Wayne Worthington joins the inaugural episode of The Dallas-Fort Worth Business Podcast!
#50: Identifying cultural cornerstones with Wayne Worthington
January 4, 2021 • 48:05
Aaron Spatz, Host, America’s Entrepreneur
Good morning. Welcome to the very, very first edition of The Dallas-Fort Worth Business Podcast. I’m Aaron Spatz. I’m so excited to have you here this morning. We’re going to be featuring tons of amazing conversations with business leaders, executives, thought leaders, just fun and interesting people across the metroplex and their business careers and their business ventures and all the different things that they’re doing.
So I want to invite you to be a part of the conversation. So if you have any feedback for the show, there’s anything that you want to see, anything that you hate, people that you’d love to see be featured on the show, feel free to drop me a line at email@example.com. And really, I guess that’s part of the reason I do this. If you’re like me, I have a genuine curiosity about people, about business, how they both work. So it makes for a really fun and interesting time. Each episode, I will quickly intro our guests for the day, and then we’re going to jump – literally, we’ll just jump right in.
So today, I’ve got Wayne Worthington. Wayne is a former USMC officer. He’s VP for Raines International, a talent consulting firm. And Wayne, one, I just want to welcome you to the show. But two, I get the sense that you’re a people guy. So a lot of the things that I’ve done in just a little bit of homework on you, it seems like you’re a bit of a people guy. You love to understand how people tick, how they operate. Does that ring true for you?
Oh, absolutely. Aaron, first off, thanks for having me. Really excited to be here and ringing in the new year with you on the episode today. But absolutely, a people guy. I think that as I look back on my career in the Marine Corps in the infantry, certainly, the mission was to lead, motivate, and inspire Marines, right? So the people piece of things. And as I stepped out, after my commitment within the service, it was obvious to me that being around people was the place I had to go.
Yeah. No, you know, we get a lot of training. And so for those that are listening, watching, Wayne and I just so happen to both be former Marine officers, which I think was just kind of funny. We’re just kicking it off right. Man, we’re just doing it right. But, no, there’s a lot of people leadership skills that we learned, but also going into business, it’s important that people understand how their teams tick, how other people operate, how do I motivate and inspire a team or how do I get the best outcome, the best results for whatever it is that I’m doing. And so, again, just kind of take us really quickly through your journey, obviously, your military journey within, what did that look like for you? Your post-military journey, what’s it been like for you so far?
Yeah. So jumping a bit before that even, I went to the Naval Academy and studied Naval architecture, right? So this is the engineering of ships and all of design. And the best way to describe the difference between the Navy and the Marine Corps is certainly that in the Navy, the people support the system, right? So it’s all about the ship, all about the aircraft carrier, the airplane.
In the Marine Corps, on the other side, the system supports the people. And I knew that after studying the system, I wanted to get to the other end of the spectrum and down to the heart of leadership, what is this pulse that gets people to climb mountains, both physically and metaphorically. And so I commissioned in the Marine Corps infantry, was on the east coast and deployed three times with the Marines there from 2015 to 2019. So off the coast of Yemen and Africa and also a first responder to Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands when Hurricane Maria and Irma came through and really devastated those islands.
So it was a bit of a spectrum, too, from what you would understand as the infantry Marine piece to “Hey, we need to clean these roads up.” And I knew it was time for me to step out for family reasons and also I felt I had carried the torch high for my service. And so in stepping out, I think many veterans are set with the question of go to operations. It’s a term that we use, but no one really knows what it means. We do ops. We make things happen in a lot of ways and this is transformation piece.
And so I threw the net why. Do I move into this management consulting space because of the experience I had had in the service? Was it operations, let’s say, Amazon, and help pack boxes efficiently, and things like that, which is important, but was that my home? And the last piece was I learned about search and specifically executive search – identifying that spark of leadership, what makes companies grow, organizations drive value.
And so in understanding that potential opportunity for myself, I stepped in first off with a company called Korn Ferry and was in their global technology practice. And then again, with the COVID shakeup, many of the listeners, I’m certain, experienced being let go or things like that, and a shuffle in the industry. And so I was a part of that shuffle also. I found a fantastic home at Raines International, which is a boutique firm. Moving from a large public company, Korn Ferry, to a small private firm, that’s really fantastic. And perhaps we’ll get the details later.
Oh, yeah, no, we’ll definitely get into some of the gory details. I mean, no, because, I mean, we were in this really odd time and it’s now I think people are starting to get a little bit more adjusted, a little bit more acquainted, to what’s happening. The job market has for sure been flipped around. DFW, and this is one of the things I’m curious to get your insights. So here in the DFW area, there’s been this tremendous job growth, right? There’s tons of different companies moving their headquarters here from, say California, or just other parts of the state or other parts of the US and they’re setting up shop here in north Texas.
