Who To Count On In 2020


Yes, I’m writing blogs now. Instead of just blowing you up to Recruit and/or Sell to you, this year I’m finally making our knowledge and overall perspective more readily available.  

It only took me 10+ years in Agency Recruiting to fully realize that although our current clients and candidates may appreciate the value we bring, to most everyone else I’m a complete fricken stranger.  

“I’m INMailing you cold from a small Recruiting firm you’ve never heard of in an overcrowded industry, you don’t want to meet with me? Miffed…I’m miffed.” 

(Now Onto The Actual Topic)

We all have our own personal and professional goals for the upcoming year, some of us are more into writing and planning them out than others.  What we don’t always fully plan for is how many of our professional goals are at least partly dependent on the performance of others.  

Everyone has a subconscious process for evaluating the credibility & reliability of people and businesses, but here are some things to keep in mind to be more intentional about who to rely on in 2020:

 Aligning Reliance with Importance  

Too often people and businesses working together underestimate the difference in stakes, and it causes friction.  If you’re relying heavily on someone to complete an involved task that’s crucial to your success, but they either don’t stand to gain much tangibly or intangibly, or don’t feel strongly inclined to come through for you on a personal level, you’re leaving a lot to chance.  

Similarly, it’s a good idea for companies to have regular conversations with their current and potential vendors to constantly evaluate how their business is being prioritized, and rely on their support accordingly.  While on some level every customer is important, the reality is every business prioritizes customers based on current and potential revenue (both short-term and long-term).  

Here, if we get an exclusive opening from a long-time client, we’ll obviously be all-hands-on-deck (which isn’t many hands for us, but still). If we know we’re competing with 5 other firms, we’ll be more measured.  However, if a newer client is clear and up-front about what we can do to edge-out our competitors and what a longer-term partnership might look like, we’re much more inclined to fight for that business…And that new client can rely more on our support.  

Who has the Skills? 

Working with those that have proven themselves capable is obvious, but consider taking a more thorough approach when evaluating who you’re partnering with in 2020. Who’s actually performing the work you need done, and do they personally have the necessary skills? 

Eliminating the ambiguity of who you’re relying on and whether they have the skills helps insure you’re at least starting from a place of strength and clarity. So often businesses have a sharp, experienced person as the face of the service, and a novice trying to deliver on it. Are you relying on a co-worker to perform tasks they excel at, or are they really handing it off to another team member? 

The more layers that exist between who you’re counting-on and who’s performing the actual work, the more careful you should be.

Who Do You Trust to Follow-Through? 

Aligning with people and business that have a track record of on-time follow-through is critical (especially to time-sensitive engagements).  We all have those people we work with that are tremendously skilled, but something always seems to unexpectedly pop-up.

When assessing whether you trust a person or business to follow through on time, consider:  

  1. Whether they have the bandwidth, and  
  2. Whether you trust that they have self-awareness and a firm-grasp on what their bandwidth really is.  

Things come-up in life and in business (it is what it is), but some have a better feel for what’s on their plate than others. Most people I work with have more on their plate than they can handle, but it’s those with self-awareness and a grasp on time-management that I know I can count-on. I’d much rather someone give themselves an extra 3-4 days to get something done (and account for unknown variables popping-up), than for them to make promises that rely on everything going right.  

Who Do You Like? 

It’s just a fact of life, we’d all rather partner with people we like (I know this is painfully obvious, I didn’t think anyone would still be reading this far down).  

Things can get dicey during crucial projects and initiatives, sometimes people’s jobs/reputations/earnings and the overall health of businesses are at stake…Things become very subjective.  You’re much more likely to take feedback, constructive criticism, and orders positively from someone you like on a personal level, than someone you don’t care for.

Often, success is dependent on how quickly you accept, adjust-to and pivot-from failure. In the time you wasted ignoring and/or fighting against the constructive feedback you received from a stakeholder you’d love to knee-cap, your project ran out of funding, your competition beat you, and your co-workers and clients no longer trust you (and now they really don’t like you).

Here’s to controlling what we can control in 2020, and at least making more intentional decisions regarding the things we can’t.


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