About The BCG Attorney Search Core Values
Since these core values were adopted, we have gone from a company with fewer than 10 employees to an organization that has more than 200 people and is growing on an almost weekly basis. In fact, our companies collectively now get more attorneys jobs than any other group of companies in the world and have expanded to fi elds such as journalism, banking, real estate, printing, and more. Collectively, the revenues of our attorney employment companies surpass that of any other group of attorney employment companies in the world. You are part of the largest and most successful group of its kind in the world, a signifi cant group of people that is doing great things throughout the world.
The values were codified for us back in 2000 by a consultant who was in attendance and summed up our meetings by noting the values in our organization that he believed we were embracing. He also told us that he believed the values we had embraced as an organization would carry us forward to do great things. I remember one of our recruiters-who is still with us-asking him, ''Are you sure? Or are you just saying that?'' The consultant was clear with her that he believed we were headed for great things as an organization.
Each year, more and more exciting things seem to come out of our embracing these values. Each year, our revenues go up; each year, we expand into new lines of business; each year, we grow; and each year, almost everyone who is with us does much better than they did the year before. Where will these values take us, and what is next?
Each year, we review the BCG Attorney Search core values at the beginning of BCG College to remind ourselves of our roots, as well as where we have been as an organization and where we are going. Our core values ground us as an organization; they are essential to understanding who we are. Recruiters who have embraced these values in their careers have always succeeded with us. I hope you listen and learn.
''It's what you learn after you know everything that counts.''
BCG Attorney Search Core Values
- WE MUST GET ATTORNEYS JOBS
- WE MUST DOMINATE THE MARKET
- WE MUST CONSTANTLY CHANGE RULES OF GAME
- WE MUST CONSTANTLY USE TECHNOLOGY TO DRIVE INNOVATION
- WE MUST BE A TEAM
- WE MUST HAVE FUN
CORE VALUE 1 : WE MUST GET ATTORNEYS JOBS
Core Observation: The reason our jobs exist is to get attorneys jobs.
Our jobs exist to get attorneys jobs. When you deconstruct this statement, you realize that this statement focuses on others and has nothing to do with you. It has everything to do with others.
The greatest gift you can provide someone is the ability to work. Ours is the noblest profession possible because we are providing people the ability to work. Some people might ask, ''What is noble about getting attorneys jobs and helping them work?'' When you help people work, you are improving their lives and the lives of their families. You are contributing to society and enriching people in a unique manner.
Money is only clamshells or metal discs or scraps of paper, and there are treasures of the heart and soul that money cannot buy; but most people, being broke, are unable to keep this in mind and sustain their spirits. When a man is down and out and on the street, unable to get any job at all, something happens to his spirit which can be observed in the droop of his shoulders, the set of his hat, his walk, and his gaze. He cannot escape a feeling of inferiority among people with regular employment, even though he knows they are defi - nitely not his equals in character, intelligence, or ability.
These people-even his friends-feel, on the other hand, a sense of superiority and regard him, perhaps unconsciously, as a casualty. He may borrow for a time, but not enough to carry on in his accustomed way, and he cannot continue to borrow very long.
But borrowing in itself, when a man is borrowing merely to live, is a depressing experience, and the money lacks the power of earned money to revive his spirits. Of course, none of this applies to bums or habitual ne'er-do-wells, but only to men of normal ambitions and self-respect.
Women in the same predicament must be different. We somehow do not think of women at all in considering the down-and-outers. They are scarce in the breadlines, they rarely are seen begging on the streets, and they are not recognizable in crowds by the same plain signs which identify busted men. Of course, I do not mean the shuffling hags of the city streets who are the opposite number of the confi rmed male bums. I mean reasonably young, decent and intelligent women. There must be many of them, but their despair is not apparent. Maybe they kill themselves.
When a man is down and out he has time on his hands for brooding. He may travel miles to see a man about a job and discover that the job is fi lled or that it is one of those jobs with no base pay but only a commission on the sale of some useless knick-knack which nobody would buy, except out of pity. Turning that down, he fi nds himself back on the street with nowhere to go but just anywhere. So he walks and walks. He gazes into store windows at luxuries which are not for him, and feels inferior and gives way to people who stop to look with an active interest. He wanders into the railroad station or puts himself down in the library to ease his legs and soak up a little heat, but that isn't looking for a job, so he gets going again. He may not know it, but his aimlessness would give him away even if the very lines of his fi gure did not. He may be well dressed in the clothes left over from the days when he had a steady job, but the clothes cannot disguise the droop.
He sees thousands of other people, bookkeepers or clerks or chemists or wagon hands, busy at their work and envies them from the bottom of his soul. They have their independence, their self-respect and manhood, and he simply cannot convince himself that he is a good man, too, though he argue it out and arrive at a favorable verdict hour after hour.
It is just money which makes this difference in him. With a little money he would be himself again.
