Embrace Your Inner Rookie and Win

Jun 13, 2014

Novice button-freeRookies are just awesome. Their innocence and energy for an office is infectious, and they do the things which the tenured forgot made them successful. Yet with all their mistakes and silly questions, they still bill. They bill because they follow the system. They follow the system because they do not know any better. It just has to make you smile.

A while back I had a rookie brag he had verbal approval for terms with a  former client of the office. This company had a change in HR back in 2009, which at that time issued cancellation notices on all existing service agreements and issued new service agreements that included a reduction in fee, a longer guarantee period, and a money back guarantee. We went back to all of our hiring managers, elicited their help to no avail, and finally walked away.

He Didn’t Know “Better”

Now this rookie is bragging he had verbal approval and a service agreement pending with our terms.

Yeah, right. In the back of my mind I wanted to ask why he was wasting his time and mine. Well, a few days later we had a candidate go interview and not long after we were negotiating an offer! That excited my tenured staff  because the company is a great company and we have other possible candidates to submit. All because rookies have no limitations, and have not learned to be scared of “closed doors.”

Have you noticed that human babies are taught fear? When my daughter was younger, she loved the water and loved going to the lake. She was a great swimmer and could do back flips that would make your head spin. She was the essence of the song Pontoon. Then one day she was told a story about alligators. Not that she ever saw one, but that story taught her to have fear of swimming in the lake. A simple story affected her deeply.

Blind Innocence

Rookies are similar. We owe it to our rookies to have a culture of blind innocence. We trust in the process and system of what we do, not in a single event called a placement. We have blind faith that the system will create inventory, the inventory will create interviews, and the interviews will create placements.

Am I saying that you should pretend you are as unknowing as a rookie? Not entirely. Obviously, you have developed skills and acquired industry knowledge through your experience in the business. But there are undoubtedly occasions when having the naivete of a rookie can bring you back to center. It can provide a fresh perspective on an old opinion, and can be invaluable when you reevaluate your market.

How many times have you taken a new assignment for an existing client and failed to properly qualify because you already “knew everything”? Maybe your inner rookie can make you clean up your act —  whether it is thoroughly qualifying a new assignment for an old client, or checking a reference, or writing a presentation that actually has a value-benefit statement.

Embrace your inner rookie and go win back an old client.

Image: Stuart Miles /