Business success and the “law of the farm”

Being successful is hard work.  It also includes God’s grace and blessing.  I’ll spend much of today’s post talking about the hard work part because the part from God will never change, but the hard work component is something each one of us has the ability to influence.

Hard work involves many things and sometime smart work is more important than hard work.  Stephen Covey used the phrase “the law of the farm” in his famous book “The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People” and I see examples of the law of the farm daily in my work in the Talent Acquisition and Talent Development world.  Let me share just one example today for the sake of brevity.

A big part of our Talent Acquisition work involves retained executive search work for clients across the country and in many other parts of the world.  This search work involves a number of process steps, but here are just a few of the key steps:

  • understanding the client’s needs
  • researching the market for contacts and potential candidates
  • reaching out to these contacts and candidates to “spread the word”
  • vetting candidates to find the best available at a given time
  • presenting the field of finalists to the client
  • managing and scheduling the client interview process
  • reference checking
  • helping guide the client in offer generation
  • managing the on boarding of the new candidate/employee

While each of these steps is more of an overview for many sub-steps, they each also have a sequential place in the process.  The overall process will not be successful, or will be less successful, if not done at the right time or not done at all.

I think to times when during the research and reaching out stages when I tend to rely too much on one or two types of contact and minimize other types of contact.  Our electronic world makes using email and social tools so easy and it can undermine one of the most effective methods of research, the phone call.

Calling and talking to prospects and candidates is one of the riches methods to learn about any market and situation.  While an email does allow for a reply, a phone call allows for a dialogue and discussion in real time.  Even though not all calls are answered, those that are provide a great opportunity to really learn about an individual and his/her perspective as well as a great insight into a given market.

Not calling candidates on a regular basis is one way of “cramming” as Covey relates in his book.  After spending a good amount of time on the phone recently I have been “re-convinced” that the phone is an essential tool for my process and one I can never diminish and undervalue.

What part of your work process are you under using?  How might you become more effective by more fully employing the concepts taught by Dr. Covey from the “law of the farm”?