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What Wayne and The Babe Can Teach You About Life

Posted by Ken McGovern in Culture | 0 comments


Wayne Gretzky, retired NHL hockey player, is famed for saying “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”.  Babe Ruth, famous Red Sox turned Yankees baseball player, has several famous quotes to his name, one of them being, “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.”

Gretzky claims he never had the hardest shot nor was he the fastest skater but what he did have was an amazing work ethic, he understood the power of the team and he knew that 90% of his success was a mind game not a physical one. In other words – he worked hard, and he persisted. He failed, he missed shots, but he kept trying until he became the greatest hockey player of all time according to the sports pundits. Over the course of 1487 regular season games, he made 894 goals. That means in 40% of the games he played, he didn’t score any goals. Yet, when he retired, he held or shared 61 records.  Babe Ruth hit 714 homeruns, a record not broken for almost 40 years. He also struck out 1,330 times. He believed in never giving up. He was confident, even though he said many times that every strike brought him closer to his next home run.

This isn’t a post about sports but more about success in general. Far too many people give up before they get started. They give up when the going gets tough or they put off the hard work because it’s unpleasant, OR they get hung up on perfection.

Because I’m in the world of Executive Search, I’ve spoken with more job seekers, disgruntled employees, and frustrated employers than most. Many feel stuck, yet are unwilling to take action to change. They ask for advice and more often than not, I tell them they have to change what they are currently doing. For some, that change may be uncomfortable – even anxiety provoking. So, the choices are A. Stay in your current situation and remain miserable or B. Be uncomfortable for a short while and at least TRY to achieve what you really want.

Want a raise? Ask for a raise.
Want a promotion? Ask for a promotion.
Want to land that big deal? Ask for the sale.
Want to date the person you’ve been pining over? Ask for the date.

What is the absolute worst thing that can happen? You are told No. That’s it. No. In fact, if you don’t ask, the answer is always No.

Will it always be easy?  No. Will you always get the answer you want? No. But what you won’t have is regret. Regret is far worse than No.

I don’t believe in the saying “Failure is not an option”, because failure is simply part of any successful journey.  It IS an option, one that you shouldn’t avoid – in fact you should embrace it.

In the end, avoiding the ask leads to woulda, coulda, shoulda…and a life of regret.

Don’t Hire Me Until…

Posted by Ken McGovern in Executive Search | 0 comments


Let’s be honest, building out A-Teams for your business isn’t easy. Great talent, great culture, profitable business – we all want it! The issue arises when business owners get impatient with the process.  They have a talent gap, they want it filled… yesterday.  Unfortunately, when hasty hiring decisions are made to fill a role, a lot of proverbial rocks are left unturned.  The result is high turnover and employee morale takes a nose dive.

It’s a marathon, not a sprint and yes, slow and steady will win the race more often than running too hard and getting burned out before you get the result you want.  Enough with the metaphors, let’s get to the meat of the process I bring people through!

How to win at the talent game:

  1. Know thyself and they culture. If you are responsible for hiring talent it’s imperative you are REAL about your current team, the culture, and the TYPE of person that will work well within those parameters.  Hiring great talent into a culture that doesn’t fit within his/her wheelhouse will result in turnover.  They may THINK they can adapt, but more often than not, they don’t.
  2. Look internally FIRST. Often the best person for the job is someone within your ranks.  Why not explore this option FIRST before paying a recruiter?  Sometimes you need an outsider like a search consultant to mix things up, have a new perspective – that’s fine.  If you are looking to grow an existing team and you have a culture that works – is there someone who can rise to the occasion that’s already on your payroll? Besides saving a boat load of money on the search process, promoting from within also sends a message to your employees that there are growth opportunities for individuals work hard, do well, and remain with the organization.
  3. Reach out to your Network. Six degrees of separation is a powerful thing, I know I use that theory daily.  Before you reach out to write me a check, make sure you reach out to your trusted circle and let them know you are looking for a new team member to fill “X” role.  Be specific on what you are looking for.  Most likely your trusted network knows the good, the bad, and the ugly about your company and won’t refer you to someone that won’t be a good fit.
  4. Professional Associations. Don’t discount reaching out to your professional associations.  They know your industry and are deeply connected with who’s who.
  5. LinkedIn. Yes, it’s perfectly acceptable to peruse LinkedIn and see what’s out there.