-Westbrook Pegler, in the New York World-Telegram.
IT'S ALL ABOUT THEM AND NEVER ABOUT YOU: GIVE MORE THAN YOU GET BACK
How well connected are you to the attorneys you are working with? The most important key to becoming a great recruiter is understanding the value or result or benefi t or advantage that the attorney is seeking and giving him/her more of that.
Connectivity is what every relationship is built upon. It's nothing more than getting in touch; feeling what the attorneys you are working with feel; seeing life the way they see life; looking at situations from their point of view on their side of the desk; looking at their lives; and understanding their hopes, their dreams, their fears. It's a very powerful shift in the way you do conduct yourself, but one that will put so much more enjoyment, excitement, and effectiveness into everything you do and everyone who does it with you.
The mindset of a good recruiter is based on always getting the highest and best use of your value, your time, and your passion. In other words, it's based on optimization. It's understanding your purpose too. It's fi guring out what the heck you are trying to do and why you are doing it. It's not just about making money, but the nobler transcendent value of what you're doing. Always making sure that everything you do in every aspect of your life gives as much or more value to others as you get back.
Adding value is not just an abstract thought. It's a real connection you make with everyone you deal with in your professional or personal lives. For example, when you're out at a restaurant and an overworked server comes up to you, it's about connecting with that person. It's conveying to him/her that you appreciate what he/she is doing, that he/she is adding pleasure to your dining. You know it's difficult, and you're thankful. And it's smiling from the depth of your heart because you know that gives him/her acknowledgement, that makes it worthwhile and thanks him/her for his/her effort. It's carrying that same sense of purpose and passion everywhere you go, and in everything you do, and realizing it's all about them. It's never about you.
When you're externally focused, when you're connected and compelled to make the experience or transaction better for the other side, you cannot help but succeed at a higher level than you ever dreamed possible. As Fran Tarkenton likes to put it, ''In everything you do, your purpose should be to help make someone's life better.''
Now, when it comes to getting what you want, you've got to believe you deserve it.
You need a vision for you life that inspires you-a clear picture of what is possible for you and what you can give others. Your vision is a picture of how you're going to fulfi ll your purpose. And remember, your vision is only going to happen when you see it as worthwhile, when you see it in terms of what it's going to do for others. Once again, the key here is to identify the value and contribution you add to every transaction you're involved in.
To experience the across-the-board success and fulfi llment you're capable of, you need to believe you deserve it. And that becomes impossible if you compromise your integrity. Once again, your whole focus should be helping to make someone's life better.
THE GARBAGE MAN LESSON
''When you become detached mentally from yourself and concentrate on helping other people with their diffi culties, you will be able to cope with your own more effectively. Somehow, the act of self-giving is a personal power-releasing factor.''
-Norman Vincent Peale
One of the Most Signifi cant Lessons I Have Ever Learned
While I am no expert in the laws of the universe, one thing that I have constantly noticed is that when you stop thinking about yourself in business and concentrate on the needs of others, you will begin to do well. I have seen this rule repeat itself many times, and this rule, I believe, is one of the largest keys to success.
When I was in high school, I started an asphalt business. I started this business almost exclusively because I wanted to make money for college. I worked at this business for about two months, and roughly four weeks of that was part of the summer. My sole objective with this business was to make money. While there are many entertaining stories I could tell, to make a long story short-after several weeks of doing this business, I lost a great deal of money, had done very poor work, and had failed-miserably. There were a lot of people that were upset with me for my shoddy work. When I did my job, the only thing I had thought about was making money and fi nishing my work. The customer was certainly not my top priority. I was.
Because I absolutely had to make money for college, I became a garbage man for $5.00 an hour and worked from 5:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Monday through Friday in order to save money for college. I did this throughout most of the summer. It was not a fun job, and the people I worked with left a lot to be desired. One day, the driver of the truck on I was riding on the back of was pulled over by the police and arrested because he had assaulted a women the evening before. I was then delegated to another truck and the driver of this truck told me one day that if was not careful, he would ''cut me up.''
Even though I had basically quit the asphalt business, the phone in my home still rang constantly with complaints about my shoddy asphalt workmanship and demands that I come and fi x the work. Towards the end of the summer, I had saved slightly more than $1,000 and went to a hardware store to buy supplies in order to fi x one of the jobs I had botched. I did not have to fi x the job, as I had already been paid, but I believed it was important to ensure that I fi xed every job that I messed up before I went off to college.
As I was buying supplies, I noticed an older man asking a hardware store clerk questions about various asphalt products. The clerk did not know the answers, but I did, so I approached the man and began answering his questions. I was surprised how much I knew about asphalt, and I must have answered his questions for over an hour. Despite the fact that I was not a talented asphalt contractor, I did know quite a bit about asphalt!
