We’ve all heard about those American test pilots and astronauts who had The Right Stuff; after all, a good book by Tom Wolfe and movie starring Ed Harris, Sam Shepard, Dennis Quaid and others helped chronicle their journey and success.  Their adventures were well-chronicled and displayed a common theme of understanding what would be necessary for their success as Mercury Seven astronauts.

The Right Stuff

Well, you are probably asking, what does The Right Stuff have to do with executive recruitment?  In my mind, plenty.  The pilots then astronauts understood that, to beat the competition (in this case the Russian Sputnik program), they had to prepare, plan, research, evaluate, and refine their product and their program so that they would be successful, over time, in coming out on top.  For Project Mercury to succeed, the pilots hence astronauts had to exhibit the “right stuff” to succeed – they did their research and made sure they designed a process for success.

Executive Recruitment and Organizational Analysis

When I engage in an executive recruitment with a business owner, I want to understand where the owner wants the company to go in 3 years, 5 years, 10 years; that is, what is his/her definition of success?  I also want to understand the company’s present state – sales, expenses, competitive environment, culture, mission, values, vision, purpose (its MV2P).  Included in this organizational analysis are discussions with the owners, key reports, employees, and, to the extent it is possible, key vendors and customers.

Why should I conduct an organizational analysis when I am being retained for an executive search?  To me it is simple.  The owner wants me to find the person with the right stuff to help move the company in a direction that will accomplish the company’s future for success.

I need to identify and/or help to develop that plan, and then need to develop a profile for candidates that will have the right stuff to implement the plan – someone who will interact well with the owner, key reports, employees, customers, and vendors – and who will be able to help lead the company through the changes necessary for the company to continue to remain competitive and relevant.

The Right Stuff Candidates

I also understand that to attract the right stuff candidates, I need to present them with an opportunity for success and achievement in their career.  See, they may not be looking for a new opportunity, and may be satisfied where they are.  In this realm are those who are not looking, are satisfied, but, are interested in making a difference.  The search then becomes one of matching the executive profile to the person.  Does the candidate’s vision of future success match to my client’s vision of future success?  Is there a person-future fit?

If you have recruited for your company or hired a search firm for a new employee you may talk with “head hunters” and online talent management systems and platforms that promise you reduced fees, online screening tools, and more.  The promises may sound too good to be true – and perhaps they are – or are not.

Is A Person-Future Fit Search In Your Future?

Many new clients approach me after they have failed experiences in recruitment and selection.  I think I have described a difference in approach and in results.  Sometimes owners want a more in depth and thorough organizational analysis, position profile, and person-fit approach – and sometimes they don’t.  It is your choice to determine if finding the right stuff is the right approach for you and your company.