Archive for November, 2009

The Opposite of Momentum

November 29, 2009

Nearly every endeavor in life depends on momentum to achieve optimal and timely results.  In sports, momentum arises and shifts like the wind, as if some sort of otherworldly force beyond everyone’s control is calling the shots and determining the outcome.  If we could bottle it for use on those occasions when we need that extra boost necessary to achieve our goals, wouldn’t all our undertakings be so much easier and success be so much more predictable?

Unfortunately, momentum is not a tangible element, like a cup of coffee or Viagra.  It cannot be harvested or produced at a moment’s notice.  It cannot be ordered off a menu or prescribed by your doctor.  Instead, momentum is the direct result of other factors.  As defined, momentum is the strength or force gained by motion or through the development of events.  Based on the outcome of specific parameters, momentum is bestowed upon the recipient.  Yet, the recipient must have the mindset to thrive on and leverage momentum.

In the worlds of both hiring and job seeking, momentum is highly reliant upon several key attributes.  First, there is focus.  How much attention is truly given to all the efforts behind recruiting, interviewing, and hiring?  In a similar light, prioritization plays a pivotal role as hiring executives already have full plates running their organization.  To take on the time consuming initiative of hiring, one has to commit to investing the extra clock cycles needed to further the process.  Here, momentum comes to those who value it.

An effective hiring manager will take the time to craft a clear job spec and yet identify intangible qualities in candidates that could trump some of the tangible requirements.  They establish a compensation package while being open to allowing the market dictate what it takes to get the right person on board.  Focus and prioritization also mean being responsive with recruiters and candidates while offering a flexible schedule that keeps the interview process moving forward.  Yes, this is easier said than done, but no matter the economic conditions, the agility of your hiring process has much to do with your ability to attract and hire top talent.  After all, it’s a candidate’s first glimpse into how your company operates.  The final element is around decision-making.  Being resolute in your thought process is tantamount to productive hiring.  Assess the many data points throughout the interview process and make a decision.

For candidates, momentum comes from living in a perpetual state of being productive, even if done in small bits and pieces at a time.  It starts with connecting with people, all the while improving your positioning and personal brand.  Activity breeds activity, and the more people you interact with, the more people will know about your career aspirations and can potentially make a difference.  You can’t do this in a vacuum.   Besides, we all know people who seem to have captured momentum and continue to ride it like a freight train.  Try to learn from these people – see how what they are doing and thinking is different.  Taking other proactive measures to stack the deck in your favor is key.  This means investing in a professionally written resume, attending networking events to meet and learn from people, and seeking out informational meetings with companies of interest.

With hiring managers and candidates alike, momentum can be elusive and fleeting.  To find yourself in a state of making no progress means that momentum may have come, but it is definitely gone.  Momentum is a constant fight against many other competing forces.  Thus, to fight for momentum means to understand and fight against its opposite.

So what is the opposite of momentum?  It can come in many forms.  To begin with, functioning reactively denotes a loss of control.  Relying on the hope that others come through for you is like buying a lottery ticket – there’s a chance of success, but you’re not doing anything else to increase your odds.  Operating with a lack of focus and prioritization once again is not working from a position of strength and control.  Being decision averse because it is seemingly safer and easier in the short term not to make a decision will ultimately rob you of momentum as well.  If you’re trying to accomplish something, then status quo is your enemy.  Standing right where you are may be familiar ground, but in order to achieve success, you must fight against inaction.

No matter your role – candidate or hiring manager – the impetus and motivation to do something along with taking the initiative to proceed with focus, prioritization, and decisiveness, will invariably be your greatest allies in seizing momentum.

Action items:

*  Assess your modus operandi.  What are you doing that strays away from operating with focus, prioritization, action, and decisiveness?

*  Status quo is not a place to take comfort.  The greatest achievers rebel against inaction.  As Pablo Picasso once said:  “Action is the foundational key to all success.”

*  Whether you are a candidate or hiring manager, always ask yourself, “What else can I do to positively impact the situation?”

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