by William S. Frank
Several years ago I counseled a Chief Financial Officer (CFO) living in Ft. Collins, a city 70 miles north of Denver, Colorado. In a difficult job market, Tim said he would not relocate for any reason, for any company, for any job title, or for any amount of money.
That made the project harder.
As usual, we created a broadcast letter to his friends and acquaintances explaining his situation, describing his ideal job, and asking for their thoughts and ideas. When it came time to make a list of friends, he was stumped. He had no friends, or so he thought.
I pushed him for two weeks to expand his list, but in the end he only produced 12 names. Twelve: that's terrible for someone who's been on the planet 35 years.
To make matters worse, he said, "I'm not going to write to my Realtor."
"Because I didn't buy my last home from her and she's probably mad at me."
"Well, Tim," I insisted, "You only have 12 friends, and I'm not going to let you eliminate any of them in this mailing."
Tim mailed 12 letters to friends. Two weeks later he called with great news: "I've got a job offer!"
"Wow! Tell me about it."
"I'm going to be CFO for SmallCo in Ft. Collins."
"Really? Where did that lead come from?"
"From my Realtor."
Here's an example from my consulting practice: I was at a human resources luncheon, and Richard Bicowski appeared to be avoiding me. Since he had hired me to do several hundred thousand dollars' worth of business for his company, I was unsettled. I wondered what I had done wrong.
The more I looked the more I saw anger in his eyes. It seemed as if he were hugging the other side of the room on purpose. I thought, "I guess this is the end of our work together. Maybe I'm going to have to write this relationship off."
Two weeks later Richard called and awarded me a $70,000 consulting contract. True story, and I guess the moral is that we should never assume who will or won't help us, and we should remain open to everyone. We never really know who our friends are.
So if you're in the job market, or looking for consulting opportunities, don't be shy. Tell everyone.
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