And so we’ve got this influx of folks coming in, but then we’ve also had this shift and this disruption to business. And so some businesses have been very adversely effected. Some, it’s been status quo really, really no change. And other companies, that’s been, like, holy crap, man. We are growing and we can’t even keep up with what we’ve got. So kind of share with me where you feel the recruiting, the talent consulting side of the business, is right now as that relates –?
Wow. Yeah, well, you know, I would say there’s two aspects. One would be the view that COVID perhaps has been the great accelerator for us. It wasn’t a change agent, right? Not the catalyst that came in and changed the equation for everyone, but it’s been the accelerator in the adoption of technology. And so inside executive recruiting or perhaps recruiting at large, the processes that we’ve used this approach with have slightly changed. So in the past, we would fly or I would fly to executives and individuals for an in-person interview, right? You get a chance to see the whites of their eyes. You gain a lot of the presence that a person has by that. But in the COVID era and just the radical access to talent that LinkedIn has brought is that much of our interviewing full end-to-end all happen virtually.
Now we add pieces to the process. One of which is a cultural interview. All right. So we would choose someone outside of the management that the individual would be interviewing to work alongside for or with and we help them to identify a cultural champion. Someone that would step outside that embodies the highs and lows, the aspects of the organization, to then do that pulse check and perhaps some even more coffees. So a bit of a time like this where you get a chat with them on a personal level. Things that you would pick up in an interview and you’ll say, “Hey, let’s go get dinner.”
So how do we facilitate getting to know people? And that would be the first change, I would say, for recruiting at large. Now, as we turn to DFW and a bit more of the industries, specifically, I’m in software and technology. So it’s been busy. Certainly, there was a slow down with the uncertainty in the beginning – March, April, May. But since then, with the great accelerator that COVID has been for technology, it’s definitely picked up. And for some of my colleagues in different industries, right now oil and gas perhaps isn’t doing as many searches because there’s not as much continued investment. Well, there is, right? But changes on how do we make this more green and some of the other industries have shifted, right? So we’re having individuals call us or organizations retain us to help them do searches on how do we go from a commerce company to e-commerce. We’re behind. We have to catch up
Man, yeah. I mean, you hit on a really touchy subject, I think, for a lot of people, right? Because there’s a group of companies that were either they’re early adopters to e-commerce or to being able to do things online and maybe it comprised a smaller percentage of their overall revenue or of their business. And now they get thrust into this situation where, man, that’s all you got now. We’re not driving across the metroplex anymore to go talk to people or they can’t come to your store physically right now, wherever it may be, right? I mean, it could be up in Frisco, could be down in Benbrook. It could be in Arlington. It doesn’t matter. I mean, now we’ve got to ship stuff or we’ve got to interact with you through some type of online platform.
So, I mean, no doubt, it has been a massive change. And it’s very interesting what you said about software technology. So that has been my suspicion. It’s that software technology continues to be in demand. And so let’s just go ahead and go a little more micro. So are there specific roles and specific slots within organizations that you feel are the highest priority/hardest to fill type spots?
Highest priority or hardest to fill?
Both. Well, a bit of it’s a transformation piece. So I would say right now it’s the CIO, CTO position that companies that haven’t had the focus on the “e” side of things. So the e-commerce or the innovation side. So how do we cause transformation in our company? So that would be the ones that many companies perhaps are behind the ball if they weren’t focusing enough. Because you don’t have all your rain gear if it never rains. And sure enough, here comes COVID and it’s time to make some changes. And then I would say some of the harder ones to fill, we tend to see it being more of sales, right? Because, again, now we move into the very personal side of things. How do we drive connections in this win-win win situation? And so as far as filling positions, I would say finding individuals that have the end-to-end commitment and sales individuals are ones that are a bit more tricky.
Okay. Wow. Yeah. That’s a great insight. And I’m curious what that would look like across all the different industries across the metroplex.
You know, the things that I think is really important to identify what is a leader, right? And this is a term that everyone throws around and we look off to books or stories, perhaps great historical figures on what a leader is, and much of the time in an organization or a team, you certainly know that there’s been an instance where we need someone to rally around, right? And so as I leveraged my time in the Marine Corps, I don’t look at my past and think, oh, I had a career in the Marines and now I have a career in talent. I believe, really, I’ve been in talent since I was 18 moving into the academy – how do you lead, motivate, inspire peers first off in the crucible that that could be is, then to the Marine Corps where you can’t pay people no more.