This man owned large apartment complex and was planning on having his maintenance man do a large resurfacing project on the complex. In our conversation, I told him how much he should be paying for the work, the best material to buy, how to apply it and how to ensure that his maintenance man did a good job. At the end of the conversation, the man asked me if I would go and look at his apartment complex to provide him with more tips.
Not even thinking about the money (I was actually interested in the PROCESS-and helping this older man!), I went and looked at the complex and then called the man and told him everything I recommended he do with this particular asphalt. The man then asked me for my phone number in case he had any questions. I hung up the phone feeling good about assisting the man with his questions. Throughout my whole exchange with this man, I never expected anything in return.
A day or two later, the phone in my house rang again. I was not in the habit of answering the phone, because I was always afraid it would be another complaint! My mother answered the phone and told me it was the man from the hardware store. He wanted me to do the work on the apartment complex for him! I could not believe it. He said something to the effect of:
''You care about the work. You will look out for me. I want you to do this because I know you will do a better job than anyone else I could ever fi nd.''
To make a long story short, I made more than $3,000.00 in just over two days. And the job turned out perfectly! I have since done a great deal of work for this man over the years.
I took a lot from this experience, and the concepts that stick out are selfl essness and being concerned about your work. Two summers later, when I was only 20 years old, and I am confi dent I did more driveway resurfacing than any other contractor in Michigan. I did this work throughout college, law school, and even after law school! I loved the work! I owed all of this success, I believe, to the realization that in business you can never concentrate on yourself. While I did not save everything from this business, today I literally owe my home and much of my current motivation to that one lesson in selfl essness-and caring about your work-that the man in the hardware store unknowingly taught me.
GREAT BUSINESSES ARE CONNECTED TO THEIR CUSTOMERS
''We are in the business of preserving and improving human life. All of our actions must be measured by the success in achieving this goal.''
-Merck & Company, Internal Management Guide
''I want to ... express the principles upon which we in company have endeavored to live up to ... Here is how it sums up: We try to remember that medicine is for the patient. We try never to forget that medicine is for the people. It is not for the profi ts. The profi ts follow, and if we have remembered that, they have never failed to appear. The better we have remembered it, the larger they have been.''
-George Merck II
''Imagine that all of us were suddenly transported to the year 2091. Much [of our strategy and methods] would have been changed by developments we cannot anticipate. But no matter what changed might have occurred in the Company, I know we would fi nd one thing remained the same-and that thing matters most: the...spirit of Merck people... A century from now, I believe we would fee the same esprit de corps... I believe this, above all, because Merck's dedication to fi ghting disease, relieving suffering, and helping people is a righteous cause-one that inspires people to dream of doing great things. It is a timeless cause, and it will lead Merck people to great achievements during the next hundred years.''
POINTS TO PONDER
The Fox and the hedgehog The hedgehog does one thing; the fox does many things. We are focused on one thing. The business purpose behind our goal is simple: It makes us better at what we do.
Success at BCG Attorney Search depends on embracing the Core Value of getting attorneys jobs. Whether or not we realize it, the people who succeed and do not succeed here are people who embrace and understand this value. Success-both present and future (long-term)-has its characteristics:
- Quality of submissions,
- Work ethic,
- Ability to identify with others,
- How closely you are willing to look at the job market,
- How selfl ess you are,
- Long-term commitment,
- Work product,
- Contribution on multiple levels (not just recruiting),
Understanding the importance of work Work is the most important component of life. It takes the most of our time and determines the quality of our existence. Helping others to work is among the most important tasks there is. We better the lives and futures of others.
Because the most important part of our job is to get attorneys jobs, every action we take should be geared towards this. It is inappropriate to represent people we cannot help. As recruiters, we should be adding a tremendous amount of value to the process of getting an attorney a job. The value we add:
- Having done research to fi nd jobs,
- Having the persuasive power to get attorneys to apply for certain jobs,
- Having the ability to construct persuasive presentations to law fi rms,
- Protecting a candidate's confi dentiality,
- Understanding the nuances of the job-search process and counseling candidates of the appropriate steps to take each step of the way,
- Having the ears of decision makers inside law fi rms,
- Protecting a candidate's confi dence throughout the job-search process,
- Closing deals on both sides and making action occur
''..[It] is a process of diverting one's scattered forces into one powerful channel.''
''Success: My nomination for the single most important ingredient is energy well directed.''
''You don't build it for yourself. You know what people want, and you build it for them.''
CORE VALUE 2: WE MUST DOMINATE THE MARKET
Core Value Observation: In order to dominate the market, we must be the best branded business in our fi eld.
''All I know,'' said Will Rogers, ''is just what I read in the papers.'' It's true. Most people ''know'' what they read, see, or hear in the media or what they learn from people they trust.
Life is complicated. Who has the time to independently check the quality or features of the wide variety of products and services that one might want to purchase? We let ourselves be led around by others.
Who makes the best automobiles? Ask the average person this question, and you'll often get the answer Mercedes-Benz. The conversation may go like this:
''Do you own one?''
