Chapter 4Positioning the OpportunityThe Quick and the Dead

Research is to see what everybody else has seen, and to think what nobody else has thought.

—Albert Szent-Gyorgyi

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Michael and I discussed our outreach strategy. We quickly defined our target market, our message, and the marketing and recruiting materials we needed. Time was of the essence because the role had been open for an extended period.

Because of Michael's strong manufacturing background and superior understanding of the role's technical aspects, he took an indirect approach. An indirect strategy normally involves advertising and asking for referrals—Michael believed he understood the role and that he had sufficient contacts in the industry to pull it off. I, meanwhile, chose the direct approach. This involves deep research into the major players in an industry ecosystem. Off we went, still a team but more like Ferrari or McLaren than the LA Dodgers or New York Yankees—our competitive fires were blazing, and each of us personally wanted to win the race.

Michael took off out of the blocks, quickly placing an ad on LinkedIn. This was Michael's first major executive search under my tutelage. I had explained to Michael when he joined the firm that although posting a job might seem the easiest and quickest way to generate a plethora of candidates, it's often a complete waste of time. But he was intent on trying it his way, and I let him proceed. Some repeatedly cast nets and others use ...

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