And so for you, really, what I boil it down to and what the investigative journalism you could say that a recruiter does, to me, specifically, comes down to these two terms. They’re old Greek terms. Arete, which is true character or excellence, the pursuit of excellence. So does this person just demonstrate integrity from what we can see? Through references and speaking with them. Do they have the ability to stand tall? is the story continuous? So this sense of true character. And that’s also understanding your weaknesses, demonstrating when I fail. And this is why. This is when I’ve hired people that were better than me because of the success of the organization is valued the most. And then you couple that with another term called telos, which is the vision.
And I think it’s at the intersection of someone who carries both of those. Someone with true character, right? This is someone that we believe in. And then also someone that demonstrates and communicates a clear vision for an organization. And it’s when those two are combined, we see the team rally behind them. We can follow them. We believe in it. We believe in them. They have our best interests in mind. And also we understand where we’re going. So now we can row together. We can get up to the higher the mountain, and you know, all these metaphors here, but create the value, achieve the goals that we desire as an organization. And it’s those two that the individual has the spark we look for.
There are psychometrics, there are tests, but humans are tough to understand. They really are. And as much as we like the world to be clear and objective, I want to score where do they rank from zero to ten. We can do our best in doing that. But those are helpful tools in more of the soft skills of understanding a person.
Yeah, no. And soft skills, like you just mentioned, soft skills are becoming – they’ve always been important. Let’s just be real. It’s always been important. We want to work with people that have solid interpersonal communication skills. They pick up on social cues. They understand how to relate to other people, whether it’s peers, subordinates, senior leadership. It’s a very important thing. And I think it’s becoming more and more important, and I think a lot of leaders, that’s one of the ways that they’re able to differentiate themselves in a pack of different types of leaders, in different leadership styles, and different flavors, and however else you want to coin it. That soft skills part of their skill set is going to be all the more important. And I think I’m making a guess here, but on your side of things, that is becoming probably a higher focus and a higher way for people to, again, set themselves apart when they’re speaking with folks like you.
Yeah. Well, certainly. So as the firm with Raines International, a unique piece of it is that we first position ourselves as a talent solutions firm right now. What that means really is perhaps you do need a new hire, perhaps you do need a new COO. At the same time, maybe more effective solution for you, both for the company at large and some of the individuals on your team could be coaching. How do we groom some of the folks that you have? And so approaching in the sense of how do we help you win at the most cost effective and create the most value in that organization, drive some of those decisions that we have.
Solid. No, that’s solid. So let’s jump into a slightly different topic. It’s still kind of on the same vein though. And I think a lot of job seekers, those that are listening, watching right now. So if you are looking for a job, there’s a lot of times – and I’m curious how search and talent firms work around this. And again, realizing this isn’t always exactly what you’re doing, but nonetheless you’ll have insight into how this works better than the average person. But there’s a lot of companies out there and when they go to hire, they will specifically state, “If you are a recruitment agency or you’re a staffing agency or anything of that sort, do not talk to us. We will not talk to you.” Do you have any idea as to why that may be the case? Is it because they don’t want to get into this fee, this paid search construct? Is that part of the motivation there?
Aaron, so you’re asking if a company is looking for a new individual, why do they push away other recruiting agencies, perhaps?
So inside the recruiting industry, there’s two types of recruiting functions. One is a retained search. A client would come to us and say, “We want you have your full effort on this search.” And so I’ll be retained by a client and they will retain just myself, a partner, and a few other researchers in our firm and we’ll work until the end. We’ll work till the placement is made. And then we also guarantee that we’ll redo the search for free if that individual unfortunately leaves within a year.
That’s the retained search side of things. Now, what the situation that you perhaps more likely are commenting on is that a contingent search, where a company would say, “Hey, we need a new CFO.” And so then all the contingent firms would have their stack of resumes and individuals, and then would sent, “Hey, here’s the ten that we have that are best. If you like them, we can facilitate you meeting them and under the contingent that you hire someone that we showed you, we then receive a fee, a finder’s fee.”
And so that’s a bit where those discussions occur. And now as the transition goes from the contingency recruiting, most often we see these individuals who make below $200,000 as a base yearly salary of base and bonus. And then as we get into the higher fine-tooth executives, the C-suite, above the 200 level most often is where it transitions into the retained search, where we work with the individuals on the team. We work with the ownership to truly, really understand the problem at hand – where they’ve been, where they are, the team, where they want to go. And then a bit of that is how will this culture change? Especially if we work to place a new CEO, culture will change. Now, how do we change it in the direction that we want to?
