Several weekends ago, Aaron, my youngest son, participated in a Cub Scout Pinewood Derby event.
For those of you unfamiliar with the pinewood derby, it is a racing event for Cub Scouts. Young scouts, with the help of parents, build their own cars from wood, usually from kits containing a block of pine, 4 plastic wheels and 4 metal axles. The finished car must use all nine pieces, must not exceed a certain 5 ounces in weight, must not exceed a certain length and must fit on the track used by that particular scout pack.
While we had a great time making the car (well, at least Aaron did) and participating in the race day activities (well, at least Aaron did), we unfortunately did not place in the top 3. We were less than .15 seconds per heat from our goal. .15 seconds may not seem a lot and yet it was the difference between coming home with a “thank you for participating” award and winning a big trophy (along with lots of peer admiration).
I have observed that there are some striking similarities between winning a Pinewood Derby event and winning a Recruitment Process Outsourcing deal.
Here are my top three (3) parallels:
- To win you must overcome inertia with a solution that maximizes the opportunity. An “off-the -shelf” design isn’t going to beat a well thought out custom design.
- Attention to detail is critical. Some people spend hours laboring on their design; looking for potential weaknesses and reworking until the final product is much better. On the other hand, there are others who just “slap” together something and hope for the best. I believe our win ratio at Pinstripe is so good because we take the “attention to detail” approach.
- Sometimes you have to go “above and beyond.” All designs are not created equal. In the Pinewood Derby world this might entail polishing the axles and using a graphite lubricant on the wheels. And in the RPO RFP selection process, it might mean researching and building extra customized talent attraction and diversity recruitment strategies for key roles or customizing all the technology portals with the client’s branding and open requisitions. Just meeting the bar doesn’t win much new business in today's competitive RPO world.
Unfortunately, Aaron and I have to wait an entire year before the next Pinewood Derby and a chance to redeem ourselves. However, when it comes to RPO, I have a good number of proposals in my current funnel where, with the right effort, I can win the big trophy.
Post contributed by Barry Diamond. Follow me on Twitter @bddiamond