By John Sumser
There’s an inverse relationship between the ability to stay on message and the ability to have and use influence. There are any number of executives who, flanked by their handlers, squeeze repeated sound bites from their lips like it was the last splotch of toothpaste in the tube. Being on the receiving end is even worse than watching Vanilla Ice lip synch. At least in a lip synched video, you can still hum the tune.
The folks who find it necessary to stay rigidly on message, who can not actually have a conversation about their product, service or business, stand no chance of being flexible enough to have influence. It’s actually pretty surprising that, in this era of transparency and authenticity, anyone is still allowed to use a script in public. You walk away from these interactions wondering just exactly who is scared of what. If deviating from the party line is so dangerous, why in the world are these folks in their job.
That form of leadership, the old-school, well-handled CEO, is on the wane. The HR-Recruiting Industry is home to fewer and fewer command and control style executives. As organizitions fracture and project teams dominate the landscape, a new style is emerging.
Influence is, in a lot of cases, the accumulated goodwill that comes from doing favors first and never asking for a return. Constantly offering more value than you take in creates a web of appreciation that is self-sustaining. Some people are blessed with the ability to consistently give more than they get. These folks have a natural advantage in the new economy.
Mike Mayeux is from that new leadership class. You are as likely to find Mike at the helm of his barbeque machine as at the helm of his company. The barbeque, which is about the size of a two bedroom fifth wheel, is Mayeux’ trademark. The company, Novotus, is an RPO that appears to be really shaping the future.
In a recent interview, Mike describes Novotus like this:
Novotus /component/page,shop.browse/category_id,7/option,com_virtuemart/Itemid,44/”>cialis for sale is Hire.com with skin on it. We’ve taken those technologies and added highly skilled users and brought together some Web 2.0 technologies to coordinate it all. We have a state of the art environment. We have another company called Reaching Talent that drives traffic to job web sites. We have a group called Nitro which is a research department. Between the three of those groups we’re doing things most other companies have never done. We just celebrated our 5th year anniversary at Novotus.
Hire.com, as you might remember, was the high-flying, ground-breaking Talent Community Management Tool built in Austin and ultimately acquired by Authoria. The system pioneered many recruiting concepts (like pipelining, real time candidate recruiter interactions, in system queuing and process visibility) that are just becoming the standard today. Mayeux was so turbocharged by his experience with the product that he took his severance check and bootstrapped Novotus on the Hire.com platform.
The core pricing model, which looks like $6K per slot on a retainer basis, attacks the prevailing norms. Novotus achieves this sort of cost effectiveness by continuously filling all of the positions in their inventory. While the industry norm is a 15% completion rate, Novotus fills 98% of their searches. The core success rate enables Novotus to price based on a performance guarantee.
In the downturn, huge numbers of recruiters lost their jobs. Part of the reason that attendance is down at industry events is that last year’s attendees /component/page,shop.browse/category_id,7/option,com_virtuemart/Itemid,44/”>cialis for sale no longer work in the business. That sets the stage for fast growth in the RPO sector over the next couple of years. As recruiting needs grow, companies are unlikely to rehire the old works. It will be a long time until permanent hires of recruiting pros is the norm again. In the meanwhile, RPOs, which are now almost a decade old, are going to set the pricing floor.
This will create a good deal of heartburn for the contingency players who remain. Justifying the difference between a 6% floor and conventional pricing will take some doing. The thing is that Novotus is really profitable at the price point.
The efficiency comes from a lot of experimentation and a lot of failure. Reengineering something like recruiting, in order to make a repeatable process at large scale, is a task that takes a lot of data and a lot of brains. At Novotus, they review and re-review every aspect of the business until it’s perfectly in place.
There’s no room for a “party line” in the world of Mike Mayeux. 20 years of industry experience from working a desk to selling software and finally to building an RPO, MAyeux thinks he’s had a string of good fortune. He is profoundly grateful for the opportunities that built the intellectual foundations for the current endeavor.
Mostly, Mayeux is pure good guy. A business type with a minor in Bible Studies, he’s got little time for the unethical and even less time for quick money. He prefers to give.
It’s hard to get him to talk about his accomplishments, but they are many. Notably, he helped found the RPOAssoctiation to help legitimize the business. His barrel chest puffs out when he talks about the fact that 250 people came to last year’s annual meeting.
In Mike’s case, influence is sort of an aura of generosity that spreads through the people he touches.
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.