That’s a perfect segue. So as soon as we get back from the break, let’s talk about culture change and the way that that is managed as effectively as possible. So we’ll be right back. So guys, this show cannot be – and so if you’re listening or watching, this show is not possible unless we have sponsors. And so I’ve been very, very fortunate, very blessed to have so amazing sponsors that have joined the show early on. Very early adopters. They see the vision, they see where this podcast is going and the future of this within the DFW metroplex. And so I just want to thank our sponsors.
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So let’s get back to the action with Wayne. So Wayne, we were talking about company culture. And so the kinds of placements that you make and the kinds of searches and then the firms that you’re working with, rather, you’re making changes and you’re making very pivotal contributions to a company. And so one, and this is a fascinating topic. And I think we could probably spend – if we really wanted to, spend the rest of our time talking just about this one topic alone, which is company culture.
And so how do you do the company culture thing, right? Company culture is so nuanced and there’s a lot of tangibles, right? We write down our mission, vision, values. We write down all the things that we so strongly believe in, that we have to live those things out. And if we’re not living it out in a company, then it’s just words on a page. And so how do you work with companies a) to ensure that they are actually doing what they say they do and what they believe in, and then two, how are you trying to make sure that the person that you bring in embodies that for that company?
Yeah. So, in a lot of ways, I think that the way that you extract this information, the pulse check of what a company is and is the mission, vision, values being lived, and perhaps how is it being lived specifically? Because you and I can have an idea of, you know, perhaps you and I both shared, joined the same organization, their core values were honor, courage, commitment. That means different things in different places of the company. And especially as the company grows to a few hundred people, that can shift.
Now, as we look at the specific inside of where this placement’s going to go, a lot of it comes again from this exploratory conversation at the beginning. And so my partner and I, when we do a search, let’s say, I’d work with you for a new COO. You’re the CEO. We’re looking for a COO. Aaron, I’d spend over an hour with you, perhaps longer, understanding you – where you come from, what your journey has been like. So to understand the pulse, the culture, the character of the CEO in this position. Also, what have been the struggles of the organizations, and much of this is determined or found in the transformation, right?
The transition is the most vulnerable period of any company. Moving from startup to the growth play, and then from growth to transforming into the next organization that it is. So it’s in these times of hardship, understanding the individuals, their character traits, and then understanding, as you socialize, that amongst many, how that then creates the character of the organization. Because at the end of the day, the organization, as an objective, legal entity, has no character. It has no values in a standalone sheet of paper. What it is though is the cumulation of all the individuals within that organization. And so it’s a bit of this pulse check with the team that would be working with it, the culture champion that we talked about earlier in the show. That’s how we understand the culture that they have.
Now, how do we help them change? So we talked about the talent solutions that my firm and the team that I work with also has is a bit of the organizational restructuring. The most important thing is to understand where we are combined with where we want to go. What is the change there, the delta? How far is that? And creating this sequential steps to get there and then staying on top of it. This is the hardest thing that perhaps you recall also from your service – being present. And day in and day out, the discipline of driving culture change, which comes from the top and is imbued by the person, who they are, in every action emails, conversations, when they show up, how they show up, where they show up.
And so this isn’t unique in the COVID timeframe where we work in a virtual domain, right? But are the same time, you and I are dressed in our business casual right now, prepared and ready for the day, excited with smile on your face. And much of this, we see also with leaders that it transcends military to technology, to industry, to private, even to your non-profit area. So many of these traits are the same.
Yeah, well, no. And then I think what’s probably a very unique challenge then is each one of your clients that are operating under a different set of mission, vision, values, or they’re in a different phase in their company in terms of where they are? And I’m curious how much time – and as you know, you don’t have to speak on behalf of the company. You can just speak on behalf of the industry at large, whatever you’re comfortable speaking to. But how much of that time gets spent helping coach and mentor, and advise really is probably the better word, the existing leadership capacity into making sure that they are actually working towards and living up to what they’ve written down or maybe they haven’t written it down yet. Maybe that’s another challenge, right? So is that something else that you partner with companies on?
It is. Now my firm does and I don’t want to speak out of term here, but we certainly do partner with companies to drive those mission, vision, values inside of our leadership and organizational transformation wing, which has led by Scott Thomas. Fantastic organizational psychologist that I work with often. But I don’t want to dive too far.
Yeah, that’s cool.
Because I can’t speak specifically.
Yep. No, it’s all good. What do you see being the biggest challenge in the industry right now? And let’s talk, you know, greatly to DFW. Obviously, this is DFW show. But what do you see being the biggest challenge right now for companies trying to attract and retain top-level talent?
