According to mainstream media, the third Monday in January is supposed to be the most depressing day of the year. Some say it’s the day many people give up early on new year’s resolutions, or even quit work.
So how are you getting on with your new routine or behaviours that will see you hit your big recruitment goals this year? You’re trying to make changes to routines and introduce positive habits, and this is hard. The typical human being doesn’t like hard.
Let’s be honest, we’re lazy. Humans have inherently always sought the shortcuts and path of least resistance. The contradictory thing here is that Recruiters are often very driven people, yet we can’t escape these lazy human tendencies.
But what if there was a way to make the hard stuff easy? As in a way we can use being lazy as an advantage. Whilst the title of this post is a little tongue in cheek and counterintuitive there is meaning behind the madness. Bear with me and I’ll outline a few subtle techniques that really do take out the hard effort in completing your positive steps.
How to be lazy yet still achieve results
In its simplest form, all you have to do is make it HARD to do the things you want to stop doing, and conversely, make it EASY to do the things that you want to do.
As a basic example, lets say you want to cut out sugary snacks and drinks from your diet. To leverage laziness it might look like this:
- Make bad behaviour hard – remove every bit of sugary snack and drink from your environments at work and at home. Clear all cupboards, drawers, car etc from those sugary temptations.
- Make the good behaviour easy– stock your environment with a varied selection of healthy snacks, water and meal options. That way, when the urge comes to eat you are not using up valuable willpower batteries deciding what to eat and what to avoid. Instead, your only choice is healthy.
So how might that translate to your goals as an executive recruiter?
Well, I encourage you to run through this simple exercise as it translates to your goals as an executive recruiter.
I’ll list out some simple examples for fun:
First write out your goal or positive behaviour:
(Example new goal/habit) I set every search up for success from the outset and never drop a ball during the process.
Then you need to write three ways you can make doing the wrong thing HARD.
- (Example) When I realise I accepted an assignment with a new client without going through my qualification process I must pay a penalty fine of £50 /$50 to a cause I wouldn’t actually want to support. (Bear in mind the initial error in not following your best practice set up may well result in a much bigger penalty… in the shape of a lost assignment and your time wasted.)
- (Example) I have a colleague keep me accountable so that I can’t leave the office for a briefing meeting without my prep notes and briefing questions written or printed out.
- (Example) I make and use an email template note that is automatically sent to clients when I confirm a briefing call or meeting – it reads something along the lines of ‘We will be thoroughly discussing the background to the appointment, company culture, reasons why someone would take the role, and so on…. If I fail to cover any of these areas I encourage you to challenge my ability to handle this search”. (Sounds extreme but if you sent that message to a client, you’d show up ready to deliver, you’d probably get their attention too).
Finally, write three ways you can make doing the right thing EASY.
- (Example) I pre-make a template or workflow of my best practice end to end search process so that it is instantly ready to use on all future assignments.
- (Example) I activate my pre-made template of my best practice process into a live assignment tracker to follow through and check off tasks in real time. This takes the onus of remembering all the details of multiple assignments out of my head. (See GTD by David Allen).
- (Example) I build in fail safe mechanisms to my process like visual milestones, tasks, and reminders so I never miss a deadline or forget to ask a key question.
You get the idea here. I really encourage you to invest a little time and have a go for yourself. It could even be something really subtle, like when you want to spend an hour focus session on writing candidate submittals — then switch off all communication, social media and internet browsers. Put your phone on aeroplane mode and divert the main line to answer phone or a colleague.
These answers to the exercise above are the foundations that will allow you to build a fail safe system for whatever it is you want to get done.
Yes it takes a bit of time not being lazy to set these things up. But once they are up and running, you can wallow in your laziness while still succeeding.
If this message resonates you can also join the discussion in our Linked In Group, The Intentional Recruiter for weekly insights on fulfilling your potential as a Recruiter.
For inspiration on the common habits of successful executive recruiters and how to emulate them, watch the Unfair Edge webinar I did with top search practitioner and trainer Doug Beabout.