“If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone.”
Forces and trends in business are accidentally collaborating to stymie and hamper people and organizations reaching their full potential.
The economy of our country and the economies of households within it are hurting as a result.
Not recognizing and developing potential – not providing opportunity – contributes significantly to unemployment and under-employment remaining high, and record numbers of people dropping out of the work force – even as many jobs remain unfilled.
What is going on?
It is all tied to a widespread lament of managers, and something bemoaned widely, that jobs remain open because companies can’t find or recruit candidates qualified enough to whom a job can be offered. Many enterprises like to blame our schools and education system for not churning out enough candidates with the right education and know-how.
Willwork, Inc. Exhbit Services – a national leader in the tradeshow, meetings, and events industry, with offices across the nation – sees things and operates a bit differently.
Willwork knows that a solution to this problem is for companies to think more creatively, focus more on possibility and potential … and to not be so centered on what a candidate is now, and the lack of skills or experience of that person – and to pay more attention and consideration to the skills and experience that he or she may develop and acquire with the right guidance and mentoring.
All of this is a cultural and operational mindset of Willwork, Inc. Exhibit & Event Services – a company founded 25 years ago that today and throughout our history has consistently built a winning team of people diverse in high-level skills, talents, education, and training – and dedication to providing its customers with increasing value and competitive advantage.
Our people – our most important resource – are renown for the quality and excellence of their services across many areas, including the following:
- installing and dismantling exhibits
- handling, from start to finish, all contracting and logistics of meetings and events – ranging in scope from a single room and a single afternoon to several buildings over several days
- adapting and developing technology to save our customers money, and to improve the return on investment and advantages they receive from participating in a show or event; an example is our premier, next-generation lead retrieval and customer tracking devices and systems
- designing, engineering, and building award-winning audio-visual and multimedia walls and displays
- operating road crews that travel from city to city – to museums, stores, malls, recreation areas, and other venues … unloading, building, installing, and monitoring exhibits and displays … then breaking all of it down, packing it all, and shipping all the property to the next place where we begin again.
In recruiting and hiring, Willwork is not constrained by convention, not afraid, … and is open-minded and inspired by possibility. Like every company, we hope to find the perfect candidate – and we are always on the lookout for that person, one with all the right experience and skills – but we don’t spend an inordinate amount of time in that search.
We do place a premium on identifying and training people who are competitive, problem solvers, hard workers, honest, loyal, who will work cooperatively with others, and who are receptive to teaching and coaching.
Willwork also places top of mind that it is difficult to too highly estimate the importance of character and determination.
In the fall of 2011, an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal, titled, “Why Companies Aren’t Getting the Employees They Need: The conventional wisdom is that our education system is failing our economy. But our companies deserve a lot of the blame themselves,” received widespread attention and provoked widespread discussion.
Author of the piece was Dr. Peter Cappelli, one of the most sought after thinkers and advisors on human capital, and the George W. Taylor professor of management at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and director of Wharton’s Center for Human Resources.
When the story ran, the national unemployment rate was at about 9 percent. Yet, still, many jobs remained unfilled.
Here is an excerpt from Mr. Cappelli’s op-ed:
“To get America’s job engine revving again, companies need to stop pinning so much of the blame on our nation’s education system. They need to drop the idea of finding perfect candidates and look for people who could do the job with a bit of training and practice.
“There are plenty of ways to get workers up to speed without investing too much time and money, such as putting new employees on extended probationary periods and relying more on internal hires, who know the ropes better than outsiders would.
“It’s a fundamental change from business as usual. But the way we’re doing things now just isn’t working.”
Please click here to be taken to the full story.
Willwork fully subscribes to the “need to drop the idea of finding the perfect candidates and look for people who could do the job with a bit of training and practice … and relying more on internal hires, who know the ropes better than outsiders would.”
We look for specific, relevant, and applicable experience, of course – but we also look for and evaluate potential, for someone in whom an investment will pay off. We do this whether we are hiring for entry or senior level, for floor labor or office support or management.
Willwork Exhibit & Event Services has found a winning formula in dedicating extra effort and resources to helping the right person acquire the right trade and workplace proficiencies and abilities.
We also appreciate the accuracy of the quote above from John Maxwell – that the essence and nature of growth requires that we become uncomfortable and arrive in areas and meet up with responsibilities with which we are unfamiliar.
Constantly and smartly training and practicing is necessary to become familiar with new territories and to expertly take on and handle new responsibilities. This is a reality whether you are in day one on your first job, or in the twilight of a career in which you sit as CEO.
Olympic gold medalist, Jim Craig, goalie for the 1980 U.S. Olympic hockey team, is today a leading motivational speaker and sales and marketing coach. Among the topics he writes and speaks about are his nine Gold Medal Strategies for business success.
One of the nine strategies is “Great Teams Remain Young in Spirit and Outlook.”
And, as Jim explains, if you aren’t growing, getting uncomfortable, constantly training, learning, and looking for ways to do things better, then you are getting old and complacent – and you have abandoned and left young in spirit and outlook behind.
Willwork Exhibit & Event Services believes that Jim Craig is right on with this reflection, and not just because we share a personal and cosmic connection with him in that he is native of, and grew up in Easton, MA, the same community in which Willwork has its corporate headquarters.
Willwork provides workers individual training and mentoring so they are fully practiced and expert in all requirements, skills, and procedures.
Our veteran and experienced trades personnel and labor organizers mentor and oversee and direct training.
Fifteen years ago, Willwork Exhibit & Event Services pioneered training and education in our industry with the launch of Willwork University, a twice-a-year three-day skills and hands-on learning seminar in which Willwork foreman and senior management teach and demonstrate proper techniques and procedures for all aspects of exhibit installation & dismantle and show general contracting.
One session of Willwork University is held at our corporate offices in the Boston area – and the other session is held at one of our satellite offices in another region of the country. Show and event laborers travel to Willwork University from all parts of America to learn, ask questions, and perform the work and tasks required of a fully qualified and capable exhibit and installation professional.
“Students” successfully completing Willwork University even receive a diploma.
Willwork believes in promoting from within, in helping and assisting people to climb the ladder in our organization, to, as Mr. Cappelli recommends, rely “ … more on internal hires, who know the ropes better than outsiders would ….”
It is a policy that allows for pathways to career advancement and success not commonly seen in the corporate world. Consider that well represented on our operations and management staff are those whose first job at Willwork was on show floor, performing the most noble labor, physically intensive labor, such as rolling out carpet and unpacking freight and installing and dismantling exhibits. And, for sure, the hands-on labor end of things at our company is one that offers steady and high-paying work, and there are those who would never leave the show floor to work in an office or spend more than a minute behind a desk – but, for those, who would choose a different route, it is available to them.
This is also the case with our sales team. We have found that working from the floor up – figuratively and literally – supports a successful transition to selling and taking care of customers. To whatever degree necessary, Willwork abets and supports this transition, training and teaching selling techniques, account management and relationship building (customer and sales management technology best practices), and business writing skills.
Willwork Exhibit & Event Services doesn’t fault a company strategy of looking for just the right candidate – at just the right time. Again, we ourselves hope that we could find a superstar everyday.
But that strategy should only be one recruitment strategy – and it should be pursued with the understanding that too much reliance on that plan of attack frequently contributes to teams that “aren’t deep in talent” and companies that give up ground and lose to the competition.
And weave in to the broader strategy the search for diamonds not yet polished, talent not yet cultivated, potential not yet realized, and all star employee not yet made.