Five Scenarios X: Presentation Recap

Mar 25, 2010
This article is part of a series called News & Trends.

Disruption is what happens when someone figures out a new way to arrive at the conclusion you get to the old way. In pure technical environments, disruption happens when a cheaper, divergent technology replaces a standard. Generally speaking, the new way replaces the old quickly. The dominant players of the old school are left on the sidelines, mouths gaping.

When compact flash memory replaced disk drives, none of the hard drive makers were able to make the transition. To the incumbents, the change feels dramatic and unstoppable. To the new moguls, growth feels like it always does.

The Five Scenarios project (sponsored beginning to end by Pinstripe) was designed to suggest some of the sorts of things that might cause disruptions in recruiting. Only one of the five scenarios really involved technology. The rest were from the standard cookbook of disruptive stuff: economics, disease, migratory patterns, shortages.

This year’s ERE Expo was amazing. (Here are some pictures) Part class reunion and homecoming, part trend definition, the spring Expo was a high energy get together with lots of blazingly bright minds soaking up and giving off powerful ideas.

The recruiting disruption session, scheduled cleverly at the end of the last day, was packed with people who had read at least some of the material in this series. The short introductory presentation moved from a high energy Prezi to flipchart paper in a matter of 20 seconds. The hotel’s wireless couldn’t sustain the presentation. It was its own little disruption.

Fortunately, the crowd was prepared and the five group facilitators were in rare form. After the initial outline was presented, the room broke into five groups led by

  • Claudia Faust
  • George Larocque
  • David Pritchard
  • William Tincup
  • Peter Clayton

The bulk of the session was a series of five parallel conversations on the topic of “What’s the impact of this scenario on recruiting”? The conversations were impassioned as the members of each group debated and synthesized the impact of big things on the profession. If there hadn’t been pressure to finish the conversations and return to the mother ship, things might have gone well into the evening.

One thing was clear. The smartest people in the session were in the room, not on the podium. Conflict, contention, respect, and breakthrough happened in each of the five groups.

There were a number of common conclusions:

  • Recruiting is dependent on a number of organizational functions. When they stop, recruiting changes
  • While there is an important human component of recruiting, it’s somewhat smaller than you might think
  • Outsourcing is a pretty good idea under a variety of settings
  • There is a really important role for recruiting in disasters. Recovery depends on people who can make good team building judgments
  • The real value of recruiting may not be very well articulated under the current circumstances

Scenario planning is not an attempt to address all possible contingencies. It’s a way of understanding competitive weakness and opportunity. It’s a long form of a traditional SWOT analysis that forces you to understand where the breaking point is.

The session, with its pre-planning and breakout groups proved to be a useful and repeatable model.

If you’re interested in the whole process, we’ll be publishing a white paper in conjunction with Pinstripe. It will cover all of the material and include a guide to Scenario Planning for your Recruiting operation. Fill out this form to reserve yours. They should ship in early May.

If you were there, we could use your comments and criticisms.

Here’s the whole series:

This article is part of a series called News & Trends.
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