''Have you ever driven one?''
''Do you know anyone who owns one?''
Most people determine what is best by fi nding out what other people think is best.
You can't live in a modern world observing the reality with just your own eyes and ears. You have to depend on the eyes and ears of third-party sources that stand between you and reality.
Leadership alone is one of the primary objectives of any marketing program. It's why businesses try to create new categories (so they can start the brand from day one as a leader). It's why certain companies want to be the fi rst brand in a new category (so they can have a head start on the competition). It's why companies attempt to promote their leadership (so prospects assume that your brand must be the best because everyone knows the better product will win in the marketplace).
''The advantage of leadership is credibility. Leadership is not debatable. There can only be one sales leader in a given category. Leadership has the implied benefit of 'betterness.''' -AOL
FROM BUSINESS MODEL WARFARE (ARTICLE ATTACHED IN MATERIALS)
The average lifespan of a major corporation isn't very long. If current trends hold, only one-quarter of today's S&P 500 companies will be part of the index by 2020, and the other three-quarters probably don't even exist yet.
In today's turbulent markets, companies that were once dominant are struggling to survive, and managers are constantly probing to understand what makes the difference between success and failure. Looking at today's companies, for example, we might ask why the market capitalization of Southwest Airlines is greater than that of United, American, Delta, and Northwest Airlines combined? Why is GM's Saturn subsidiary successful while its Oldsmobile unit [has been] put out of business? Why are Fedex, Charles Schwab, and Home Depot widely admired, while Webvan and AtHome and Netscape are gone, and Enron, WorldCom, Xerox, and apparently quite a few others resorted to falsifi ed accounting to preserve the illusion of success when failure loomed?
There's a story behind each of these business successes and business failures. Sometimes it's a story of a great idea; sometimes it's one that failed. Sometimes it's a story of insightful management or management that failed. But almost always it's a story about change-change in the market, change in the economy, change in a particular product or service that transformed a failure into a success, or vice versa. While we study the stories to learn about the specifi c changes, events, insights, and breakdowns in each case, we also look for broader and deeper explanations that show how change applies across industries and the whole of the economy.
POINTS TO PONDER
Market dominators are well branded. Consider the recent success of Yahoo!, Starbucks, and Kinko's. Each of these businesses pursued a relentless branding strategy.
If you ask 100 people what their preferred choice of a search engine is, a large proportion of them is likely to say Yahoo! This result came in the market despite the fact that many other search engines-such as Alta- Vista, Northern Light, and others-were consistently rated better.
Yahoo!'s entire business strategy was based on branding. For years, Yahoo! lost millions of dollars, much of it simply getting its name out. It published Yahoo! Magazine and ensured that bookstores and newsstands displayed it-effectively creating billboards. The company ran millions of dollars of television commercials each year that delivered a simple, brand-driven message: Do You Yahoo!
And we do.
Distinction between products and services the typical product possesses one trait: It is tangible. As a result, we buy products because of their inherent qualities and their symbolic ones-Coach briefcases, Hermes scarves, Volvo automobiles. People buy these because of how they perform and what they say about their owners.
Products are made; services are delivered.
Products are used; services are experienced.
Services are invisible to everyone. We do not try to keep up with the Joneses' choice of orthodontist, Internet service provider, or therapist. (Indeed, our relationships with therapists, doctors, lawyers, and others are protected from public scrutiny by rules of evidence and laws.)
Services differ from products in one important way: control. You own the product you buy. You control it. Your services, however, are most apt to control you. The doctor or dentist determines what you need and when and how you will receive it. If you seek advice from a service, you fi nd yourself at the provider's mercy.
We crave control, but feel a lack of it with services, so we feel less comfortable in relationships with services. We need their reassurance that they will use their control intelligently and in our best interest. With few exceptions-our choice of amusement parks, comedy clubs, and some restaurants, for example-we need to know the service is serious, experienced, consistent, and reliable.
Why BCG Attorney Search must be the best-branded legal recruiting business and dominate the market:
- Passive recruiting model demands familiarity;
- Consumers will choose the most familiar business;
- People who work here will be proud of company;
- Company needs to survive;
- It will enable us to infl uence more people;
- It will make us an authority in our fi eld;
- It will make people believe we are reliable;
- It will make people believe we are serious;
- It will make people believe we are experienced;
- Economic rewards.
We must connect with people. Consumers buy more than things; they purchase connections. (The remarkably named businesswoman Silver Rose described this perfectly. ''I think adults invented work,'' she observed, ''so that they could play together all day.'')
Our lives seem increasingly disconnected. Our drive for connection grows more intense. Making genuine, human connections becomes more important everywhere-not the least of which in our businesses every day.
