Category Archives: success

You can be Heroes


It was time to shine… My AWESOME team clicked into gear. Challenge? Ha! I repeat HA! I laugh in the face of a challenge.. to quote an amazing bit of American cinematography.. (you pick if I’m being sarcastic or not!) “Bring it ON!” It was amazing to watch. A sleeping giant awakening, ahh the buzz, I’m smiling at the remembered vision.

ACTIVITY! ACTIVITY! ACTIVITY! I swear smoke was coming up from the phones, creativity oozing from the pores…. At the end of the day, the team was able to look at each other… They’d found the unfindable, solved that business problem, influenced the immovable force to change course, pulled the rabbit out of the hat and solved that business issue. Oh I love it.. the sweet sweet taste of victory.

This is what we do. This is why we do it. Recruitment makes a difference, and I love the days where what I know to be true is seriously quantifiable and visible to all.

Is "SORRY" really the hardest word?

I love my football, I love my Carlton Football Club, and my mood on the days they play, effectively mirrors the way the team plays. I understand it is a game, but it is a release, an escape if you will. It is a great leveler, CEO’s and Parliamentarians and truck drivers and people without a job, pensioners and students are all the same. It doesn’t matter who you are, if you are personally invested (not so much financially) in some way. The ramifications of those 22 players (AFL team) has on your general state of mind (and voice) is amazing.

The highs you get from a victory, those devastating lows from a defeat, and the constant analysis of your team, where they are now v where they should be, is all consuming.

My team broke my heart this week. Its not like I’m not used to them losing.. however it was the way they lost that was disappointing. There was an obvious plan. It just didn’t work. Plain and simple. Bottom line my team got killed.

Understandably the team got criticised heavily from all corners. However, the coach responsibly said and not to quote but… “we got it wrong. The game plan didn’t work.”

Hopefully, they’ll learn from it and get better from here.

How many of us are strong enough to draw the line in the sand when things aren’t working out. Stand up to your critics (internal and external) and say.. “Yep, that was my mistake. It was a bad call. We tried but it didn’t work. We’ll learn from it, put some more plans in place and continue to get better!”

Admitting to a mistake is the ideal time to make some changes, to gain buy in, and to deliver something. The buy in is normally there because when you make a mistake in the Recruitment world, it has business impacts and the business will want to help you achieve results to help them achieve.

I was once at a Management weekend away, and somehow got myself in the spotlight. It became obvious to all that the theme for the first day was “How Recruitment is ruining our business!” FUN! as I was the only Recruitment person in the room. It was a tough day, the toughest one in my career actually.

Turning up the next day, dragging my sorry behind to the first session, felt like a death march to me, I couldn’t be late, but I couldn’t seem to make myself walk forward. One of the Directors at the time sidled up next to me and asked me how I was doing?

“Honestly? I feel really really bad” Said I
“Really? why? drink too much last night?”
“Nope, yesterday felt like a whole day just attacking me, and I’m not sure how today is going to go.”
“Well”, said the Director “The bad news is that you were right. However the good news is that you were right! If the Executive didn’t think you had what it took to deliver, quite simply you wouldn’t be here. You have the opportunity now to implement all those plans we’ve spoken about, to give solutions. They want you to achieve, you just need to now tell them how you are going to. They will afford you the tools and resources. now you can do it.”

I have to say one of the more powerful little walks I’ve ever had. Liberating if you will, and it turned into a really high level of activity and success for the Recruitment team and the business.

I had to stand up and say essentially OK, what we have been doing isn’t working. As the Manager, I’ll accept responsibility and this is how we solve it.

I’ve heard a lot, people saying don’t apologise, it shows weakness. I really don’t agree, I think it shows strength. It is easy to deflect blame and raise your hands saying.. “it wasn’t me, not my fault etc”, it is way tougher, to stand up straight, hold your head high and say “Yeah, it was a mistake, my mistake. I’m sorry it happened, we’ll rectify this, learn from it and move ahead.”

Is apologising a sign of weakness? Admitting fault or blame a limiting thing for your career?

When is THE time? Building your career

I remember growing up wanting to be like my heroes on the sporting field, I wanted to play AFL footy for Carlton, and of course play cricket for Australia, unfortunately I learned quite early I lacked one important ingredient to be successful in these fields.. Talent.

There was always hope though of course growing up, if I could practice that little bit more, do something more like the my heroes did, I’d copy all the techniques in a desperate attempt to glean the gold which will give me that talent… nothing worked..

