Preferring dead fish to fresh flowers

There's a story of a woman who sold fish all her life and knew nothing else. One summer day, she was invited to the queen's palace to help prepare a royal festival. When she was shown to her room, she found it filled with fragrant flowers. How disgusting, she complained. Please take me back and let me sleep near my pile of fish.

She choose the stench of fish over the sweet fragrance of flowers because of habit and familiarity. It's the choice of picking the devil you know versus the devil you don't.

In the same way, we often hold on to our angers and sorrows, our bitterness and mediocrity because they are all we know. They offer familiarity - and oddly comfort - in a very uncertain world.

But as soon as we realize that we can choose self-worth, approval and appreciation over pain and fear, a powerful force begins to churn inside. Over time, this force can be used to nurture the creativity and power needed to break the shackles that keep us tied to the standard ways we work.

Recruiting today is very much like this. Calls, calls, calls are the ingrained way of the business when in fact relationships are built with face to face meetings. We use trite phrases like it's a great place to work when selling a job to a person when we've never spent a day at the company. We sell candidates to companies by saying the person has a great attitude when we've never assessed the fact.

We've been recruiting from a room filled with fishes and continue to do so because its the only way we've ever done it.

Try this: If you're going to sell a company perhaps you should ask to spend a day there; if you want to sell someone's attitude, place them in noxious environments and see how they respond.

Unless you really do prefer the stench of fish.

Thanks to Lou Tice of The Pacific Institute for the inspiration.

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