Jim Collins in his heavily researched bestseller, Good to Great — Why Some Companies Make the Leap … and Others Don’t, found that transforming a good to a great company involved “getting the right people on the bus (and the wrong people off the bus) and then figur(ing) out where to drive it.”
He also noted that if you have significant doubts about a possible team member, keep looking.
This advice applies to all organizations building and sustaining management teams, especially those whose management will be engaged in significant internal and external negotiations (which is almost all of us).
We recently experienced this at ExpertNegotiator. We had been looking for a key member of our management team for about six months. While we had many good candidates, none seemed to fit perfectly.
Then five weeks ago we met someone who blew us away. After our initial meeting, our management team – for the first time – unanimously agreed to make him an offer if our due diligence confirmed our impressions. It did, so we made him an offer.
Unfortunately, after some soul searching on his part and several long conversations with him, he ultimately accepted another offer we just couldn’t come close to matching.
But we kept in touch and even asked him to recommend candidates for the position. Then last week I heard his other opportunity had just fallen through. Apparently the other company inserted a deal-breaker into the negotiations at the end and he walked away.
So I contacted him, reiterated our offer, and he’s joining us shortly.
What is the negotiation lesson?
Diligence and patience will usually pay off.
Our negotiation to bring him onboard didn’t really end when he turned us down the first time. It just took a break. And during that break, we kept in touch while continually looking for someone else who measured up. But despite some excellent and well-qualified candidates, we just couldn’t find that same fit.
At the same time, we really needed to fill this position. Then, just when we were strongly considering offering the position to someone else, he became available again. Our diligence in staying in touch and patience in waiting for the right person paid off.