Recruiting in the 100 Acre Wood

Apr 4, 2001

As the father of a four-year old, I have lost track of how many Winnie the Pooh videos and stories I have seen and read over the past few years. I must admit that these characters were personal favorites of mine as a child and I’m glad I get to enjoy them again with my son. I am sure that, like me, many of you who are parents or grandparents have caught yourselves singing the songs from these programs after repeated viewings. What, you may be asking, does all of this have to do with recruiting? Well it was during one of these moments when Winnie the Pooh stories and songs were drifting in and out of my head that a seed was planted. I had the thought (crazy or creative, whichever way you choose to look at it) of what it would be like if Pooh and friends were Recruiters. Thus, the birth of this article. At this point, you may be thinking that I have gone off the deep-end. Or maybe you are thinking that this is simply going to be a “fluff” piece and your time would be better spent reading a few pages out of the dictionary. But my point in writing this article is that there is at least a little bit of Pooh, Tigger, Eeyore, Rabbit or Piglet in all of us. So by looking at how they each could do a better job in our business, my hope is that you will pick up a tip or two and have fun doing it. The basic premise is this: Pooh and friends have formed a recruiting company called Honey Pot Recruiting Services. They have had some success to date and want to be even more successful. So they hire a coach, and you guessed it, that coach is yours truly. As their coach, my most important task is to help each of them refine or upgrade their productivity and effectiveness. As you read about each of these “Recruiters,” I encourage you to look for the Tigger or Piglet, or any of the characters, in you. The coaching they get may point to an idea that would be helpful for you. Winnie the Pooh

Is he really a bear of little brain? On at least several occasions, Pooh refers to himself as a “bear of little brain.” As a Recruiter, I could hear Pooh saying things like “Oh bother, I just don’t have the brains to learn all of this jargon,” or “I was not made to make cold calls. I get started and end up all muddled and confused.” Does Pooh really have little or no brains? Let’s look at some of his assets. He is loving, loyal, a great friend, and ends up on top even through all of the bumbling. I believe that one of the lessons here is that no matter what, everything works out in the end. However, there is room for improvement on how Pooh operates through a deal. One of the biggest obstacles he needs to overcome is his tendency to bury his head in a big pot of honey when things are not going well. For example, if a deal started falling apart, Pooh would immerse himself in finding a “smackeral” or two of honey. Here are some constructive alternatives for Pooh to deal with confusion, disorganization, and when things start going awry:

  1. First and foremost, he needs to get organized. A great way to start is by writing out his plan for tomorrow the day before.
  2. His confusion may indicate a need for additional training. Just like the real world, the 100 Acre Woods offers many options including seminars, tapes, books, and articles.
  3. Pooh needs to identify his destructive patterns, such as overeating or burying his head in a pot of honey. Then, he can replace these with a positive and constructive alternative, such as:
  • When something goes wrong, the first thing he needs to do is consider the options. Is there something else he could do or is it best to let it go and move on to something else? Sometimes one of the best things to do is to let go of a situation, especially if you have done everything within your power to remedy the problem.
  • Pooh, like many of us in the business, has great colleagues and friends to turn to for advice and support. Besides getting suggestions and insights, role-plays and practice sessions could help him learn new skills and ways to improve his recruiting abilities.


Focusing all of that bounciness and energy. Like Pooh, Tigger lacks focus. What he does have is bundles of energy and a positive nature that will carry him far. What trips him up is being unable to harness that energy in a focused manner. The other thing that Tigger needs to do is to be completely honest with himself. He tends to be so positive that he doesn’t see when he needs to regroup or that things are not really going as well as he thinks. Some tips for Tigger:

  1. A daily action plan would be a great tool for Tigger, just like Pooh (in fact, I have yet to meet anyone who would not benefit from a daily plan). To keep focused and in the moment, the more detailed this plan, the better. If Tigger could focus completely on one task before moving on to another, the quality of his work would improve almost immediately.
  2. A strong dose of reality from time to time would do a Tigger a lot of good. Bouncing ideas off of colleagues, asking for honest feedback from co-workers, and occasionally taking a few moments to assess his own progress would give him clarity on where he is at and what is most important to do next.


