What’s More Important: The Journey Or The Destination?

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Aug 28, 2012
This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.

My dad always told me to enjoy the journey. Of course, this was always when we were on a long road trip through the middle of nowhere to somewhere that might be a tad more interesting. And I was thinking this to myself as I wound across the  western United States, going at speeds that might get me in trouble with my wife and local law enforcement (it also got me thinking about the game in the image, Oregon Trail).

As often happens, my mind turned toward talent acquisition and, of course, sourcing. And I was actually conflicted a little bit. What matters more in talent acquisition: the process by which you get results or the result itself? My heart said the journey but my head said the destination.

So what say you?

An argument for the journey

As a writer, I know that process is everything for me. The right topic–properly researched and mapped out–as well as the process of actually writing it, leads to a good piece more frequently. Without this process, consistency suffers. Sometimes I’ll nail a topic and other times I’ll miss completely.

The same can be said for sourcing as well. A good process is the bedrock for a better talent acquisition function. Doing the right things, at the right time, is going to lead to more consistent, better results. Maybe more importantly, it allows you to replicate and improve processes and track results.

With results-only, destination based work, you’re likely to put together what some have termed a minimally-viable slate. That might be great if your goal is to produce slates that minimally impress clients and customers. It might get the job done. But you’re a sourcing pro. You don’t want to put together something that attracts more “meh” than excitement. So, a process that aims to go beyond that minimally-viable slate is obviously the correct choice, right? Well…

An argument for the destination

Your customers and clients care about one thing: results. Namely, are you getting them the clients they need. And for those who live outside of the corporate world, you face this reality on every assignment. Even on retained assignments, not putting together a great slate means the real possibility that you don’t get the job the next time around.

Focusing on results is great for producing extraordinary candidate searches. When you set aside your process and just go to any length to put together a great slate of candidates, good things happen that might not in a regimented process. You will be forced to think outside of the box, especially on difficult assignments. That means all forms of internet searches, phone, snail mail, billboards… well, you get the picture. Nothing is off the table. At least until you get the results you need.

A process might lock you into a mindset that there is a best way to find a certain candidate. And nobody talks about how great processes are when they don’t produce results. So that’s what really counts, right?

Your choice

Obviously, both are essential. You don’t get one without the other. But when it comes to what you place more importance on, if you have to pick one, which will you pick? Are you a live by the process/die by the process type person or do you rock out to results-only, process be damned?

This article is part of a series called Editor's Pick.
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