Weekly Thoughts From the Desk of the Principal

Negotiate internally before debating externally. Click below to read this week's thoughts.

Gabriel Lucas

Oct 7, 2021

Weekly Thoughts From the Desk of the Principal

A debate is brewing in Congress right now.  To anyone who's following the political theatre, the numbers 1.5 trillion and 3.5 trillion have significant meaning.  Although both are massively large numbers, they represent for many beltway insiders the difference between incremental change and transformative change.


That dichotomy is often at play in many organizations during a period of leadership transition.  I've observed members of hiring committees say, “This is a chance to finally take a risk (or a leap) and hire that out-of-the-box (or nontraditional) candidate.”  But others sometimes take a more cautious approach, or they might agree with that statement but ultimately lean toward safer or more seasoned candidates.


Change management is an area of assessment that hiring committees spend a lot of time exploring with candidates, but in a paradoxical twist they might consider spending more time focusing internally on change preparedness.  It is so easy early on in a hiring endeavor to say you're looking for a bold, creative, and innovative thinker, but at the end of the day those are just broad brushstrokes.  What do those words really mean when push comes to shove?  What kind of change is your organization ready to embrace, and what new initiatives are likely to be fraught with friction?  It is a disservice to candidates if you haven't done the internal due diligence before you embark on a leadership hire.  Punting that work until after you start to meet candidates is rarely a good idea.


Congress is right now going through a period of introspection and preparation in search of a political compromise.  In some sense, these negotiations started far too late, though in Washington that's par for the course.  Find a different approach for your organization, and hopefully your decision won't come down to a nail-biting 50-50 tie + 1, which makes for good political theater but rarely good organizational leadership.




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