(From 2012 but so true today) Watching Bradley Wiggins win the Tour de France this year got me thinking; how many people would have put money on him winning the Tour back when he was a track star? Would he have even thought it was possible back then? Now I like my cycling but I'm no guru but to put it into perspective; it wouldn't be a million miles away from Usain Bolt deciding to compete in the 800m or Paul Radcliffe entering the 400m hurdles. Indeed, you'd definitely bet against it!
So Bradley Wiggins achieved it and congratulations to him but what's my point. Well there are plenty of similarities between sport and business. You only need to look at the effect Clive Woodward had on the World Cup winning England rugby team to realise that sport can learn from business and vice versa.
Clive, after representing his country in rugby, came from a successful career in business and applied a lot of the skills he learned whilst winning and losing in a commercial environment to sport. Recruitment, planning, coaching, skill development, teamwork, goal setting, analysis, innovation, motivation - the list goes on.
Sorry I'm digressing - my point is; how many companies at the moment are recruiting a Bradley Wiggins? Someone who has all the attributes & attitude needed to excel, but not necessarily all the experience. Or are companies looking for a square peg to fit a square hole?
Well from my experience I tend to find that the companies who are growing and expanding tend to think more laterally when recruiting. They focus more on success, potential, calibre and cultural fit and less about, 'have they marketed business intelligence software?' or 'have they used Eloqua in demand generation campaigns?' They focus more on recruiting the attitude and then training the skills. In effect they're looking for the Bradley Wiggins’ of the world.
But for a lot of companies, and not surprisingly it tends to be those companies who are struggling to fill roles, they’re looking for those 'square pegs'.
So what are the downsides? Well if you're a big brand then potentially not much - you would hope that you can attract the best (albeit process gets in the way which is something we'll discuss more later in the year). But if you're like most companies, in essence what you're asking for is for someone to come in and do a very similar job in a very similar way. But how long will that last? Where's the progression? What’s in it for them? Won’t you just get the same old results? Where’s the innovation to stay ahead in a challenging market?
Today calibre people are hard to find, calibre people with all the extra bits are even harder to find. So besides keeping people motivated and bought in for the long term, the biggest issue is that it’s likely your vacancy will remain open for a while, or at least until you accept you might need to compromise on your wish list. But also, do you want the best or just someone who’s done it before?