When you’ve exhausted the above avenues, it’s time to bring in the pros with extensive networks beyond what you can access.

In the end, be patient.  You will be far better served waiting to find the right person than filling the empty slot with someone who only hits 3 out of 5 on the “must have list”.

“Ageism” – Face it and work around it!

Posted by Ken McGovern in Succession Planning, Team Development | 0 comments


It’s no secret that the Millennial Generation – or Gen Y – born in the early 80’s through the late 90’s will surpass the Baby Boomer Generation in numbers sooner than later.  The Gen Y’s are deep in our workforce and are now holding significant leadership roles in a variety of industries.

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The Importance of Being Involved

Posted by Ken McGovern in Culture, Leadership Development | 0 comments


Have you ever noticed that some of the happiest and most fulfilled people are those who spend time giving back?  Volunteering isn’t only about the impact that you make in the lives of those less fortunate and in one’s community; it also teaches you a lot about who you are and helps you improve  certain life skills. You may discover that you’ve become more patient, open-minded, less judgmental, and more compassionate.  I’m not talking about volunteering so you can toss that board membership title on your LinkedIn Profile – this isn’t Quid Pro Quo – this is just giving for the sake of giving.

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Who says Millennials have no character?

Posted by Ken McGovern in Culture | 0 comments


My family and I just returned from a trip to Vietnam and Cambodia. While I possess a fairly extensive record of international travel, this was my first trip to Southeast Asia. Each trip to a foreign country possesses its own remarkable aspects but the idea of visiting countries as “foreign” as Vietnam and Cambodia came with both excitement, as well as trepidation. Let me just start by saying, it was fantastic! The people, the culture, the history, the food, all of it.

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The Youth Factor

Posted by Ken McGovern in Culture, Succession Planning | 0 comments


I’m just going to come right out and say it:  I think the younger generations get it.  I know, I know there have been countless articles written about the generation divide, the Boomers versus Millennial debates, but I’m going to add one more to the mix.  I’m not going to bash the idealism of the younger crowd, in fact, I embrace it and I encourage you to open your mind and put yourself in their shoes for a bit.

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Culture Transformation

Posted by Ken McGovern in Culture, Leadership | 0 comments


If only I had a dollar for every time I conducted a candidate interview during my career and I was asked, “what is the company culture like!” Yes, it is universally the most frequently asked question during an interview, a networking conversation, or cocktail party when discussing where someone works.

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Culture Fit – Is it Realistic?

Posted by Ken McGovern in Culture | 0 comments


“Culture Fit” is a buzz phrase you may have seen and is often heard around the water coolers in any executive search firm or HR/Recruiter meeting.  Generally defined as: “The ability of an employee to fit the core beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors that make up an organization.”

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One True Key to Success

Posted by Ken McGovern in Leadership Development | 0 comments


I have to admit, I’ve always been skeptical of those pop psychology claims of the one thing you need to do to be successful. Most of those claims are simplistic views of the problems we face or a single concept taken to an illogical conclusion. Having said that, I now find myself making a case for what I believe to be the one true key to lasting success. That key is self-management.

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Embracing the Change

Posted by Ken McGovern in Leadership Development | 0 comments


Innovate or Die.  Often the mantra of CEOs and entrepreneurs.  Stagnation of ideas and lack of change leads to lost market share, drop in retention rates in both clients and employees, and simply isn’t smart business.  This is also true on a personal level.  Nothing happens in the comfort zone – right?  When we resist change we get stuck, resulting in lack of forward movement. That comfort zone could also be your danger zone.  How often have you missed an amazing opportunity because you were afraid?  Missed out on reaching a goal because you didn’t push yourself just a bit harder – a bit outside what you deem “easy”?

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