February 2017

Strategic Planning: Steps to Business Success

What does the term “Business Strategy” mean to you?

For many business owners and management, it entails a high-level meeting where you map out who you are, what you do, and where you are going. They identify key points to differentiate them from their competitors which they hope will result in a successful business.

We’d like to delve into the three main areas where even the best-laid plans come undone and what you can do about it.

Strategic planning Steps: 101

Practical application

No matter what your business strategy is, it will only succeed if it is implemented. Sounds obvious, right?

You will be surprised at how many management teams have an excellent operational plan in place, and yet the people who are actually doing the work remain blissfully unaware.

The direct link between your organisational strategy and the work done by your staff, needs to be clear to them.

A key point to remember when applying your plan, is that the way it’s defined and measured at a strategic level is not the same at job level.

In a nutshell, each of your staff members needs to know what your plan looks like to them.

Clear Communication

Following on from the previous point, the way management communicates their organisational strategy to the man on the ground is often overlooked.

Each team member needs to know specifically how what they do each day impacts the business strategy.

This is best done using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) which clearly highlight and track each individual’s execution of their role. This will also highlight where they lack the skills or knowledge to put in their best performance.


Well thought-out, strategic planning steps may allow your staff to understand where they are going and to do their jobs efficiently. However, this knowledge needs to be directly linked to superior customer service.

Employees have great antennae for detecting substance. When the poster says “Always deliver more than expected” and the staff are not motivated, the poster is ignored.

Months or years of strategic planning, organisational development and training is lost with one disengaged employee who doesn’t understand the strategy or is not motivated to live it.

When strategic planning steps into the realm of real people doing real jobs in a real business environment, then the results will be plainly seen.

We know that strategic planning is so much more than a meeting at the golf club followed by a manifesto. If you’re struggling to connect your strategy to your people, we’d appreciate the opportunity to be your performance partners. Read more about Strategic Planning here or contact me on 083 308 7627 or steve@rightpeoplerightjob.com.

Thank you for reading this and I look forward to a conversation.

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Is It Time To Retire Commission-Based Recruiting?

There are some jobs we didn’t dream about at school.

Used Car Salesman.

Insurance Salesman.

Call Centre Agent.

Recruitment Consultant.

No, we wanted the glory jobs: entrepreneur, inventor, surfer, game ranger, doctor, lawyer, film/rock or sports star!

Then reality hits home when our academic success, looks, competencies and interests lead us to realise that some of these jobs are not quite what they seem or they’re simply beyond our reach. We can’t all be Elon Musk, Bryan Habana or Candice Swanepoel!

But back to sales people: arguably the most important job in any business: no sales, no business.

What do accountants account for if there are no sales?

What do manufacturers make if there are no sales?

What do administrators administrate if there are no sales?

Yet we pay sales people peanuts, expect them to perform in 3 months or they’re out and pay them a decent commission if they sell something.

Imagine saying that to the financial manager? We’ll pay you peanuts, check your work at 3 months and if isn’t good, we’ll fire you and if it is good, we’ll pay you a commission?

So why do we do that to sales people?

Because we don’t expect them to be successful. We expect failure, so we motivate failure by making it difficult to succeed. How does a salesman look professional when he can’t afford smart clothes, a decent haircut and a reasonable car?

How does a sales person build self-esteem when he parks his car around the corner so the prospect doesn’t see it? How does the sales person explain to the prospect that he can’t do him a favour after the meeting and take him to the dealer where his car is being serviced because he doesn’t have enough petrol and in any case, the way he starts his car will be embarrassing!

Recruiters also work on a commission basis and the common refrain is:

“How do recruiters justify their 15% commission when all they do is send me completely useless CVs?”

Let’s think about this for a moment.

When you go to the doctor, they charge you a consultation fee, dish out some medicine and send you on your merry way. If you don’t get better, do you ask for a refund? No, you go back, they charge you another fee, sell you some more medicine and off you go.

Yet, when you call in the services of a recruitment agency, you have a group of slaves at your disposal until you appoint someone. And even then, you’re offered a pro-rata refund if the person does not work out in the first three months; an element of the hire over which the recruiters have little or no control.

Before any of this has happened, the recruiter should have (among many other activities) defined a job specification with the client, searched a candidate database, advertised if necessary, reviewed CVs, interviewed candidates, shortlisted a few, set up interviews for the client, referenced the final short list, performed ID, criminal, credit, employment and qualification checks, assisted with salary negotiations, motivated both parties to go ahead and start unravelling the administrative ball of string involved in a new hire … only to be paid nothing if the candidate refuses the offer or is counter-offered by his employer after acceptance. Or the role is withdrawn.

And yet, the issue of recruiter’s commission is a hot potato.

Why are recruitment consultants and real estate agents deemed to be undeserving of a fee and yet the plumber pops in for 5 minutes and earns a fee for arriving, never mind fixing the problem?

In fact, an interesting comparison can be found in the role of a real estate agent. They, too, have a good deal of vitriol directed at them for their commission-based structure, with many homeowners bewailing the enormous cost of selling their property.

However, a good real estate agent will close 6 out of 10 sales that they have a mandate for, many of them enjoying a sole mandate and total control of the sale process. A recruiter may be one of six agencies dealing with a role, and successfully placing 1 or 2 out of every 10 positions.

Is it any wonder that HR and line managers receive a flood of CVs from recruiters, hoping that one of them will fit? All the while the recruiter endeavours to remain professional and make the most efficient use of their time, knowing that this merry-go-round could carry on for months without a placement. And without a fee.

The commission charged for a successful placement usually equates to a month-and-a-half of the person’s annual salary. Considering the above, it’s clear that this fee is made up of a fee for the time and expertise of the recruiter, as well as the fact that they are working on a contingency-based model. Most roles will not result in a placement, yet the work still has to be done. The risks are ubiquitous.

This payment model is rare in a world where most people prefer to be paid for the work done. And especially problematic when the ultimate decision leading to a successful placement is out of the control of the recruiter.

The commission-based recruitment model needs urgent restructuring.

It’s high time that recruitment companies become professional service providers who work for a fee. The work that a good recruiter will put into ‘sending along a CV’ is mostly unseen and largely undervalued. Alternatively, the recruiter doesn’t put the effort in and simply forwards CVs hoping for a hit. You get what you pay for.

Companies should expect more from their recruiters, but recruiters should be considered partners to their clients. To earn their fee, they need to be privy to information which affects the hiring decision, to assist in creating viable job specifications and not impossible wish-lists, and lend their expertise to hiring managers during the interview and selection process.

In this way, the tug-of-war that currently exists can relax into a partnership where both parties win.

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