Employment Success with the Pause, Plan, Practice Process

We often hear “Top organizations want to attract top talent.” And, “Top talent wants to work with top organizations.” True enough, yes? I wonder then, what defines TOP? How do you know TOP when you see TOP? Is there a limited number of TOP? With no e-harmony for TOP, how do you connect? How does TOP find each other? Is everything not TOP less than?

We live in a world that is unpredictable, ambiguous, uncertain and many factors, technology being one of them, are demanding that we change faster than our comfort level. I pose that the question more accurately reflecting the wants and needs of organizations and individuals is: 

Who/Where Is Right For The Right Seat At The Right Time?

Jim Collins said it well in “Good to Great” with “right person, right seat.” And, we have evolved to require the addition of “right time.” We said our world is unpredictable and experiencing radical change – in this climate, our organizations and individuals are experiencing the same. What is right for both is not only unique but also changes as fast as everything else. Gone are the days of old definitions of stability, longevity, and loyalty. We are in the days of fluidity, growth, and expansion.

Why is this important? Because with the TOP requests, everyone is looking for the same thing and the same thing is not right for everyone. I have heard for almost 20 years the same comments from organizations and individuals in the hiring or career changing mode. Organizations say, “I want a lawyer from a top law school with top grades working at a top organization.” Individuals say, “I want to work somewhere that appreciates me, where I can have control over my time and make enough money.” The question mistakenly forgotten is “What is right, specifically for you?” In other words – the mating dance for a successful employment connection requires each side to know themselves first. It requires each side to ask of themselves: Who are you? What do you need/want? How will you know it when you see it? Or, I like to say, the pause, plan, practice process to successful employment.


Always going somewhere and yet never being anywhere – sound familiar? Richard Leider claims we have a new epidemic among us, “hurry” sickness. If we are running at high speed while pursuing our career steps or hiring in our organizations, we get the wrong results (“They aren’t doing what I thought they would do when I hired them.” or “This is how I felt in my last position.”) What is the cure? A well-accepted opinion in academic circles is simply to “pause.” This is the first step to employment success – it starts with you. This step is the most forgotten step with organizations and individuals and yet is the most critical. Taking a minute to recognize who you are will determine the outcome you get. Questions to ponder include: What values do you use to make decisions? These are your core values. Identify them and write them down. What are the priorities you are meeting with this position? Write them down. What behaviors do you expect to see? What would you be disappointed to see? Again, write it down. Now, look at it – this is what you are looking for – this applies to an organization looking to fill a position or an individual looking for a career step.


What process are you going to use to find the fit? What questions will you ask? What answers/examples will you give? Who will be involved? What are your strengths? What are your snafus? Your differentiators? Your uniqueness? The mistake organizations commonly make in this step is they try to pull the plan together at the last minute with whoever is available. This mistake can be costly as a weak first impression is lasting and can be the difference between an offer being accepted or declined. For the individual, the common mistake is stopping the plan at the search effort. In other words, once a resume is sent, they stop the proactive role and move into the “go with the flow” of the organization. There is little opportunity to differentiate oneself from a passive position.


Have you ever heard a good speech? How about a good impromptu speech? What do they both have in common? Practice. That’s right. Most good “impromptu” speeches have been rehearsed in some fashion. In an interview situation, both parties know it is going to happen and know what the other will want to know about them. It is not a mystery. Yet, both sides commonly approach an interview like it is an impromptu speech with no rehearsal. You have taken the pause time to figure out who you are and what you need. You have taken your time to plan your questions, answers, approach. The practice step is the opportunity for you to bring all the steps together. A chance for you to get feedback, clarify your messages, match your non-verbals. You waste your time by not doing this simple step.

So, whether you are on the hiring side of the table or the interviewee side of the table – you both want the same thing – to identify the right fit so you can be happy in this dynamic world. That is good. Research has proven time again that if there is happiness in the organization and the individual there is a legal talent management firm that provides cost-effective legal recruiting for culture fit, as well  as communications workshops, team-building exercises, leadership coaching, management training, CLE presentations, and firm and client building programs. As a trusted strategic partner, Jodi helps law firms and legal departments develop a cohesive approach to selection, development and retention of talent, directly impacting the bottom line which is vital to their success. Hundreds of clients across the country rely on Jodi’s expertise. Organizations are different and people are different. Using the pause, plan, practice process will position you in your mating dance, allowing you to identify the match that is right for you right now.