Four Principles from a Quarter-Century in Search, by Ed Fry
Last month marked the beginning of the 25th year of my wonderful journey in executive search. Starting with this month’s newsletter, I’ll be sharing a few observations from the past quarter century that have helped FaithSearch grow, serve its clients effectively and, perhaps, could be helpful to you in your leadership of a faith-based healthcare organization.
1. Shortcuts always take longer. Often we have clients who wonder why we do things a certain way or in a particular order. Sometimes we’re asked to skip an important step in order to speed up the hiring process. Early in my career I learned that invariably when you bypass a critical step in a quality process, you not only significantly increase the risk of a poorer outcome, but the search ends up taking longer. The old adage of “do it right the first time” applies to most things in life, and the search process is no exception.
2. It’s all about relationships. Matching the right candidate with the right organization is a relationship-driven endeavor. Most quality search firms succeed and grow based on repeat business. A lasting client-candidate match must start with a trusted advisor relationship between the search consultant and the primary client contact. This connection is critical to truly understanding and appreciating the culture, mission and ministry of the client organization as well as what personal characteristics are essential within a specific leadership position. Through this in-person, onsite and front-end research process and then through the sourcing process with potential prospects, trusting and confidence-building relationships develop.
3. Never stop searching until the search is completely finished. It’s very tempting in a search process, particularly when there is a plethora of quality candidates, to take your foot off of the gas pedal and cruise through the final stages of the search. However, I’ve learned, sometimes painfully, that things can and do go wrong just before the finish line. I always strive to have alternatives even when the leading candidate appears to be a “slam dunk.”
4. The secret to sustained success is prayer. At FaithSearch we recognize the Apostle Paul’s counsel is dead on when he admonishes “pray without ceasing.” (1 Thessalonians 5:17 NKJV) Sometimes that prayer may happen within a staff meeting, with a client or with a candidate. Other times it’s part of a private devotional or a quick “thanks” to our Heavenly Father. But, most of the time it’s an unconscious communications line that’s kept open all day to hear God’s voice of wisdom and discernment.
I may not reach the half-century mark in my profession, but I am certain that I will continue to follow the principles above in order to achieve success for clients served by FaithSearch Partners.