- Being viewed as experts
- Being the only logical choice for attorneys
- Having the most openings
- Being in multiple places at once (law school, unqualifi ed attorneys)
- Having access to the most attorneys
- Continually growing
Effective marketing is simply the process of educating people about the advantages and the benefits of your offer and compelling them to choose your product or service over those of your competitors.
''To my imagination, it is far more satisfactory to look at [well-adapted] specifi es not as specially endowed or created instincts, but as small consequences of one general law leading to the advancement of all organic beings-namely, multiply, vary, let the strongest live and the weakest die.''
-Charles Darwin, Origin of Species
''Even those deaf to the bragging cries of the marketplace will listen to a friend.''
CORE VALUE 3: WE CONSTANTLY CHANGE THE RULES OF THE GAME
Core Observation: Consumers tend to jump on the bandwagons leading up and jump off those leading down. A bandwagon with positive direction attracts buyers; one with negative direction repels them.
Business is competitive and is always changing. The rules are always changing. If we do not change, we will be left behind.
This situation is so challenging, in fact, that commonly a company that was a market leader before the change isn't a leader after, because the shift was so signifi cant that a new company wrested vital market share away from the former leader.
For example, the fi rst generation of North American autos was dominated by Ford, but in the 1920s, General Motors' organizational and product innovations shifted the industry into a second generation and moved GM to leadership. Quality and effi ciency became important factors in the third generation, beginning in the 1970s, and Honda and Toyota became leaders not only in North America, but also throughout the world-a position they still maintain.
Change in the PC industry has been much faster, and leadership has shifted frequently.
Xerox invented the PC, but couldn't market it successfully. Apple copied Xerox and set a new standard. IBM surpassed them both, but then unintentionally ceded control of the industry to Intel and Microsoft, and then its own product was soon passed by Compaq, which was then acquired by HP in its struggle to compete with Dell.
Twentieth-century dominance in retail shifted from Sears, Montgomery Ward, and JC Penney to Kmart and then to Target, Wal-Mart, and Home Depot, as computer technology has taken over inventory and supplychain management.
The same patterns are evident in almost every industry, including fi nancial services, airlines, media, and telecommunications. Signifi cant change in product/service generations in almost every case has brought new companies to the forefront, and many that were formerly leaders have lost their dominant positions.
One of the key insights we get by observing these kinds of changes is a sense of how important it is to have not only clear thinking and clever strategy, but also signifi cant and deep insights, creativity, and innovativeness when dealing with change.
In a world of wickedly proliferating problems, superior ability to deal with them may provide a key competitive advantage. This ability involves skills related to effectively understanding, diagnosing, analyzing, modeling, creating, inventing, solving, communicating, and implementing.
These are all attributes that we might consider facets of learning, and any organization that thrives in a rapidly changing environment necessarily has developed the capability to learn and to apply that learning to keep up with the changes.
Hence, we get Arie de Geus' insight that the company that learns fastest-and is able to translate that learning into products, processes, and structures-wins.
The advantage gains signifi cance the faster a company can learn, the faster it can produce the next product. By creating a positive self-reinforcing feedback loop of accelerated learning, it attains shorter product life cycles and quicker learning. Of course, there's a danger with this tightening spiral: A product has to survive in the market long enough to return a profi t. But the competitive dynamics of the market are compressing inexorably in spite of what may be good for any one company, and so like an arms race, there's no choice but to keep up.
In spite of the dangers, then, developing the capacity to systemically reduce the cycle time is a powerful force. Toyota perfected cycle-time reduction in its many-decades drive to reduce the time required to change production models on its assembly lines, and the analogous process is now needed for the thinking challenges related to problem solving and dealing with complexity.
At its root, what we're talking about could be called the productivity of knowledge work. Productivity is the ratio of investment required to results obtained. In the auto industry, this might be measured as personhours per car manufactured; in a bank, it might be cost per transaction; in a software company, it might be person-years required to produce a new program.
But while these examples deal primarily with productivity in ''production'' environments, we are more interested in attaining improved outcomes in an environment of unknowns, where the central task is to create new knowledge to solve new problems.
This is not to say that building cars and managing banks are not complex activities, but the distinction is a critical one, because there is a substantial difference between progressive refi nements attained in a mature or proven domain and the breakthrough kinds of insights that lead to a competitive advantage-or better yet, sustainable competitive advantages.
And yet another issue is the tendency toward ''groupthink,'' a natural human pattern of conformist behavior that often results in suppressed innovativeness and lost innovations. The ability to follow a norm holds society together, yet it also excludes behavior and innovations that may be found on the periphery of the norm. People also have a tendency to mimic exemplars, and if the exemplars are focused on effi ciency to the exclusion of innovation, group behavior will trend with this focus. All of these tendencies merge together when you hear the line that begins, ''We don't do things that way here ....''-which is generally offered as suffi cient reason not to do whatever it is that you happen to need at that particular moment. There may be a good reason why we don't do things that way here, but often the reason is simply that, for better or worse, that's the way we've always done it, and the person in front of you is not about to take the organizational risk of doing it differently.
