We found this article by Ram Charan in the Autumn Issue of strategy+business that speaks to a need for business leaders to develop and practice perceptual acuity skills. Clearly written at the “big picture” level for corporate leaders, the core of the article relates well to recruitment strategies.
We are supporting many companies who are hiring again for the first time in years. Frequently replacing retirees who haven’t developed internal replacements because “right sizing” during the recession laid off employees. Individuals who would have been ready to fill those jobs now . Usually our clients have justified selection criteria that are industry/technology/product- specific – the classic square peg for the square hole – and that’s a traditional method of recruiting. It delivers the job-ready candidate requiring minimal ramp up. While exposing the hiring authorities to minimal risk of failure – the proverbial safe hire.
What Mr. Charan is proposing is that we think outside the box. That the new and complex business economy requires leadership talents we normally haven’t recruited, candidates who are catalysts of change.
Highest in the order of skills that catalysts should have is one called “perceptual acuity” which Mr. Charan describes as “the psychological and mental preparedness” – to have the ability to ‘see around corners’ and spot potentially significant anomalies, contradictions, and oddities in the external landscape before others do.
It is your human radar that sees through the fog of uncertainty so you can act first.”
There’s no doubt that we live and work on a different landscape so it makes sense that we should at least consider catalyst leaders rather than technically competent leaders. Of course, why can’t the ideal candidate be both?
Enjoy the Article! ~ Jim Fairfax