Why I am a bit like Al Pacino…

For those that know me in the flesh, not just here, you’ll know that I believe it’s not just the ‘what’ you achieve that counts but also the ‘how’.

Being part of my team should be fun, collaborative and not too serious, even if the outcome or end result is very serious. I fundamentally believe you will get more from people if they want to be there, you will get more from them if you lead from the front and demonstrate you are committed to them no matter what. In Americanism’s that you’ve got their back. I have written about it before [Click here] but with more of a war for talent theme. Not sure that still applies though.

Working with me in my team comes with responsibility.

As a Human Resources VP I used to work for would say

“Don’t make me part of the crash if you haven’t made me part of the take off.”

Whilst a bit of a cliché it has sort of stuck with me along with another inspired piece of transport related advice that will feature in another blog post. I can be there and will treat you like a grown up if you do the same in return.

I suspect though that working for me on occasion has felt slightly schizophrenic for some of the time. Probably not very often in “business as usual” mode where the objectives are typically clearer with more wiggle room to keep the on the straight and narrow but certainly on occasion when there has been a big project to deliver.

As a recruitment leader, I bring many things.  Wit, charm and the knowledge that if things start to slip away even for a moment you might lose it altogether. Experience has taught me that.

The result has been a career peppered with success and failure, not in equal measure and I like to think that success has been hard won and failure an education point. But because of that life experience I tend to have a bleak outlook for big complicated projects that well… have a bleak complicated outlook… constant ambiguity, constant moving of goal posts, never really defining completely what good looks like with the inevitable result that success and failure can look dangerously alike.

The key to success, like many things from painting a house to flying an aeroplane is the start. The foundation you build upon.

The reason I am like Al Pacino is the start of one such project.

It started badly yet finished well. It was a bitter hard won success that to many looked like failure. Or at least it looked that way because we were told we would fail so many times that we started to believe it.

The ‘what’ was achieved and achieved well, the ‘how’ was painful, repetitive and probably not worth the sacrifices that many of us made in achieving it.

It was destined to feel that way from the off as I thought I was Al Pacino. If I had woken up thinking I was Mel Gibson in Braveheart or Daniel Craig in Layer Cake it would have been ok. The tone would have set from the start and we could have ridden it out.  But instead it’s the 8th of May 2013 and I thought this would be the thing to bring the team together:-

I don’t know what to say really.
Three minutes to the biggest battle of our professional lives all comes down to today.
Either we heal as a team or we are going to crumble.
Inch by inch, play by play, till we’re finished.

We are in hell right now, gentlemen, ladies, believe me and we can stay here and get the shit kicked out of us or we can fight our way back into the light.
We can climb out of hell.
One inch, at a time.

Now I can’t do it for you.
I’m too old.

I look around and I see these young faces and I think
I mean…I made every wrong choice a middle age man could make.
I pissed away all my money, believe it or not.
I chased off, anyone who has ever loved me.
And lately, I can’t even stand the face I see in the mirror.

You know when you get old in life things get taken from you.
That’s, that’s part of life.
But, you only learn that when you start losing stuff.
You find out that life is just a game of inches.
So is recruitment.

Because in either game life or recruitment the margin for error is so small.
I mean one half step too late or too early you don’t quite make it.
One half second too slow or too fast and you don’t quite catch it.
The inches we need are everywhere around us.
They are in ever break of the game
every minute, every second.

On this team, we fight for that inch
On this team, we tear ourselves, and everyone around us to pieces for that inch.
We claw with our finger nails for that inch.
Cause we know when we add up all those inches that’s going to make the difference between winning and losing, between living and dying.

I’ll tell you this.

In any fight it is the guy who is willing to die who is going to win that inch.
And I know if I am going to have any life anymore it is because, I am still willing to fight, and die for that inch because that is what living is.
The six inches in front of your face.

Now I can’t make you do it.
You’ve got to look at the person next to you.
Look into his or her eyes.
Now I think you are going to see someone who will go that inch with you.
You are going to see someone who will sacrifice himself for this team because he knows when it comes down to it, you are going to do the same thing for them.

That’s a team, people and either we heal now, as a team, or we will die as individuals.

That’s recruitment guys.

That’s all it is.

I have background in executive search and selection, headhunting and senior level recruitment combined with people and business management experiences. My focus has always been on the IT services, technology and management consultancy sectors on a permanent and interim basis where I have developed a personal portfolio that covers areas such as EVP, social recruitment and the successful creation of talent pools as well the management and leadership of corporate talent acquisition teams.

Currently working across Europe with high growth, high tech organisations to develop effective blended onshore/offshore recruitment models, covering full commercial engagement, transition and ongoing delivery management.

I am an avid blogger, writer, public speaker and traveller of trains across the UK.

Follow me on twitter @MDangerfield or find me on Linkedin.