“This is a key moment for the company and we cannot find the proper candidate to help us grow”.
The south American startup was mainly operating in the courier and delivery services industry, with already thousands of customers and now stepping successfully into e-commerce.
“Because of our structure and markets, we need to find someone who is 50% technical and 50% business development. The person we have for this role right now is not able to sell”.
The CEO had been exploring all possible options for several weeks and no applicant seemed to meet his requirements: someone having worked preferably in the software business, highly analytical with serious technical background and at the same time a real business developer.
He was insisting on finding the perfect 50/50 mix. And he was now stuck.
Try to convince him to change his mind, or prioritize one or the other of these skills sounded like a natural and logical approach; another easy way to help would be to recommend a wider prospection of the market of possible candidates.
None of this would work; because the problem was not that there was no one on the market, nor that he didn’t search enough.
I made him express clearly once again what he was looking for: “I want a 50% technical and 50% business development candidate”.
I acknowledged that and asked: “ok, if the ratio wasn’t exactly 50/50, what other percentage would still be acceptable for you?”
The CEO remained silent for about 20 seconds, looked at me and said: “40/60 would still be OK”.
The next thing he did was to grab his mobile, click on a number from his contact list, saying with a big smile: “I know whom to hire, we’ve worked together few years ago, he is THE guy I need”. Thanks!
The problem was not the lack of candidates; it was the way the CEO was thinking.
The way he was seeing the solution was simply preventing him from accepting another one.
Once you are trapped like a hamster in a spinning wheel, finding a way out by yourself is extremely hard. This CEO was part of the problem.
When you are a leader, you don’t want to listen to “smart advisors” telling you what to do; you may eventually consider finding a way by yourself. That’s what happened.
A small shift in the right place can modify the outcome a lot.
It is as simple as it looks; once you know where to look.
Do you feel like stepping out of your hamster wheel?