Do you have an ‘almost pathological need to confront brutal facts’?

Acting on the urgings of Jonathan Holmes during his
final episode of ABC1’s Media Watch, I decided to make a commitment to
pay for quality journalism by subscribing to Business Review Weekly.


The most recent cover story features US business
author Jim Collins, who is most famous for his books Good to Great  
(2001) and Built to Last  (2004).


Collins is heading to Australia next month to
headline the Australian Business Congress and the BRW snagged an
interview with Collins to discuss how companies become great and
maintain that greatness through turbulent and challenging global
economic times.


I was particularly fascinated by this revelation:


Collins says his research has highlighted two of
the things that stand at the centre of the mythology of a great
entrepreneur – vision and innovation – aren’t nearly as important as
many believe.


‘Innovation doesn’t distinguish great companies.
Innovation without discipline will lead to disaster. Innovation plus
discipline leads to the exceptional’.


Instead Collins says great companies are started
by people who have an ‘almost pathological need to confront brutal
facts. Then in a very realistic way, they’ll be able to figure out what
actually works  ’ (my bold)


Once they’ve decided what works the disciplined
thinker starts to concentrate.


This completely aligns with my experience in working
for, and with, many recruitment agency owners. Those owners who are the
most successful in the long term are those, without exception, who are
passionate about making decisions based on data, not their feelings.
This is not to suggest that any of those owners are robot-like,
unfeeling tsars. Far from it. This group of people use their instincts,
fashioned over many years, to lead them towards the best decision but
they search out the facts to ensure their decision is supported by


Here are just three examples of what I mean:


Action of a Brutal Fact Finder  
PSA panel submissions  
Before submission, analyses the chances of
being selected based on previous work with the company, likely
recruitment volumes and the likely price point required to be
The submission to success ratio is high and
almost all PSAs prove to be profitable.
Recruiting recruiters  
Before hiring process commences it is crystal
clear about the two or three competencies that candidates
require in order to be successful at the job being recruited
A more efficient recruitment process and much
greater chance that the person hired will be successful.
Working on jobs  
Before any job is accepted, the likelihood of
that job being filled within a profitable time frame is
estimated (based on past results).
A clear decision about which jobs to accept
and which jobs to decline and a much higher filled job ratio.

A recent example of what I would regard as brutal
fact finding was published by industry news service


last week when it reported that Xpand (owned by ASX-listed
Rubicor Group) had made a strategic decision to no longer pursue big,
low-margin PSA business and, would instead only pursue those accounts
where Xpand could add value and the client was interested in this
partnership approach


Xpand group managing director Ian Tyler has clearly
‘confronted the brutal facts’ about the profitability of many of the
current PSAs that the Rubicor-owned IT recruitment companies participate
in and has announced where his business will now concentrate its


What would your desk, division or company gain if you
had an almost pathological need to confront brutal facts’?

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