There are a group of people who influence the industry because of the things they make possible. Generally, these folks are really bright technologists or academics who think they have found ways to get the job of Recruiting or some branch of HR done better. In general, they look at the assembled masses of the current industry with something that borders on contempt. Their contribution is a little direct and a lot about opening minds.
The role of academics and well heeled technologists seems to be to disrupt. These riot instigators persist with uncomfortable questions like ‘why isn’t your profession adding to the bottom line’ or ‘tell me the ROI of your Recruiting operation’. Rotten tomatoes, disruptive technologies and really innovative ways of doing things seem like trouble to old experienced hands. These folks like being that sort of trouble.
Like the sand that produces the pearl in the oyster, these professional irritants interrupt smooth function to produce a new beauty. By making people think, ask questions and doubt their fundamental assumptions, they pry open the world of possibilities. It’s a thankless job and the really great ones expect little in the way of thanks.
Causing people to question their assumptions means upsetting the apple cart, challenging /component/option,com_virtuemart/page,shop.pdf_output/showpage,shop.browse/pop,1/output,pdf/product_id,0/category_id,6/vmcchk,1/Itemid,1/”>cheapest generic cialis the status quo. In order to really rankle the players, one has to be free to maneuver effectively. Two things make the posture possible: venture financing or a secure position in academia.
Dr John Sullivan has been at it for a long time. Born in New Jersey (there was lots of gambling, it just hadn’t been legalized yet), Sullivan went to school in Florida where he got his doctorate. His friends told him he belonged in California so he moved. Today, he lives on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean, just south of San Francisco.
There are few people who make a stronger case for the importance of recruiting. Sullivan asks, rhetorically, “How long does it take to make a short person tall? Let’s say you could do it in 10 years. The trouble is that your business changed course 10 minutes ago.”
He has little time for the idea of internal development. “If you could hire Tiger Woods for your golf team, how could you say no. Great talent is what draws other great talent. Cost is completely irrelevant if you want to make a competitive difference.”
It’s strong medicine from the good doctor.
I was fascinated to discover that Sullivan and his eponymous firm do not take consulting dollars. They don’t do the things typically associated with consulting firms. Sullivan confided “When you take money from someone, you have to tell them what they want to hear. I’m just not any good at doing that.”
Instead, they tackle a single issue each year and travel widely to investigate the question. The street estimate is that Sullivan makes about 50 speeches a year and visits key companies and constituents as a part of the heavy speaking schedule. Over the years, Sullivan has used this method to cover a spectrum of recruiting issues. “The question is always, ‘What does it take to cause world class performance in this arena.”
Like a great evangelist, Sullivan repeats the same themes over and over again. “It’s about the money. Recruiting is a business decision. Cost doesn’t matter if you produce bottom line results. We should be supply chain heroes. Speed. Speed. Speed. You only matter if you give a competitive advantage.” He’s absolutely tireless And, it’s really refreshing to soak up the energy as he rails against the staus quo.
It takes stroing heretics to make a health profession. While I agree with Sullivan that industry hasn’t begun to behave professionally, that /component/option,com_virtuemart/page,shop.pdf_output/showpage,shop.browse/pop,1/output,pdf/product_id,0/category_id,6/vmcchk,1/Itemid,1/”>cheapest generic cialis there is room for his brand of fire and brimstone as a good sign.
The people who make their way by stretching the boundaries of the profession don’t do it to win friends and accolades. Sullivan is internally motivated and wants to see the profession made whole and useful.
John Sumser is the founder and CEO of TwoColorHat, a company specializing in market strategy for HR – Recruiting Vendors. You can keep up with his other stuff at johnsumser.com. Follow the rest of the Top 100 Influencers project.