TYLER, Texas (March 28, 2009) -- I am back in Tyler at the weekend house. Two weekends in a row. That is a non-holiday record for me. It is cold today but we have a nice fire in the fireplace and some good music from iTunes. Just think, yesterday I was lamenting the end of winter in Texas and kidding my colleagues in Buffalo, NY. They are, no doubt, enjoying some satisfaction.
On Friday I met with a new networking group that my partner, Gary Pfleiger, is helping to put together. Actually it is more than networking. We are focusing on aggregating intelligence that will facilitate client acquisition. Joining us was PerotSystems networking ace, Bethany Williams, Kurt Young of engineering giant Walter P Moore, Wayne O'Neill, a consultant who specializes in this new field of expertise, as well as Marc Leediker and Jan Blackmon of the architectural firm Rees. It was a fascinating session.
On Wednesday night I returned from the ACHE Congress in Chicago where I spoke at three sessions. During my drive this morning from Dallas to Tyler, my experiences in Chicago, together with my networking session on Thursday morning, caused me to revisit some earlier thoughts I have had on the social networking phenomena. Social networking is sweeping the nation, from college campuses to the halls of staid law firms. That there are valuable business applications for these networks is an important heads up for CEOs, marketing executives, recruiters and those executives who find themselves in the job market.
Over the next three to five years, we will see exponential growth in the numbers of professionals who use online networking sites – Linked In, Facebook, Plaxo, – as well as platforms we have not even considered. These sites will dramatically change the way we relate with clients, colleagues and, in our case, the candidates we recruit.
In addition to authoring this blog and serving as Chairman and Founder of JohnMarch Partners, an innovative international search consultancy based in Dallas, Texas I also write tweets for Twitter and update my Facebook and Plaxo networking sites. Yesterday, business leaders thought a tweet was something impolite best avoided in public. Facebook and similar sites were dismissed as a college craze that would never amount to much.
Twitter serves as an instant blog that is limited to 140 characters. You learn to be brief! I encourage you to visit Twitter and become a member. You can get up to the minute information on searches that we are leading – from Hawaii to Abu Dhabi. When I add a “tweet” – the new word for a message -- it automatically updates on this blog. You can also follow me on Twitter at http://twitter.com/Self_JohnMarch.
Just as social networking platforms are becoming significant drivers for how we form, expand, and sustain our contact relationships, my professional world – executive search – is in the early stages of transformation. The current economic downturn is prompting some larger traditional firms who have not changed much over the past 30 years, to relook at their business model. But these social networking platforms will also play an important role in forcing the white shoe firms to relook at how they act and communicate. Right now they smile knowingly but most think this is just a fad that will pass - that participating will only diminish their brand.
Transformation of the existing executive search business model is inevitable. To ignore that fact, and the emergence of social networking sites, would be a mistake.
Currently, this transformation is being led by small boutique consultancies like JohnMarch. From the way candidates are screened and the depth of the background and reference inquiries, to the use of video summaries of our final interviews with recommended candidates to assist clients in determining which candidates to invite for a site interview, we, as executive recruiters, are looking at ways to enhance value and manage costs and delivery. JohnMarch became the leader of this innovation 15 years ago when the firm was launched. Today we are continually searching for ways to improve process and enhance value. Twitter and other sites will play a key role.
This is a great time to be in healthcare and the executive search business. There are enormous threats. There is chaos. There is opportunity.
My goal is to collaborate with my network to take advantage of the opportunity. But, creativity is not an endeavor best performed in a silo. So please share your thoughts with me.
John G. Self is Chairman and Senior Client Advisor of JohnMarch Partners. He is a
Co-Founder of the Firm. A former investigative reporter and crime writer with more than 30-years of leadership experience in public relations, national marketing and business development and as Chief Executive Officer of hospitals, and consulting firms, Mr. Self is highly regarded for his keen insight into business culture and the types of leaders who will succeed. You can contact Mr. Self at 214.220.1234 or JGSelf@johnmarch.com.