We have just been put through a pretty rigorous process by a new client who were choosing an Executive Search partner. They are a well established business that hasn't had to invest in an Executive Search partnership during the 12 plus years that they have been established as they tended to recruit less experienced talent to develop or sometimes more senior individuals from their networks.
One of the Board found us on Google and decided to reach out for a critical senior appointment they are looking to make. It was clear early on that we both aligned culturally and are both certainly values-led businesses that believe in having great people around us (with the right behaviours) and working with clients who also align to these and who inspire us. We had several virtual meetings to find out more about one another and the process was very geared to telling our stories. We discussed our Purpose, our values, our culture, the types of people we employ and the clients we are proud to work with. We shared stories of our families, our journey through Covid and upcoming holidays.
To be honest, it was refreshing! We attract a lot of attention from potential new clients but far too many start our initial conversation with "what do you charge".... If cost is all you are bothered about then what hope do you have of actually choosing a partner who you will enjoy working with, who will respect you, not treat your relationship as a transaction and, instead, who will be relentless about delivering success for you because they are bought into your company, your purpose and vision.
Anyway, this client decided to choose to partner with Collingwood and we met them for the first time last week (due to Covid restrictions) and we had a great meeting. We are really excited to partner this client and to successfully appoint a senior role for them that will help them executive their future strategy.
Please don't focus on price when you are sourcing a new supplier. It will end in a shallow relationship and a business transaction rather than an opportunity to create something special for many years to come.
Effective sourcing requires rigour in terms of assessing the market and potential suppliers that could satisfy the organisation’s procurement needs. This research and analysis should be proportionate to the size, risk and criticality of each contract or requirement of course; no-one is suggesting a deep analysis of a one-off low value supplier. But once we move into more important categories and suppliers, good understanding is vital. Picking up on one key element of this, the best indicator of whether a supplier is really capable of doing what they claim they can, or what they propose to do in the tender or proposal document, must be their past experience, and how that evidences their skills to perform this contract. Usually that means considering how they have carried out similar work in the past.