand the situation, but what you don’t understand is that the situation just changed.” - Putnam Investments advertisement

Constantly look for new ideas and new approaches.
“Organizations can’t stop the world from changing. The best they can do is adapt. The smart ones change before they have to. The lucky ones manage to scramble and adjust when push comes to shove. The rest are losers, and they become history.” – New Work Habits for a Radically Changing World (Pritchett).

C’mon, it’s time we all engage in a bit of “strategery.” Like I always say, our customers deserve it, and it could impact your career, big-time. Just ask our President.

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