In earlier posts I have talked about how, with purpose set, our values guide our behaviours and consequently the experience people have when we are partnering with them. Once people understand the positioning of each of our brands, it is our underlying motivation (why / purpose) coupled with our behaviours (culture guided by values) that truly creates a USP.
Having unpacked our purpose and why our values are important to us, this series will take each of our values in turn and outline how we aspire for them to influence and shape the experience and outcomes for each of our key stake holder groups: our Clients, Candidates, Colleagues and Community.
Next up: Be passionate and determined
When we were defining this value, key words and phrases associated included; hunger, resilience, ambition, competition, commitment, getting back up when knocked down, leave nothing on the park, going the distance, going the extra mile. Our ‘why’ gets us fired up and we really care about the impact we have the opportunity to make with and for our stakeholders. When the going gets tough, when our backs are against the wall, we remind ourselves of this value and how the attitude it embodies is often the difference between winning and losing and how it is so often the spark that brings the other values to life.
As ever, our purpose sets the ‘true north’ for everything we do: We are here to advise and support people and organisations to realise their potential, so that together we can impact lives and communities for the better. Our values then inform ‘how we do what we do’ on a human level.
To bring this to life let’s look at how this value impacts each of our stakeholder groups:
Be passionate and determined for our Clients
When we set the business up, just over 10 years ago in early 2010, we didn’t have a track record to point to, we didn’t have an established brand name, we didn’t have any whizzy new technology, and we had a market place that had a number of well-established competitors in it that told us it was a closed shop.
What we did have was a commitment to making positive difference for our clients and bucket loads of passion and determination. When we won work that our competition had previously seen ‘by right’ to be theirs, often the feedback we would get was that we just seemed to care more than anyone else.
It is this care for the outcomes for our clients that sees us going the extra mile when a search gets tough, it is this commitment to delivery that has us try to speak to that perfect candidate one more time before submitting the shortlist, it is this passion for the clients we work with that the candidate buys into when we reach out on your behalf.
It is this attitude that sees us win for you.
Be passionate and determined for our Candidates
Sometimes we need to stick our professional necks on the line for a particular candidate, sometimes the experience we have built up over the years tells us that, whilst there may be better candidates on paper, our client really should meet you. This takes guts and this only works when our client sees that we are truly passionate about you and when we are resolute in our recommendation.
Making sure that candidates are appropriately prepared for interview often requires us to ‘go the extra mile’, to have that extra cup of coffee with you, to send that extra detail, to run through your presentation again. The right person getting the role means making sure everyone has fair opportunity to give of their best when being assessed and, whilst we are involved in interview processes every day, we know you are not and we are committed to help you make your best impression.
An example of this in action was exemplified by an email we received from a candidate who was returning to Australia after a number of years in the UK. They dropped a note to one of our team saying how helpful they had been, and how grateful they were for the care and support they had received from them over the last few years. The interesting thing is the candidate hadn’t secured a role through us, but the experience had been such that they felt prompted to write a note at a point when it was unlikely we would be directly able to help them in the future. It says a lot about that candidate (thank you if you are reading!) and I’d like to think about the passion and determination shown by the consultant working with them.
Be passionate and determined for our Colleagues
The attitude that this value evokes is infectious. It’s pretty hard to respond to passion and determination around you with anything but the same attitude – this is the first way this value impacts our colleagues.
It is also evident when going the extra mile for a colleague is required for their benefit and not yours. Staying late to help with a proposal, taking time to role-play in advance of a big pitch, celebrating their wins, commiserating with their losses – supporting their efforts to realise their potential as they aspire to it.
We often talk about ‘leaving nothing on the park’ – this competitive, collegiate, committed approach is taken to winning work, to delivering on assignments and to supporting each other to do the same. We have high expectations of ourselves and each other and we know that the only way to be consistently ‘famous for excellence’ is to be completely committed to continuous professional development.
Be passionate and determined for our Community
We define ‘community’ as the social and environmental causes that are important to us.
Every colleague is encouraged to select a charitable cause that they are passionate about and, along with financial contribution, the company supports two fully paid days of work on behalf of this cause. We know that many of these causes are deeply personal and we want the people who work with us to know that their work not only impacts their clients, candidates, and colleagues but also the social and environmental causes that are most important to them.
In the area of fundraising, amongst the various dinners, lunches, and wine/gin tasting events we organise, every year we run a ‘corporate challenge’. This has ranged from completing the Four Peaks, Coast to Coast, and Caledonian challenges, through cycling around Arran then climbing Goat Fell, to completing a virtual North Coast 500 under lockdown. Speaking from personal experience (and a rather low level of fitness!) passion and determination for the cause are absolutely required to complete these challenges every year!
Whilst we will occasionally select a ‘group’ charity for a particular event, we believe the key to unlocking the passion and determination of our people is allowing them to select the individual causes that are most important to them.
In our experience, helping connect people to their passion has amazing results.
If working with a purpose and values-led search provider is of interest to you please get in touch and we will connect you to the right colleague. Our shared purpose and values provide consistency of approach across our group, our bespoke brands and business models ensure that solutions are tailored to your specific needs.
Jamie Livingston is Group Chairman and CEO.