Value in Focus: Always Do the Right Thing

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: Always do the right thing

When we were defining this value, key words and phrases associated with it included: integrity, long term view, tough honesty, putting the needs of others first, pay it forward, fairness and win / win relationships. We believe that by taking a long term view on how we can best support our key stakeholders to realise their potential, we will also ‘win’ in the long run – this often has a short term cost, but it is always worth it. As with all our values, it starts with how we work with each other and extends to our approach and expectations when we work with external stakeholders.

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:

Always do the right thing for our Clients

To have long term success in our industry you simply have to have the long-term interest of your clients at the heart of the service you provide – that is a given, and if you don’t, you don’t last in our industry, let alone our company.

We are interested in long term relationships, the best of which all have strong two-way communication and, where necessary, brutal honesty at their heart. As such, we do not shy away from tough conversations and we ask our clients to approach the relationship in the same spirit.

A great example of this in action was a long term client who phoned me to share some less than positive feedback about us from a contact of theirs. As a consequence of this we were able to address the issue, mend the relationship with the third party, learn and move forward. The same client at a later stage asked us to run a review of their entire recruitment process, expecting a similar level of open, honest and transparent feedback. On both occasions it would have been easier and perhaps superficially ‘nicer’ not to pass on negative feedback – however I firmly believe that both organisations are far better off from the candour.

Always do the right thing for our Candidates  

We start each candidate relationship with the desire to understand what makes that person tick and what their long-term aspirations are. We want to play our part in helping them realise their potential, not just in finding their next job.

As with our client relationships, giving advise that is focused on the long term is a basic qualifier for reputational survival in the industry and in our company.

This often necessitates helping candidates step back from ‘next job’ thinking to see and plan for the future. With key career goals for the medium and long term in place, we are better placed to advise on immediate next steps.

Mutual feedback is also core to our approach with candidates. If we don’t think someone is right for a role, we will tell them; if a CV is not as well written as it could be, we will say so and if their interview technique needs improvement, we will point this out. Helping you achieve your potential sits inside our purpose – we hope that you will feed back candidly as to where we can be better too.

Always do the right thing for our Colleagues

Treating people the way you would like to be treated, sharing information, coaching a consultant in someone else’s team, missing out on personal glory for the benefit of a colleague, picking up the phone to someone who seems down when you would rather switch off for the day. These and many other acts of ‘self-sacrifice’ are how this value plays out internally.

We find that when we all operate this way ‘what goes around tends to come around’ and we all win in time. We look to create a win-win culture not an I lose, you win situation and if we find someone, or an internal system that accidentally (or otherwise) takes advantage of this good natured intent – we address the situation head on.

We are competitive people and internally ‘always doing the right thing’ ensures that the competition is externally focused and the desire to be ‘famous for excellence’ internally does not lead to selfish behaviour.

Always do the right thing for our Community

We define ‘community’ as the social and environmental causes that are important to us.

We see it as a privilege to be able to step in and support these causes both individually and collectively and we think it is right for businesses (including our own) to invest their time and resources in the wider community and environment that ultimately sustains us all.

Indeed, this is where many of us find additional meaning in our work and the team building challenges we take on.

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.

Livingston James Group is a portfolio of specialist executive search and talent advisory businesses comprising: Livingston JamesRutherford Cross ; Drummond Bridge; and Hamilton Forth.

Jamie Livingston is Group Chairman and CEO.

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