Could he be the coach’s toughest challenge? Things just never seem to go Eeyore’s way. Whether it is falling into a briar patch or losing his tail (again), he seems to find himself in one unpleasant situation after another. Eeyore reminds me of people I have met in my life that I call the “doom and gloomers.” They believe that bad things are going to happen and inevitably they create a self-fulfilling prophecy. Most of us are not at this extreme, but ask yourself “Am I sabotaging myself with negative thoughts?” Ideas for Eeyore:

  1. If a negative thought comes up, he can throw it out and replace it with a positive one. Positive and negative thoughts cannot exist at the same time. For example, if he thinks “I will never be successful at asking for referrals” he can replace it with something like “I am successful at requesting referrals and getting better every time I do it.” It does not matter if he believes it at first or not. If you tell yourself something enough, it will eventually become your truth.
  2. Negativity breeds negativity. Eeyore needs to look for and remove all of the negative people, situations, and possible stressors that are around him. By surrounding himself with positive things and people, it will become very natural for him to rise to the level of those around him.


All of those carrots gave him an eye for too many details. Rabbit takes playing by the rules to an extreme. Can you see him ever coloring outside of the lines? Rabbit’s organization skills and intelligence are fantastic, yet they sometimes trip him up because he struggles with thinking outside of the box. He could greatly benefit from getting in touch with his creative side, lightening up, and having more fun. Here are some tips for Rabbit:

  1. Find an activity that gets the creative juices flowing. This will help when he needs to think creatively at work, especially thinking on his feet. Two simple activities that tend to get our creative processes unstuck are, first, to draw continuous counterclockwise circles with the non-dominant hand (so if Rabbit is right-handed people, he would use his left hand). Second, to immediately stop an activity when he becomes stuck and change to a completely different activity. After a few minutes, this shift in tasks often brings the insight needed to go back and finish the other project.
  2. Just say “no” to requiring that everything be perfect. The best thing Rabbit can do for himself is to accept and be okay with the fact that he is not perfect and mistakes will happen. This is not only okay; it is a part of life!
  3. Rabbit needs to play (all work and no play makes Rabbit a dull and stodgy furry critter). He overwhelms himself with responsibility. Rabbit needs to find something that brings out his playful nature such as swinging on playground swings, playing in a sandbox, driving go-karts or anything that is just about having fun.


Mustering the courage to be a great recruiter. Wouldn’t it have been great if Piglet could have gone to Oz with Dorothy and gotten some courage? Well, unless someone does a remake, I doubt this will happen. One of Piglet’s biggest stumbling blocks is his lack of confidence when communicating with others. On the plus side, he is extremely honest. What a salesman he could be if he could combine his honesty with a strong dose of self-confidence. Here are some tips for Piglet to build a reserve of confidence in himself:

  1. Practice the tried and true “act as if” principle (also known as fake it ’til you make it). If he were to act confident, say affirmations over and over again (I am a strong and confident pig. I am a strong and confident pig. I am a strong and confident pig…) his actions will soon follow his thoughts.
  2. Journaling is a powerful tool for uncovering what is really going on. If Piglet were to spend time each day journaling in detail his thoughts and feelings, there is a good chance that he would uncover the source of his self-doubt.

Just like the Recruiters of Honey Pot Recruiting Services, you have a choice to stay where you are or to grow into your fullest potential. By looking beyond what you do to who you are will give you insight into the changes and upgrades necessary to increase your success in the business. I challenge each of you who read this article to honestly assess where you are, where you want to be, what it will take to make that happen, and begin taking action. By doing so, the payoff will affect not only your business, but also your quality of life! <*SPONSORMESSAGE*>

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