“The moment you have the audacity to start believing in the not-yet seen, your reality will begin to shift…you have to change your thinking first, and then the evidence appears. Our big mistake is that we do it the other way around. We demand to see the evidence before we believe it to be true.”
~ Jen Cincero, Author
In my world of civil engineering executive search this is a very powerful statement. I have the privilege of working with civil engineering executives, leaders, and consulting firm owners who have a vision for growth. These leaders have successfully built businesses or service lines, but they are looking to further expand into new geographies or new service lines, and they seek our guidance in identifying top talent in the industry to help them achieve that vision.
The challenge is, not necessarily finding the candidate who meets the desired skill set, but finding the candidate who meets the desired skill set AND who is able to “believe in the not-yet seen.” That is, the civil engineer or civil engineering executive who is able to buy into the vision, and who can look themselves in the mirror and say to themselves, “yes, this opportunity does pose some risk, but my past experiences and the success that I have earned up to this point in my career will SQUASH that element of risk!” In other words, finding candidates who have the level of self confidence to successfully pull off an exciting, and often career changing professional feat. So many times I interact with folks who rather than seeing the opportunity set before them as true “game-changer,” they become apprehensive and need to see some sort of evidence that things will work out, when in fact they are the ones who have the amazing opportunity to write the story, or create that evidence THEMSELVES!
Those who have the self-awareness and know how to kick ass and take names, but who don’t come across like a bull in a china shop are the one’s who can TRULY make a name for themselves and make sizable impacts in the growth of an organization.
Let me give you an example. Right now I am conducting a search for a client – a small firm in the Southwest US who is looking to expand into a brand new geography. The company president has spent the last 18 months performing his due diligence, getting all the necessary certifications in place, meeting with all the right people and developing relationships with potential clients and partners within that marketplace. He is now ready to pull the trigger. We have uncovered half a dozen candidates who love the idea of leading an office, sharing in the profits, and taking an ownership stake in the firm in two years. They have all the tools, a business plan is in place, financials are out on the table, but in the end, they fall back into the trap of being “comfortable” where they are. A psychological “flick-of-the-switch” would make ALL the difference for some of these folks. If they were truly able to assess all they have accomplished up to this point in their career, and then maybe puff their chest just a little bit, their career could end up being quite different.
What keeps me going is that I have indeed been fortunate enough to place dozens of civil engineers in leadership roles where they have been tasked with starting a new group, opening a new office, or turning around a struggling operation..and they have KILLED IT! It is a great honor to watch some of the professionals we work with really take the “bull-by-the-horns” and make considerable contributions to the vision of our clients. In the end, it was their “inner badass” that played a big part in their achievements.
As a recruiter, it is frustrating to see some really good candidates turn down some amazing opportunities; not because we lost out on a placement, but because we catch a glimpse of greatness in these candidates, and we only wish they would have caught that same glimpse themselves.