Finding People Who Make a Difference

Feb 17, 2009

My name is Brett Blair, and I am a relatively new recruiter and owner of a Sanford Rose Associates Executive Search firm.

I opened my first office in June, 2007, in Howell, Michigan – a suburb of Detroit. Over the next 18 months, I was able to grow the company to 7 employees, including one in Mexico, and in that time frame completed 30 search assignments with revenues in excess of $600,000. I also opened a second office in Nashville, Tennessee, in December 2008.

I have an unusual background, and one that surprises many when they inquire about my success. I am an Industrial Engineer, and went on to obtain an MBA. I worked for 3M and then for Alcoa, and had a 20+ year career in “the cubicle” at these great companies.

My roles were diverse…ranging from engineering to customer service, Manager of Trade Compliance, Human Resources Director, and ultimately General Manager of a $200M international automotive electronics division.

The automotive slump, coupled with a burning desire in my heart to become an entrepreneur, were things that nudged me into leaving Alcoa in early 2007.

Several friends suggested I look into recruiting, and I thought they were absolutely crazy. I had no experience in sales or marketing, and had no interest in going this direction.

I detest making cold calls. I thought that I would find this line of work miserable.

My human resources background, experience which I loved, was the only bit of credibility that I thought I had to support moving in this direction.

I didn’t know myself very well. After looking closely at the executive search profession, I decided to invest in and establish a new recruiting company, and made a very wise choice to join Sanford Rose Associates Executive Search.

So, how could I have such a fast start, especially in this economy, and located in the shadows of severely depressed Detroit, and coming from an automotive manufacturing background?

The answer, I believe, is that I have found my passion (helping people), I am a disciplined goal setter, and I have learned how to “control my thinking.”

As part of my transition to the freedom of owning my business, I began working with a personal development coach. Through this process, I have set specific, measurable goals with 18 month time horizons. I break these down into 90 day increments, and regularly review my progress with my coach, who is in effect my “accountability partner.” I have become an avid reader, watch almost no television, and have become addicted to learning and achieving personal growth.

I attempt to do this in a balanced fashion, aiming at the following six priority areas, listed in order of importance:

  1. Spiritual Health
  2. Physical Health
  3. Quality of Relationships
  4. Emotional Health
  5. Intellectual Health
  6. Financial Health

I believe that balance and growth in the first five areas will set one up for tremendous financial success….it will just happen if one is ready given the overall quality of his/her life.

So, how does one find “balance” in these six areas?

I believe this is done by first conducting an honest assessment of where an individual stands on each of these six priorities. Then, one can set specific goals for improvement in those areas needing the biggest boost. I firmly believe in the power of setting “written goals,” and I have developed the habit of writing down, and carrying, my goals on a new index card each and every day.

This is a little trick that I use to remind that each and every day starts like a blank sheet of paper… that the past is in the past, and all that matters is what is done “now.” This creates the freedom and opportunity to experience tremendous productivity.

Some examples of my goals are:

  • Spiritual: To “really” pray twice each day; To read the Bible. To read one other spiritual book per month.
  • Physical: Training – I will run the Nashville Marathon on April 25. To eliminate the need for cholesterol drugs via exercise and diet.
  • Relationships: To be a great husband and father; to have weekly meetings to mentor and encourage each of my employees; To establish a “MasterMind” group in Nashville, where I have recently moved
  • Emotional: To read one book on psychology or emotional health per month: to meditate 3 times per week.
  • Intellectual: To improve my reading speed to 1,200 wpm; to read the Wall Street Journal and New York Times daily; to obtain my private pilot’s license by June 1, 2009.
  • Financial: To make ???? $ by December 31, 2009. Also, to make ???$ by December 31, 2012. (This is broken down in to month goals and “activity” goals.)

Controlling one’s thinking, training the brain to stay focused, being optimistic, and being free of worry and regret — these are key. Also critically important is exercise and maintaining a healthy diet.

I have chosen to ignore the news, and I refuse to participate in the current recession. My little company, Sanford Rose Associate-Howell, is aimed at doubling our revenue in 2009.

Surrounding myself with daily opportunities for inspiration, unwavering focus, and dedication to written action plans are my roadmaps to achieving this goal.