Posted12 September 2016

Now I appreciate this may be a thorny issue for many of those reading this article however, in my opinion, it's a question which really needs to be addressed. Evolution or Execution - so, what do I mean?

As an experienced Executive Search & Interim Management recruitment director, I ask my clients this question regularly - I might not phrase it quite so bluntly, but ask it I certainly do. Each time I meet with someone, Skype someone, Face-Time someone, even email someone I try to add value, provide insight, or impart knowledge so that we have evolved from where we began. Unfortunately, on some occasions, the courtesy is not reciprocated. Why is it?

Over the last 15+ years I have met and worked with clients from all sectors, within Asia, India, Europe, and the Americas at various levels and one of the reasons I secured & appointed the mandates was because of my specialist knowledge and detailed, value added approach. The clients all wanted market intelligence, market analysis, an up-to-the-minute appraisal of the candidate market locally, nationally, and internationally, an accurate and effective process that is right first time, every time - this is Evolution. The reason for using the services of an external supplier with a deep specialisation, robust and diligent processes and an effective and accurate competency based measurement tool is because the internal options were limited (either by expertise or time or both) - this too is Evolution. Working in partnership, challenging the requirements and scope of the role and including current employees in the process is also Evolution.

So then, what is Execution? For me, when a client wants to keep me at arm’s length (they channel everything through a portal or a talent acquisition person and/or refuses to have the hiring director enter into open direct dialogue) I can already sense they are looking for Execution. This is because they already have their methods and processes in place and do not want to deviate away from these - meaning they are looking for me to Execute the mandate to their methodology and timelines - this is Execution. In addition, when the mandate briefing goes well and the client embraces Evolution but then expects the fees to fall in line with their "one size fits all" tariff - they are (often) just going through the motions because Evolution inevitably comes at some sort of cost - this is Execution.

I believe that each of us have chosen "Execution" over "Evolution" at some point in our professional and personal lives - that's only natural. However, in my experience, nobody lives or works with the intention of staying the same forever - at some point, for some reason, a trigger point is reached and the instinct or desire to do better, to be better, to achieve more (Evolution) becomes too strong to resist. We are bold, we trust in ourselves and others, we are charged with adrenaline and excitement at the prospect of personal and/or professional growth. Then, as our journey progresses, we begin to "settle" for things, become fearful of change and trusting those we don't know, we become accountable and fear failure resulting in "taking the safer option/meeting expectations" rather than exceeding (Execution).

I will always follow the Evolution route - it doesn't mean that I will not undertake Execution though - because I believe we should all empower, improve, and evolve others whenever we can. Sure, there may be some price to pay but, in my experience, nobody starts life wanting to remain a baby. At some point, for some reason a trigger point is reached and Evolution occurs. It's a trust thing - trust yourself and trust others - you may not always be right, but you may learn something new and Evolve.