Critical Indicator Numerics - The Path to Success
The other evening, I took advantage of a rare opportunity to relax and watch a movie. My cinema choice was "Pursuit of Happiness" starring Will Smith. By good fortune, I wasn't disappointed with this movie. However, the best part for me was that the storyline is very relatable to our profession. In case you haven't seen it or need a refresher, Will Smith plays a single father desperately trying to land a job at Dean Witter. During the movie there is a great scene where Will Smith is doing voice over as you watch the character arriving to work, making calls, etc. His character says "Its all a pure numbers game. This many calls, equals that many appointments. This many appointments equal that many viable clients, which equals X in sales." Wow, how simple and straightforward is that concept. Even more importantly, how familiar is that to our business!

Through twenty-five years of the search business I have seen my fair share of strategy trends and new tools, which were supposed to generate a greater volume of business with half the effort. In reality, as one wise man once said, there is no shortcut to success. While e-mail has replaced faxing, job boards have replaced the Sunday want ads, and a national niche approach has replaced the local generalist model, the one thing that remains constant through it all is the metrics. Yet, even though everyone knows this fact, so many people continue to try and pretend like the metrics are not important. Every day I hear stores about falling sales and struggling search consultants. In each of those cases, you can draw a direct correlation to a lack of focus on six critical metrics. I call it CIN, or Critical Indicator Numerics.

The CIN measures "Market Connect Time - Actual amount of time in real conversations," "New Conversations with prospective clients and candidates," "Job orders," "Candidate Data Sheets," "EPOJOE or Mapping," and "First Face to Face Interviews." Like the character in the movie, you can easily draw direct correlation from these metrics to placements. By establishing expectations around these Critical Indicator Numerics you can easily evaluate the effort of your staff. The capturing of these Critical Indicators for every search consultant will provide the catalyst for weekly discussions between you and any associate on board. These comparisons should be incredibly meaningful and revealing where a course of action will need to be developed and implemented for succeeding weeks. Your role in the discussion is to get the search consultant to self-evaluate what they committed to do. I feel that the greatest reason for failure is skill deficiencies, which is very difficult to self-diagnosis without evidence, therefore this is the reason for tracking these six indicators. After consecutive weeks, tracking of these critical indicators will help surface those questions that need to be asked to identify and correct deficiencies. Another benefit to this process is that you can see the entire office at a glance and predict your future with some fair accuracy, as well as evaluate search consultants objectively (based on results) versus subjectively (based on personality mesh).

Our profession of search can be daunting, complex, and frustrating. It can also be a joy and very profitable. You can ensure the joy of search, by doing just a few things well. After you have forged an agreement as to what you associate is striving to achieve, then measure each week of the year with the answer to 3 questions:

* What can I do to help each associate do one thing a little better?
* What can I learn this week to help me improve my business?
* What can I do this week to interview 2 candidates who are deserving of a place on my team?

As the character in the movie said, "It's a numbers game." So stop ignoring the numbers. Focus your office on the Critical Indicators Numerics, and the most important metric to you, cash-in, will take care of itself.