When the marketplace was more stable, when competitors were not changing particularly quickly, then it may have been perfectly adequate for organizations to be dominated by status quo thinking tempered by incremental improvement and diligent reduction of waste. Today, however, markets consistently devalue organizations that are not innovative.
This means that innovative behavior that leads to innovative results is of greater importance than ever, so we need to fi nd ways to enable people to see the latent possibilities that have been hidden beneath their repetitive everyday experiences.
Certainly, there is a very close linkage between the organizational dimension and the behavioral one. Therefore, an approach that promises to address innovation must deal with both, as well as numerous other dimensions. But before we get to that discussion, let us fi rst look at the market-driven consequences of noninnovative behavior.
Organizations that consistently fail to innovate develop ''innovation defi ciency syndrome,'' and sooner or later will experience a ''value call.'' A value call, like a margin call on a stock market investment, occurs when a company's value proposition becomes so weakened in the marketplace that it must quickly and decisively boost the market's perception of its value proposition or face a serious degradation of its image and its prospects. Resources that should have been invested into ongoing innovation are ''called'' into play by tapping resources that have been focused relentlessly on improvement.
Two recent examples (both on the extreme side): General Motors announced in early 2001 that due to declining sales, its Oldsmobile line, the oldest surviving brand in the U.S. auto industry, would be discontinued after the 2003 model year. Similarly, between March 2000 and March 2001, the aggregate value of NASDAQ stock market index declined from a high of 5500 to a low of less than 2000, as investors came to believe that the companies listed on the NASDAQ just didn't offer such high value as investments.
GM determined that it simply could not meet the requirements of the value call and folded the tent, while the NASDAQ companies, or at least those that survive, will see their values increase in line with more traditional performance measures.
Overall, innovation is one of only a handful of the possible responses to a value call. (Increasing effi ciency can also be a valid response.) However, given that the preponderance of people are status-quo oriented and given that organizations unintentionally drive out innovative behaviors, it quickly becomes apparent that companies may have diffi culty starting their innovation engines.
THE FIRST MAN TO CLIMB MOUNT EVEREST
Sir Edmund Hillary was one of the first two men to climb Mount Everest. On May 29, 1953, he scaled the highest mountain then known to man-29,000 feet straight up. He was knighted for his efforts. He even made American Express card commercials because of it! However, until we read his book, High Adventure, we don't understand that Hillary had to grow into this success. You see, in 1952, he attempted to climb Mount Everest, but failed. A few weeks later, a group in England asked him to address its members. Hillary walked on stage to a thunderous applause. The audience was recognizing an attempt at greatness, but Edmund Hillary saw himself as a failure. He moved away from the microphone and walked to the edge of the platform. He made a first and pointed at a picture of the mountain. He said in a loud voice, ''Mount Everest, you beat me the first time, but I'll beat you the next time because you've grown all you are going to grow...but I'm still growing!''
Consider for a moment all the goods and services you buy from companies that are no more than a generation old-airline tickets from Southwest Airlines, furniture from IKEA, computers from Dell, collectibles from eBay, video games from Nintendo, books from Amazon, and so forth. The world is hospitable to unorthodox newcomers.
An almost stupefying pace of change ensures that any business concept, no matter how brilliant, will over time lose its economic efficiency. Starbucks rapidly became America's premier coffee brand. The average Starbucks customer visits the store 18 times per month. Picture all the brand managers sitting in Switzerland less than a decade ago, running Nescafe, the world' best-selling coffee. Do you think they ever thought they could entice throngs of students and bus drivers to line up to pay three dollars for a cup of coffee? While they were worrying about things like market share, Procter & Gamble, and what color cans to put on supermarket shelves, they were losing market share.
Industry leaders exploit the protective urge, any hesitancy on the part of the oligarchy.
Never forget that it's all about your client and not about you, and when you really get that, everything else begins to fall in place.
Here is what happens: When the hallmark of your philosophy is to fall in love with your customer instead of your product or service and you clearly articulate and sell that philosophy to all concerned, your higher purpose becomes executing that philosophy by promoting, selling, and delivering the specific benefits your client is actually seeking in terms of using a legal recruiter.
What naturally follows from your customer-focused philosophy and purpose is that you become a dedicated innovator; you cannot bring the greatest value to your customer or client until you do. Your clients will tell you where you can add value, so ask them! This will automatically position yours as a caring, customerdriven enterprise.
