Love Change, Learn to Dance and Leave J. Edgar Hoover Behind!

When I travel I like to bring a few books along to read on the plane, in airports, on trains and just have with me as I sit in some beautiful piazza on the Italian coast not wanting to look like a typical tourist.


One of the books that I brought along on this recent trip to Italy was Visionary Business by Marc Allen or Visionari Affari in Italian. The book in both languages is a fictional guide to success for entrepreneurs. Sound advice in an easy to read story. However it is not just for those looking to start a new business. The advice can be easily applied to any one, business leaders, employers, employees, candidates, consultants and yes, even recruiters.


One of the chapters is titled the same as this blog. The story comes from a very successful CEO of a fortune 50 company who attributed the success and profitability of his company to his company following three simple rules: (1) Love change; (2) Learn to dance; and (3) leave J. Edgar Hoover behind.


Allen’s main character goes on to explain the three rules this way. “The first rule is obvious: Learn to accept change, even to love change. The nature of life is change, and we either learn to love it, or resist the inevitable. Every company, like every person, is changing all the time. Technologies change, people’s tastes change, their desires and needs change. Some companies and some people have the vision to use that to their advantage, some don’t. Those that don’t, don’t survive very long.”


As a business leader you can easily see how this rule applies to what you want for your company. Adapt, change or stand still and be run over by the competition. As a recruiter, the same rule could be applied. Social media, cloud sourcing, talent hubs, candidate communities, transparency in the hiring process, behavior based interviewing, talent pipelines, performance profiles, these are all relatively new concepts and terms that have changed the recruiting landscape. If you are not aware of all of them and how they might impact your business and career, then you are not following Rule #1. Love Change.


The second rule is learn to dance. Allen’s character explains it this way. “This means dancing with all your customers, all your distributers, all your suppliers, everyone you work with. The more we learn to dance with people, smoothly and skillfully, and give them what they want with the best possible service and quality of product, the easier it is to achieve our goals. Our working relationship with others should be a dance, not a struggle. Creatively working with people so that everyone’s happy. Finding win-win solutions – dancing together!”


Again, for a business leader you can see how applying this rule can dramatically impact your business. Happy, engaged customers, suppliers, distributors, employees, vendors are the key to success and profitability. Not to mention the key to a much more enjoyable and less stressful work life.


For recruiters this rule applies just as well.  Giving your candidates, hiring managers, partners, co-workers, talent managers, HR Directors what they want with the best possible service you can provide is the surest way to both your success and that of your company. Learn to Dance and not just the old Texas Two-step!


The third rule was Leave J. Edgar Hoover Behind. When I first read this I thought it had something to do with Hoover’s rumored cross-dressing habit. But Allen’s character explains it this way. “J. Edgar Hoover was famous – or infamous rather- for his complete control of his employees’ actions. His management style was completely dictatorial. Everything came from the top down; management told everyone exactly what to do. At least that was the reputation he had. Leaving him behind means giving each employee responsibility to do their job in their own way. Hire good people, clearly define their responsibilities, and let them do it their own way. They’re the ones in the trenches, doing their job all day. Get responsible people, treat them like adults. J. Edgar Hoover would hate this approach.”


Successful business leaders can easily see the importance of following this rule. The key to making sure that this rule is followed in your company is to have a company culture that allows for and encourages bottom up decision making, strong mentoring programs and the hiring of nothing but “A – players” for all positions.


Following this rule as a recruiter is a little more difficult. Recruiters don’t necessarily make business decisions, however, when it comes to hiring Great talent, recruiters can apply this rule by insisting on developing and implementing a hiring process that attracts the right talent, that supports a more complete understanding of what each job requires, what outcomes should be expected, what competencies are desired, and that all sourcing, screening and selecting of new employees is aligned with the business goals for the company. If this is done then as a recruiter you will never have to think about J. Edgar Hoover again. Elliot Ness maybe.


I am now off to read another chapter of Allen’s book “Give abundantly and reap the rewards”. I sure hope that it is true because I think I left an enormous tip at that last little trattoria.



Ciao again!


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