Lately

That's so yesterday.

People love to make fun of Amercians' tendency to focus only on the latest and greatest. Things and ideas that were shiny and new just months ago lose their luster as even newer ideas emerge.

True enough that we can be a little more focused on tomorrow than today, and yesterday is ancient history.

But that's not all bad.

What Counts

In the world of management and leadership it really is a question of what have you done for me lately. As a recruiter I have to be honest: things you did years ago are ancillary at best. As an employee if your claim to fame is something you were a part of more than four quarters ago, so what? And, as an active member of my church I really don't give a damn about your legacy.

When it comes to leadership its the here and now that counts baby.

I know, I know: you've had a stellar career with more ups then downs, and are hurt that I want to examine your recent work more closely than your early successes. But let's reverse roles for just a moment. If I apply for a job with your firm, and then speak of things I did more than a year ago, am I now a compelling candidate?

I think not.

Talking Heads

Take a look at the conference circuit and read the bios of some of the talking heads. Any “leadership” conference will be chock full of people who were part of amazing efforts! (Years ago). Why you would be interested in hearing what someone did a decade ago – when the world and its drivers were very different – is beyond me.

And if you work in my company we sure as hell will not pay for that conference ticket. We want news about competing in today's economy.

HR people like to celebrate storytelling. Along with marketers we sing the praise of a tale well told with a nifty moral buried somewhere within and promote the storyteller as the modern oracle.

Really? Unless the story has continued – unless the effort is ongoing and current – it's now just a fable.

On the lecture circuit you'll meet hundreds of talking heads anxious for you to listen to their speech, buy their book, download their whitepaper and so on. But ask yourself a question before you do: is the material current?

Today Counts

In college we learned that the bibliography except in the rarest instances should be current as we turned in our papers. The same holds true in business.

Social and economic change – Syria and the Ukraine for example – are driving new societal behavior and we live in an age that lets us have line of sight to some of that real-time. Today's issues demand today's solutions, so why would you celebrate last year's accomplishments?

That was then, this is now.

The next time you're hiring someone, considering attending a lecture or reviewing candidates for your church, non-profit or maybe just the neighborhood homeowner's association, ask yourself a very meaningful question.

What have you done for me lately?

 

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6 thoughts on “Lately

  1. Really good post – I like the issue that you brought up. I too find it off-putting when a candidates disregards their current position and recent experience in an interview. It makes me wonder what;s going on (or not going on) there.

    Nice work!

    • I think it is, yes, Amanda. My concern would be if the ‘only’ thing you cantal labour has happened some time ago: what have you been concentrating on?

  2. Pingback: An Outbreak Of Civilities | Work Musing

    • Very interesting and agreed: my concern is with the candidate/leader/public speaker who poses as if their experience were meaningful yet have not done much recently. It is the body of work that counts – but the body must include the current I believe.

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