I've heard so many "thought leaders" and "enthusiasts" spout off about what's good for the industry, what's needed and what's not. Well on that premise let us focus on the "Common good" of the industry.

What exactly does "common good" actually mean? It obviously holds various connotations for different people and the true essence of the "meaning" will have great range whether you're a vendor or hiring company. Let's make this easy...

What does the "common good" mean to me?
drive down industry costs
drive efficiencies
push innovation
pass or simply run over anyone not focusing #1, #2 and #3....

Pretty simple eh? In a perfect world yes, although there is a hitch. (Go figure)

THE Hitch.. Hiring companies are perpetually asking for more innovation to help them in continuing to achieve the first 3 points, although when approached with new methods, programs, and/or technologies are ever-slow to adopt.

Why are companies slow to adopt? Because many vendors are simply not innovating rather they are hanging onto old business models and afraid to change while rushing to repackage the same old deliverable and hoping their revenue streams....

What will help adoption and kick the hitch? The answer is simple, create to fill "the need". Vendors should research and truly understanding what the industry needs, (imagine that) not the perception of what the industry needs. On many occasions I have witnessed vendors positioning their wares based solely on a variety of perceived needs which didn't exist in the real world. Plus many vendors, old-timers in the space, bring meaningless bells and whistles to the table all in the name of INNOVATION and "what companies really need", while behind the scenes the meaningless fluff is provided to bulk up and justify new and higher rates.. Not the common good!

So, passing off the same old wares with a fresh coat of paint won't work anymore and, in my mind, doesn't embody my ideal of the common good. Furthermore, hiring companies will move faster if they aren't always looking to avoid the next vendor shell game.

Unfortunately vendors who aren't innovating will continue to pass off their old wares with "NEW and IMPROVED" stickers attached, while the REAL INNOVATORS will have to continue getting better at separating themselves from the shysters.

So when someone refers to the "common good" or "evolving the industry" ask them what they've done to contribute. They'll either have a fascinating story which will make it well-worth listening or a load of NEW and IMPROVED B.S.

or NOT

Views: 105

Comment by Steve Levy on February 9, 2009 at 7:40am
You know what Chad? Recruiters who really recruit like new and improved and evolving the industry because it means we can win by finding legacy supporters. But revolutionaries often don't have the marketing money or moxy to supplant the repacking machine of established companies. Ah, the positives and negatives of a marketing driven economy.

Another phrase that rankles me is paradigm shift but I'd need some new kind of blog format to write about it.

Nice work CS. Marty, what's your take?
Comment by Martin H.Snyder on February 9, 2009 at 8:45am
~Can't resist a direct invitation Steve !~

Lets see what's missing from this list:

1) drive down industry costs
2) drive efficiencies
3) push innovation
4) pass or simply run over anyone not focusing #1, #2 and #3....

hmmmm.....anything about whats "good" except being cheaper ?

To me, "good" or "common good" means: sustainable, fair, understandable, dignified, proportional, and of course, worth the money.

I'm a huge believer that people (and firms) vote with their wallets, not always in the short run, but always in the long run. Companies that bring value and manage to the "good" objectives will earn real profits, those that don't, won't: pointless to worry greatly about process.

Now if you want to talk about whats best for the commons it appears to be adequate regulation and activity at the minimum scale to meet an objective, all things being equal.
Comment by Jim Durbin on February 9, 2009 at 1:31pm
I'm always a little nervous when someone starts talking about the common good. Like will of the people, it's usually a rhetorical trick aimed at getting people to act in a manner contrary to their own self-interest.

If clients don't like vendor products, they don't have to buy them. At some point, shouldn't clients have the responsibility to understand what they're buying? If it's schlock, wouldn't they be able to tell? And if they can't, won't firms that do understand what's new and improved have an advantage and grow at the expense of the uninformed?

In terms of selling, I found in social media marketing that clients weren't interested in buying social media marketing, but they were interested in purchasing my marketing services including social media. They might balk at large amounts for internal training, but they'd pay a fee to hire someone. It was just what they felt comfortable doing. Learning to sell what people will buy is an important tool in any vendor's kit.

And if another vendor got there before me and failed, that's actually good news, as it proves the client has seen the value before and was willing to pay for it.

Yes, there's a lot of bad product out there, but some notion of the common good is a poor way to approach innovation. The common good would have us all out of work, as it clearly benefits hiring companies and jobseekers to have seamless, perfect transitions at full employment without having to pay for it.

We as vendors guess at what will improve client's hiring situation, but it's just a guess. Our job is not to improve the industry, but instead to improve the competitive advantage for clients who use our wares.

Your last line, though - is right on target. But it should be clients asking that question of their vendors, regardless of whether or not the rest of us bother to.
Comment by Martin H.Snyder on February 9, 2009 at 1:38pm
hear hear Jim- nice post
Comment by Steve Levy on February 9, 2009 at 2:27pm
I suppose common good implies that the speaker has some prescient ability to ingest millions of data points and correctly see the future. Sometimes common good is simply blind - see the overinvesting in mortgage back securities.

When someone mentions common good to me, I ask to see their model and assumptions. Even a perfumed pig can smell...
Comment by Chad Sowash on February 9, 2009 at 3:07pm
As usual instead of breaking information down into its simplest form we start talking about predictive indexes and ingesting millions of data points. Two more reasons why adoption is ever-so-slow... The hiring company's inability to understand, moreover TRUST in a society absent of good old fashioned values...

Where exactly did the basic foundation of our values system go? Like selfless service? It's not about your self interest, your self preservation or your greed. It's about focusing on the client best interest and then watching your organization flourish. This is the very essence of the Common Good. (I know it's way too simple so there have to be flaws)

I understand if we demystify the industry then the answers will be simple, which makes vendors scared or "nervous" about extinction. Ultimately providing half-truths, half-solutions and hoping their clients don't truly understand the answers.

It's all about working under a solid values system and regaining focus on what truly makes good business.
Comment by Steve Levy on February 9, 2009 at 3:32pm
As usual? Your 1-4 list made no mention that when discussing we couldn't deconstruct the premise of your argument. Had we known...

Even demystification isn't that simple; you can show me how a magician plays the trick and you can break it down yet I simply can't perform the slight of hand the same way. I may know how the trick is performed but that doesn't make it any less amazing to me.

Chad, the basic values are still here - what is termed a basic value is something that has more competition these days. Politics, economics, society and technology have all confluenced to produce n X n X n X n possible explanations. some companies may be rehashing old news but many more are doing the work to fine tune their offerings - or developing new offerings - based upon the habits and demographics of their customers.

Should it be different with recruiting?
Comment by Chad Sowash on February 9, 2009 at 8:16pm
Wait a minute Steve, I can't deconstruct your deconstruction? (Isn't that demolition?)

I simply do not believe in the complexity of which you speak. (pun) Anything can be broken down into it's simple parts. If you learn a trick you need to practice it (train train train) so that you can amaze the people around you instead of just merely being amazed yourself. (I realize we have different philosophy)

I believe what Martin and Jim said is more true now than ever. Companies will choose which vendors live or die...
Comment by Dave Mendoza on February 21, 2009 at 2:37pm
Great post Chad. Impressive all the way around
Comment by Chad Sowash on February 22, 2009 at 8:59am
Thanks Dave.. Hopefully since Uncle Sam has released me back into civilian life I'll be able to stir more of these types of conversations..


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