How does a relationship-driven business adapt to a digitally-oriented world? In other words, with digital communications taking the place of face-to-face contact, how do you keep the relational aspect of busines – ¦. relational? This is the question I’ve been pondering and I’m betting that many of you reading this have been wondering the same thing.
Executive search is one of the most relationship-driven business services out there.
From understanding what the needs of the position actually entail to perceiving what makes a candidate a great fit (or not), executive search is a highly intuitive, human-focused endeavor. The business development aspect of search is no exception. It’s not enough to know about an organization’s needs or a specific position’s requirements, it’s about meeting with and understanding a prospective client and their organization in a comprehensive way. With the shift to digital the in-person part of bizdev is evaporating in the midst of emails, texts, and even phone calls to some degree.
Mixed (Digital) Emotions
On the one hand I don’t really like the fact that digital tools are replacing personal interaction. It feels impersonal. I can text or email all day long but I can’t look someone in the eye and read his or her body language. It’s much harder to get an actionable “gut ” feel from an email exchange or Skype call than from breathing the same air as the person you’re talking with. I trust my gut. I listen to my intuition. After 30+ years in this business you have to be in touch with your “sixth sense ” or you’ll get crushed beneath the competition. That’s one of the reasons I’m still around.
Yet on the other hand, digital tools are timesavers. They free me up. They make me more efficient. The less I have to drive, fly, and travel to get face-time, the more time I have for running my business and focusing on the candidate search itself. I know that a major factor for my productivity is the use of digital tools so I don’t want to minimize their usefulness or devalue these elements of how business gets done.
I will say this however, and I say it with the utmost respect to the many clients and prospects I’ve worked with throughout the years. You owe it to yourself to log face time with me (or whomever you work with for your executive searches). This is for your benefit. I need to get in your head, feel out the cultural landscape and perceive the needs of your organization on a level beyond a piece of paper or hiring document. The face time we share is an investment and, ultimately, it’s an efficiency and protection against waste in the future.
Understanding the need up front creates better results down the road.
There is so much more to doing a great job on a search than showcasing how many “like ” searches have been done or how long someone has been in business or how big the business has become. Successful search is about personal commitment from the person leading the charge, trust, a strong network, and an ability to make a strong match between a candidate and company culture. This is what the Durakis brand has been (and is going to be) about.
Let’s use the digital tools and let’s use them well. But let’s sit down and invest in the in-person conversation too. It will pay great dividends down the road, trust me.