Pre-Socratic Greek philosopher Heraclitus famously said, “The only constant in life is change.” The year 2020 seems to have affirmed Heraclitus as the only constant that we are facing is a change from one societal challenge to the other. From a global pandemic to civil unrest and even murder hornets, this has been a year to remember and it’s not even halfway over yet. I am, however, going to challenge Heraclitus on the notion that change is the only constant. Navigating seasons of change has always required individuals to make meaningful connections in order to emerge through that change victorious. This has been a constant in history from the moment two hunter-gatherers decided to plant a vegetable and right up through today where we must rally together and face what tomorrow will bring. It is also true of your organization. With your permission, I’d like to borrow a few minutes of your time and start a conversation on finding the personal connections that your organization needs to navigate the future.
The Right People Will Rise to the Occasion
After a 20-plus year career in the United States Marine Corps, I realize just how spoiled I had become when it comes to finding the right people. In the Marines, we start off the recruitment process by letting America know that we are looking for a few good men. We do not hide the fact that your life may be required of you and to merely earn the title of United States Marine will require deep personal sacrifice. We then process them through three months of recruit training and instill them with a deep sense of pride in who they are and help them understand that they are part of a 245-year history of service. The end result is that when I asked a Marine to complete a challenging task, I knew that they would rise to the occasion.
Unfortunately, the corporate recruitment process does not have the ability to forge men and women in the same manner. The right people will still rise to the occasion, but a greater emphasis must be placed on finding the right people from the start. Time is money and when you make the wrong hire, particularly at the Executive or C-Suite level, you lose big. Beyond just finding the right candidate, we must be dedicated to matching the candidate with the right position. Look, Peyton Manning was a fantastic NFL quarterback, but I have a nagging suspicion that he would have made a quite terrible NFL lineman. The right people will rise to the occasion if they are in the right role.
Connecting File is More Than Just a Name
During the American Civil War, units would travel large distances on foot with the need to coordinate with one another before the advent of modern communications. Connecting one unit with another required a uniquely skilled individual who excelled in the ability to find the right path, the right route, and the right unit. That person was known as a Connecting File. Generals did not have time to pass on the message themselves as they had a bigger fight ahead of them. Yet, if they did not make the right connections with their fellow units, then disaster was almost certain.
Connecting File is more than a name. It is a purpose and mission that I take very seriously. I’ve been blessed to be able to continue to serve this nation’s defense by connecting defense contractors with elite talent. With one particular contractor, I’ve placed 15 of their less than 50-person workforce in key roles such as Cybersecurity Engineer, Imagery Analyst, and Systems Administrator. Friends, that’s over 30% of their entire workforce. They keep coming back to me because I understand what is on the line with these connections.
Now, the truth of the matter is the same deadly seriousness with which I take defense recruiting is how I approach all of my recruiting efforts. I’ve developed a healthy audience with the hospitality industry where I’ve placed General Managers, Executive Chefs, and more. With the same seriousness of purpose with which I led my Marines like their lives depended on it, I connect organizations with industry altering talent like their businesses depend on me getting it right. That’s because Connecting File is more than a name to me. It’s a mission.
Come back next week for the rest of my thoughts on navigating the current sea of change. In the meantime, you can connect with me now at firstname.lastname@example.org.