21 November 2012

'Focus on your job, champ, and I'll focus on mine'

The employment market in Australia is going through a period of mild turbulence, coinciding with the approaching traditional summer holiday period.

This combination creates the potential for recruiters to become distracted and lose focus, resulting in substantial drops in activity and results.

A few examples of distracted and unfocused consultant activity I’ve heard about recently include a consultant looking at the availability and price of alternative office accommodation (then providing their conclusions to their manager), a consultant providing, unprompted, feedback to their manager about how well that manager was doing their job and what they should do differently and a consultant using Facebook during core calling hours because ‘it improves my morale when I am constantly in touch with my friends’.

Many years ago, as an 18 year old playing First Grade cricket in the TCA (Hobart) competition, I was batting when a wicket fell and a senior player came out to join me at the wicket. As I had been batting for about half an hour in tricky conditions, I thought my observations about the pitch and the bowlers might be helpful to him. Unprompted, I started my, well-meaning, commentary to be quickly cut off with a curt ‘focus on your job, champ, and I’ll focus on mine’.

Although taken aback by the way in which he delivered the message, it was absolutely the right message. While my intentions were good, the reality was that every second I devoted to thinking about anything other than the next ball being bowled to me was wasted time. I had a job to do and I should devote all my concentration to that job, and only to that job.

Every recruiter and leader of recruiters should be doing nothing other than being absolutely, resolutely, fanatically and single-mindedly focused on doing the most important aspects of their own job to the very best of their ability, all day, every day.
Surf the internet in your own time, not your employer’s time.

Take an early mark when you’ve got too many high quality jobs to fill, rather than too few.

Turn off, relax and chill out after-hours or on the weekend, not before.

Take a holiday when you have holidays booked, not earlier.

Go hard to the year-end finish line - plenty of others won’t be. In doing so you will not just generate better results, you will take your holidays in the knowledge that they have been very well earned and you have built a sound foundation of activity to benefit from when you return  to the office in early 2013.

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