POINTS TO PONDER
We must understand the weaknesses of our competition and exploit this. We are defi ned by what we are as much as we are defi ned by what we are not. The weaknesses of our competition are:
- Lack of investment in infrastructure,
- Protectionist thinking,
- Lack of a core value that demands getting attorneys jobs,
- Desire for money over doing the work well,
- Inability to get enthusiastic about candidates,
- Lack of a realization that the profession of recruiting is something That is just as important (if not more important) as the practice of law,
- Inability or lack of desire to continually improve,
- Not getting people on board who are committed with doing the absolute most exceptional job possible in the recruiting arena;
- Not getting rid of people not committed to doing the best possible job in the recruiting arena;
- Not adequately branding their business;
- The inability to constantly question what a recruiting fi rm should be;
- The inability to do things as they should be done all the time.
We Should Be
|Moving Away from Being
''Where you have been is not half as important as where you are going.''
''You can't just keep doing what works one time, because everything around you is always changing. To succeed, you have to stay out in front of that change.''
''We're proud of our successes. And we celebrate them. But the real excitement comes in fi guring out how we can do even better in the future. It's a never-ending process of seeing how far we can go. There's no ultimate fi nish line when we can say, 'We've arrived.' I never want us to be satisfi ed with our success, for that's when we'll begin to decline.''
-Hewlett-Packard Marketing Manager
CORE VALUE 4: WE MUST CONSTANTLY USE TECHNOLOGY TO DRIVE INNOVATION
Core Observation: ''If it were possible to establish conditions where persons could become united with a fi rm spirit of teamwork and exercise to their heart's desire their technological capacity...then such an organization could bring untold pleasures and untold benefits... Those of like minds have naturally come together to embark on these ideals.''
-Masaro Ibuka (founder of Sony, in his business plan)
Technological innovations have contributed more than any other single factor in America's economic history to long-term growth. Technological innovation has also contributed more than any other single factor-beyond our people-to our growth here.
Technology accounts for more than 50 percent of long-term growth in the United States. It is the single most important determinant of long-term economic growth.
Economic growth is driven by long-run investment in four basic categories of economic assets: human capital (labor), physical capital (land and equipment), fi nancial capital (money), and intellectual capital (technology). Technology is in a particularly strategic position among economic assets, as improvements in the productive capacity of capital and labor skills are often driven by advances in technology. The distribution of our investment among these four asset categories determines the levels of long-term domestic productivity growth, competitive trade positions, and economic growth.
Since Adam Smith, economists have recognized the importance of science and technology for increased productivity and long-term economic growth. Technological change can enable the economies of cities, regions, and nations to surge forward with dramatically increased rates of productivity growth and build longterm economic success, whereas without technological change, the per capita growth rate of an economy will inexorably tend toward zero. Throughout the history of the United States and other industrialized nations, macroeconomic studies have shown that scientifi c and technological change accounts for at least half of long-term growth. Many economists argue that, when we measure scientifi c and technical change properly, the fi gure is as high as 75 percent.
POINTS TO PONDER
We respect technology at BCG Attorney Search and realize its value to who we are as a group. One of the fi rst things that happened when this company was founded was the investment in technology. This investment continues to this day.
The database is one of the most signifi cant ways in which we communicate and assist with community building. Use the database to your advantage and realize its benefits.
Constant awareness of the need to invest in products and ideas will drive us forward.
''Sony is a pioneer and never intends to follow others. Through progress, Sony wants to serve the whole world. It shall be always a seeker of the unknown... Sony has a principal of respecting and encouraging one's ability...and always tries to bring out the best in a person. This is the vital force of Sony.''
-Akia Morita (Chairman of Sony, 1976)
CORE VALUE 5: WE MUST CONSTANTLY BE A TEAM
Observation: We are all a team with the objective of getting attorneys jobs. If you're not willing to do your absolute best to get attorneys jobs-to write an exceptional cover letter, to go the extra mile at all times, and to work with other recruiters to make this happen-then you just don't belong here, period. No one here is going to tell you to be a recruiting hero; it's expected.
In order to achieve effective teamwork, it must be embraced-in principle and in practice-by everyone in the organization. But, in my opinion, the best place for a teamwork initiative to start is at the top. By being a team, we can accomplish far more than any of us possibly could alone.
- In successful teams, team members are interdependent. They are willing to ask for help when they need it and offer help when they can provide it.
- Work groups compete inward. Teams compete outward. There are three things you can use to create healthy competition: a competitor in the marketplace, a team goal to be achieved, and a common problem to be solved.
- Team members are self starters. Because they understand the big picture, they don't need to be told what to do.
- Successful team members share both rewards and sacrifi ces. Don't expect people to make sacrifi ces if they won't get to share in the rewards later.
- The best thing you can strive for is not a team with a great leader, but a team of leaders.
The Story Doesn't End There
Once upon a time, a tortoise and a hare had an argument about who was faster. They decided to settle the argument with a race. They agreed on a route and started off the race. The hare shot ahead and ran briskly for some time. Seeing that he was far ahead of the tortoise, he thought he'd sit under a tree for some time and relax before continuing the race. He sat under the tree and soon fell asleep. The tortoise, plodding on, overtook him and soon fi nished the race, emerging as the undisputed champ. The hare woke up and realized that he'd lost the race.