But there was still hope. Even when I got a little older and things became a little more real for me, people my age were getting drafted into teams, even those great ones, starting to play for these teams. I was really amazed when someone my age got chosen for one of these teams… any moment, they’ll recognise my (well) hidden talent and I’ll be on my way for a great sporting career. It never happened.

Now I find myself in the bizarre situation where people my age are being labelled as too old to play, have started retiring from these competitions,way past their prime from a sporting sense. That’s confronting…. too old? seriously? me? My chances of getting drafted to Carlton or being called up to the Australian Cricket team are officially over. No need to keep the mobile phone fully charged, I’m starting to realise the call just won’t come.

I have finally come to terms with this, however something else hit me (apart from my wife for having such silly thoughts) When is my prime? These guys are apparently past it in their chosen fields, when do you hit your prime in a professional sense? Am I already passed it? If not when will I be there? How will I know it when I am there? or is it something you look back on fondly, saying “I remember when I knew everything”

I heard someone say once I’m tool old to know everything like I did when I was 20.

Is the timing, that in your 20s your learning your craft, in your 30s your really establishing yourself, in your 40s you can start milking it, in you 50s are set, 60s you can retire and play more golf!

From that, by your 40s you should be in your professional prime. In this time of Baby Boomers moving on, and Gen Y’s getting a bigger part of the professional pie, do these numbers hold. Or in reality are they just numbers? Totally irrelevent in real life.

Gee I hope I haven’t passed my prime, I’m still learning so much and having so much fun learning it (and I still have half my house to pay off). However, I’m also at the stage where I am starting to impart my “knowledge” on other people (whether they want it or not) and some grey is coming in, more visible when no product in my hair apparently. I’m still mimicing my heroes, but from my chosen profession now (see my JD (Jason Davis) wannabe hat photo, no I’m not telling you where it is)

I’d love some input from people…

If you are passed your prime, when was it?

If you haven’t hit it yet, when do you think it will be?

If you are in your prime, how do you know?

PART V: Happy Feet; the success of standing out!

I was reading this enjoyable penguin tale (yes I have the kids book and the DVD) and it reminded me of a tough economy and how to succeed.

Let me break it down for you….

Our Hero Mumble is the embodiment of what (I think) it takes to succeed in the current world.

Our little hero was a little “different”. He was born into a world struggling with a poor economy… there was not enough fish to go around, the area was fished out, and Mumble stood out in his community for all the “wrong” reasons. In a world of singers, he was a dancer! He was shunned for his beliefs (“it just ain’t penguin”), for his passion, and shouldered the blame everyone placed upon him for his beliefs’ bringing this famine amongst them.

Mumble took this rejection on board, he tried to assimilate, yet struggled to find his core niche. So he set off on a journey of self discovery (OK he was made redundant… .sorry, banished, he was banished, definitely banished), with the goal of solving the problem.

On this journey he continued to learn. He was attacked by strange beasts (angry CEO’s taking a pay cut?) found a community that embraced him (for me that would be community 2.0.. ie RBC, Twitter and more recently Recruitment 2.0 Asia Pacific).
This community enabled him to find an idol, (Lovelace) someone who knew all the solutions, and would share that information for the sum of a pebble. (how many websites promise to make you a millionaire for a simple fee?) (Please note, not for one second am I suggesting these sites are the breeding grounds for false idols, lots of “marketing Web 2.0 guru’s”, but not false idols)

After being embraced by this community, our hero felt he had to go out on his own, he needed to rely only on himself to solve this problem. (look at the new businesses which started up in the last 3 years)

He found even more challenges in this, he was lost, lonely and eventually out of hope. He was found and “saved” in the middle of nowhere. Unfortunately he was repatriated in a mind numbing, soul draining environment, vanilla environment. He lost himself here, just going through the motions and surviving, day in day out (Look at all those businesses which have been sold or bought during the last year!)

(I think we are currently at this point in the market)

Eventually, Mumble our hero, found himself again. His individualism started bubbling to the top in an irresistible manner, until it flowed uncontrollably from every part of his body. Yes he was dancing again! He was publicly displaying his unique value proposition, AND PEOPLE WERE TAKING NOTICE! People were “buying it”. Momentum was building.

The world was taking notice. The world was buying. The world did something! The world gave him what he needed. They took him home, colluded with each other to stop the fishing in the area (thus ending the famine) and our hero, became everyone’s! His individuality, his unique selling point, his value proposition had made him a success. He stood out in a sea of same, our hero STOOD OUT and became successful.

P.S, there may have been a love story running parallel to this, but seemingly unimportant to my tale, so I left it out