I am a keen Carlton supporter in the AFL and I am more than aware that we are playing finals footy when in reality we finished outside the eligible top eight for qualification.  We rode in off the back of the Essendon ASADA scandal and we now find ourselves having won an Elimination Final moving into week two of the finals series.  Don’t get me wrong I am delighted that the Blues got the opportunity to knock off the Richmond Tigers and we now get a crack at last years Premiers the Sydney Swans in the Semi’s.  I hope we surprise everyone and defeat Sydney and get into the Preliminary Final and then you never know.  So come on you Blue Boys go for it!  I find myself daring to dream.  My wish is for Carlton to make the Grand Final, steal victory with a goal kicked on the final siren and win the flag at the MCG in front of 95 000 screaming fans.

But lets’ keep it real.keepitreal

For all my hoping, positive outlook and one eyed barracking, seriously it is not going to happen.  It became clear during the season that despite snagging Mick Malthouse as senior coach who has led both the West Coast Eagles and Collingwood Magpies to Premierships, we simply aren’t good enough this year.  It pains me to say it but it is true.  Finishing 9th demonstrates this.  The reality of it hurts.    But it does keep you grounded and focussed on what needs to be done.

If Carlton go on to win the AFL flag in 2013 it would be the ultimate Stephen Bradbury moment revisited.  Could I honestly look my mates (and my Hawthorn supporting brother-in-law and also my boss) and say we deserved it?  Hell yeah… I mean no, not really.

And so it has been in the recruitment industry in my opinion over the past decade.  There have been a huge number of Consultants who have experienced their very own Stephen Bradbury-esque  periods during an extremely strong economy here in Australia.  Back in ‘06/07 little more than the ability to administer a transaction was all that was required to make placements and healthy commissions.  But the party is over.

You might think I’m being a little negative towards the industry that I’ve spent most of my career.  Not at all, I genuinely love what I do.  I certainly would not have kept at it for 15 years if that wasn’t the case.  But I do believe we need a dose of reality from time to time.

It was once suggested to me by a former staff member that an ideal ratio of 1:7 should exist when giving feedback.  His argument was that constructive feedback was always perceived as negative and to counter balance that and maintain motivation, seven pieces of positive feedback should accompany it.   What a load of rubbish, seriously get real.

Recruitment professionals are generally inclined to think (or hope) that the glass is full and overflowing, when in reality it is half full.  As a generalisation Recruiters are highly optimistic and highly competitive but unfortunately not always highly skilled.  This could be partially overlooked during boom times but now it is not enough.

The mix of skills required to be a high performing Consultant in 2013 is quite different from those required during the high growth economic periods of the past.  The limitless incoming flow of client requests with easy to fill vacancies pouring down from the sky is no longer a given.

Right now Consultants in the recruitment industry need to be well versed in what Greg Savage calls “The Craft of Recruitment”.  Without this, frankly they just won’t be good enough.  They may get a few wins, however, just as I suspect Carlton will find out this weekend, they will lack the depth and breadth of talent that is required when things get tougher.

I’m sure this is also the case in many other industry sectors where the emphasis on sales/business development, relationship management, stakeholder engagement, skilled project execution and superior service delivery is greater than it has been for a long time.  As such employees should embrace learning new skills and seek out opportunities to develop broader and deeper knowledge so that they can offer greater value to their organisations and their customers.

A positive attitude, optimistic mindset and willingness to dream big are all fantastic qualities associated with success.  But they are wasted if not coupled with skill, consistent effort, determination and a genuine realisation of what is and what can be.

Ben Walsh – General Manager -Recruitment

PS Go the mighty Blues!

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