Barlow/McCarthy Blog

One Small Change Can Change Everything

Feb 18, 2015

One Small Change Can Change EverythingBy: Allison McCarthy, MBA

In her book, The Sweet Spot, Christina Carter, PhD says, “Our lives are like a set of interlocking gears of varying sizes. Often, we try to improve our lives by moving the large gears…” Dr. Carter goes on to explain that, sometimes, by shifting the small gears, the ones that rotate relatively easily, we can produce greater change in our lives. Because all of the gears are interlocked, when we tweak a small gear, we effortlessly start the larger gears moving.

If you think about the gears in your everyday work lives, you might find you’re putting too much effort into moving the “big ones,” those cumbersome gears that feel stuck. Maybe, by focusing on a smaller gear, you could put change into motion more quickly and effectively.

1)    Could tweaking your offering increase interest? Recently, I worked with an organization that was frustrated by being turned down by a PC candidate, a qualified referral they’d worked hard to contract and with whom they had a built-in relationship attachment. They increased their offer to match the competitor’s, but in the end the candidate took the opposing position for its teaching opportunities.  When I told the client that teaching was “the differentiator,” they responded, “Well, we could make teaching an option too.” If that client had included teaching in their original offering, if they had turned that one small gear, would that have changed the candidate’s mind? In what small creative ways could you make your package more compelling and improve your outcome.

2)    Could changing your routine improve results? Another client had some of the best database tools in the industry, but had only been using them to post positions.  Because the tools weren’t generating results, they considered not renewing the licenses. According to my client, they simply “didn’t have time to do more.”  A member of our team went in and showed them how, in less than 3 hours per week, they could generate the results they wanted.   Is there a lesson you could learn or a change you could make to your routine that would deliver better results?

3)    Could being more authentic “win-over” more candidates?  Yet another client was particularly concerned that their on-site interviews were not robust enough to win-over the candidates they were pursuing.  After looking over their sample itineraries, I could see they had planned all the right meetings with all the right individuals. They even had the right script.  However, their interview process was so formal and stiff, the candidates weren’t getting a sense of who they were or what they believed.  Is there a way you can add “informal” time into your agenda to give candidates a truer experience?

Often it’s not the large changes that make the difference; it’s the little things that get the ball rolling. Before you tackle those daunting challenges, ask yourself: What small gears can you turn first?

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