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TYLER, Texas — It is all about results.

This week, a valued customer and friend called to let me know she was not happy with the length of time a search was taking.  It is a hard assignment in an isolated rural community for a hospital in the midst of a significant turnaround.  Of course there were reasons for the delay that she understood, but, in the end, it wasn’t about the reasons, or worse, excuses.  It was about results.

resultsIf you run a business, whether it is the practice of medicine or computer programming, what defines who you are as a company or professional provider, is the results you produce — not best effort or good intentions.  Just the results.  Achieving results is an important universal truth for succeeding in business.  But lest we get too focused simply on completing a transaction, let’s take a moment and look at the word results, and what it really should mean in business.

Anyone who has worked in search, whether as an outside consultant or internal recruiter, knows there will be, from time to time, an assignment that drives you crazy trying to find the right person.  They can be illusive.  But the client hired you because they knew the task would be challenging.  They needed additional expertise and resources to achieve results.  As one of my old bosses use to say, “If it was easy, everyone would be doing it.”

There are good and bad results.  Finding a candidate that we know will not stay for at least three years may help my team close the deal, but it is not in the best interest of our client or the client’s community.  Closing the deal with just any qualified candidate who can pass muster may equal results at some level but not successful results.

Moreover, results cannot be just a transaction.  It must be wrapped in ethical behavior, a hard wire commitment to doing the right thing even when no one is looking and a laser focus on exceeding client/customer/patient expectations.

As the whole messy process of healthcare reform evolves, from the Affordable Care Act, to rising pressures to lower cost — not just the rate of growth, but net reductions in spending outlays — the whole issue of successful results, and accountability, are in the brightly shining spotlight of industry and public scrutiny.

This focus is already trickling down into the leadership recruitment process and, based on our experience in interviews, it is catching some candidates unaware of a new emphasis on their relevant experience and evidence of their prior success in addressing the specific needs of a client.  This lack of awareness, and in some cases a lack of willingness to adjust their resumes and approach to finding a job, is causing them to be dropped from consideration.

These new rules demand that executives pay more attention to their Value Proposition and their career brand and to be able to confidently and effectively convince a prospective employer why they should get the job.