Published on: March 16, 2009There was an interesting story in the New York Times yesterday about the priority placed by “competitors in entertainment, venture capital and medical research” to continue hiring smart people and funding innovative ideas, despite the economic downturn that has led so many companies to cut back on expansion and lay off employees. “In pockets of the American economy, however, the hunt for game-changing stars remains surprisingly intense, the Times writes, noting that “finding the next big hit can save the day, but running out of talent is a recipe for extinction.”
“A downturn can be a very good time to build a company,” Michael Moritz, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist, tells the Times. “The parvenus and the pretenders are gone. The only people who want to start a company in a time like this are the ones with the greatest conviction.”
The Times continues, “In fields where picking hits is crucial, executives say it’s vital to keep wooing candidates no matter how jittery the economy. In extended interviews, seven of these talent scouts argue that enduring success can come only from adding more of the best people to their teams.
“These executives’ specialties are as diverse as architecture, biotechnology and country music. Asked to share their recruiting principles, they touched on a handful of simple, recurring themes. Among them: take chances on passionate people early in their work lives, focus on what can go right, offer rewards no one else can match and harness the lessons of your own career.”
- KC's View:
- While at no point in this story are the food and retailing businesses mentioned, it seemed a legitimate piece to bring to your attention…because I think it reflects a mindset that more people in these industries ought to embrace.
It is all about continued momentum and strategic focus that looks on where companies need to be when the recession ends, not just on how to deal with day-to-day problems. BTW, there is a pretty good argument that Walmart is doing some of the same things that are described in the Times story, which is at least part of the reason that it just hired Brian Cornell, formerly of Safeway and Michaels Stores, to run its Sam’s Club unit.
(Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I actually debated with myself about including this item because it seems to so closely adheres to the message being sent by one of MNB’s sponsors, executive search firm Samuel J. Associates. But in the end, that didn’t seem like a good enough reason not to mention this story … and in fact, it is a point of pride that the messages being sent by our sponsors are so much in synch with our editorial approach.)