The moral: Slow and steady wins the race. This is the version of the story that we've all grown up with.
THE STORY DOESN'T END HERE. There are few more interesting things. It continues as follows:
The hare was disappointed at losing the race, and he did some soul-searching. He realized that he'd lost the race only because he had been overconfi dent, careless, and lax. If he had not taken things for granted, there's no way the tortoise could have beaten him. So he challenged the tortoise to another race. The tortoise agreed. This time, the hare went all out and ran without stopping from start to fi nish. He won by several miles.
The moral: Fast and consistent will always beat the slow and steady. It's good to be slow and steady, but it's better to be fast and reliable.
THE STORY DOESN'T END HERE.
The tortoise did some thinking this time and realized that there's no way it can beat the hare in a race the way it was currently formatted. It thought for a while and then challenged the hare to another race, but on a slightly different route. The hare agreed. They started off. In keeping with his commitment to be consistently fast, the hare took off and ran at top speed until he came to a broad river. The fi nish line was on the other side of the river. The hare sat there, wondering what to do. In the meantime, the tortoise trundled along, got into the river, swam to the opposite bank, continued walking, and fi nished the race.
The moral: Identify your core competency and change the playing fi eld to suit your core competency.
THE STORY STILL HASN'T ENDED.
The hare and the tortoise, by this time, had become pretty good friends, and they did some thinking together. Both realized that the last race could have been run much better. So they decided to do the last race again, but to run as a team this time. They started off, and this time, the hare carried the tortoise to the riverbank. There, the tortoise took over and swam across with the hare on his back. On the opposite bank, the hare again carried the tortoise, and they reached the fi nish line together. They both felt a greater sense of satisfaction than they'd felt earlier.
The moral: It's good to be individually brilliant and to have strong core competencies, but unless you're able to work in a team and harness each other's core competencies, you'll always perform below par, as there will always be situations in which you'll do poorly and someone else does well.
Teamwork is mainly about situational leadership, letting the person with the relevant core competency for a situation take leadership.
Note that neither the hare nor the tortoise gave up after failures. The hare decided to work harder and put in more effort after his failure. The tortoise changed his strategy because he was already working as hard as he could.
In life, when faced with failure, sometimes it is appropriate to work harder and put in more effort. Sometimes it is appropriate to change strategy and try something different. And sometimes it is appropriate to do both. The hare and the tortoise also learned another vital lesson. When we stop competing against a rival and instead start competing against the situation, we perform far better.
In summary, the story of the hare and tortoise has much to offer:
Fast and consistent will always beat slow and steady;
work to your competencies;
pooling resources and working as a team will always beat individual performers;
never give up when faced with failure;
and, finally, compete against the situation, not a rival.
Points to Ponder:
- In order to succeed here in a meaningful way, you must have a fervent belief that you and your peers are here to get attorneys jobs. Our team is dedicated to getting attorneys jobs.
- In order to succeed here in a meaningful way, you must have a fervent belief in doing your job as well as it can be done. Our team is dedicated to doing our jobs as well as they can be done.
''IBM's profi le in the 1985 edition of The 100 Best Companies to Work For described IBM as a company that has institutionalized its beliefs the way a church does... The result is a company fi lled with ardent believes. (If you're not ardent, you may not be comfortable.)... Some have compared joining IBM with joining a religious order or going into the military... If you understand the Marines, you understand IBM... You must be willing to give up some of your individual identity to survive.
''IBM begins imbuing its employees with its...philosophy even before they're hired, at the very fi rst interview. To some, the word 'imbuing' connotes brainwashing, but I don't think there's anything negative... in what is done. Basically, anyone who wants to work for IBM is told, 'Look, this is how we do business... We have some very specifi c ideas about what that means-and if you work for us, we'll teach you how to treat customers. If our attitude about customers and service is incompatible with yours, we'll part ways-the quicker the better.''
-The IBM Way
CORE VALUE 6: WE MUST CONSTANTLY HAVE FUN!
Observation: Maintaining your integrity, never compromising your self-respect, does not mean not having fun. It does not mean not enjoying the moment. It does not mean not being part of and connected to what's going on.
The most important gift I can share with you is that the moment you become part of the process and adopt our core values-and it's no longer about you; and you're not self-conscious; and you're just having fun and watching it unfold; and you're enjoying watching your customer or client benefit; and you're having so much fun and experiencing so much excitement, coming up with new ways to innovate and add value to your job; and you get up on Monday morning, and you're excited; and, frankly, when you go to bed on Friday night, you're a little disappointed you have to wait until Monday to start again-you've got it. It's there! Don't lose it. Because the fun, the challenge, the excitement of the process is what it's all about.
''The best-kept secret in the global economy today is this: When your service is awesome, you get so stinking rich, you have to buy new bags to carry all the money home.''