Yeah. Well, in attracting and attaining, there is a big shift going on, especially in technology, that we’re seeing. So the first thing is that we now are okay with people working remotely. This is new even at the C-suite, that we even see companies now that have a completely remote workforce. So what this does is it does open up the aperture to allow companies to recruit the top talent, wherever they may be, right? The notion of relocation is changing right now.
But as far as retaining talent, I think that Daniel Pink author of Drive summed it up very well as far as the motivation and things that companies can provide executives and anyone to increase the retention and also their motivation. And that comes down to three things. It’s autonomy, mastery, and purpose.
How do we empower individuals? Not only are you the COO, but this is your lane, your responsibilities, and I’m going to let you take care of it. You have the autonomy inside of this space, right? How do we facilitate our employees at all levels having the autonomy? And that’s providing them resources inside of that. Mastery. Focus specifically on this – these are our goals. We want to move from A to B. Or you focus clearly on this product, this service. And then the purpose piece is clear in the name. Why are we creating value? What widget are we creating and how does it help our client? How does it help our customer? And focusing on that product.
And as leaders, as managers of any type, I would really recommend that you take a time as you look at your people. How am I creating an environment that promotes autonomy, mastery, and purpose in our mission, vision, values, right? The value we’re trying to create. And understanding those drives lots of motivation and commitments to organizations.
Yeah, yeah. No, it’s so huge. And again, it’s easy for us to run back to the culture piece of this. Because, again, it’s a foundation of every company. And when you bring in people, they have the propensity to be either like a major cultural, foundational cornerstone to a culture, and that can either be positive or negative. And so bringing in somebody, especially in a leadership role, they’re going to be one of the main foundational pieces to that company’s culture. And so ensuring that they embody that, but then also, they exude that going outward and help motivate and inspire folks within the organization.
You know – excuse me.
I was gonna say what’s important. So that’s the what, right? The environment we need to create, but what’s just as important is the how. How is this done? And so what I believe it comes down to, again, in a simple list and what I focus on, making sure that I’m providing, even for my team, and finding within the clients and candidates that we work with are: Are they providing priorities, resources, and training? So by facilitating an environment of autonomy, mastery, and purpose, and then providing resources, training, and priorities, that then facilitates those individuals to have those things.
And so in these conversations with individuals, much of which I’m constantly doing this investigative journalism of, sure, the company grew from 100 million to 400 million and you had a fantastic exit. Share with me how you created priorities. What were the problems? How did you overcome it? Where did you provide training to your team? And then the last thing is the resources. What resources did you use? How did it change? Where did you leverage them? Inside of that, then the next layer when you do the references and things like that. Did you feel or did you provide an environment of autonomy, mastery, and purpose? And that’s just where we’re seeing a lot of success, where is that drive from.
And so here in a bit of that also is this unique aspect of what’s important now? And a lot of it is transformation. This is for the listeners that might be having interview coming up – the candidates, but also the potential clients. How do we tell a story of transformation? I want to be part of a team that’s creating value and changing. So my firm, my company, how do we create this story, this culture of transformation? Improvement, a better product, a better service. And then tell that story. The telos, right? The vision.
Also, for anyone that’s interviewing – as I look back at my career, I’ve done some very different things. Marine Corps. Some could say, “Oh, you were just camping and shooting guns,” but that’s not what it is. It’s a story of transformation. This is where the team was. We made this change. And so for individuals that have had a career in a sector and changed or have changed jobs or looking for a new one, it’s telling this continuous story of where I go and where this company has been. Causes transformation, good transformation. And when it’s bad, it’s important to recognize that, right? Because I’m not going to bat a thousand. That’s crazy. It’s not going to happen. And so it’s understanding when you didn’t do well and making those changes. The true character piece that we talked about at the beginning, the arete.
And so you can sort of see, these are the different terms and the levels that I use, right? It’s these eight different pieces that cross different levels of the individual, both from the organization to the micro team, to the individual, that help find this continuity in this picture of what the spark is, right? This leadership piece and the soft skills that we talked about. As much as we want to create objectives, specific, measurable ways of understanding a person’s ability to provide these things and create this environment and drive transformation, creating value and having fun, right? That’s a bit of where the reason that clients of ours reach out to retained search firms, to commit to finding individuals like that.
Yeah. Well, there’s a lot there, and thanks for sharing all that. Because, yeah, there’s a lot there. And there’s one point that I just want to kind of circle back to that you mentioned. And I’m not going to pretend to be able to recite to you everything that you just told me verbatim because that’s really good. But the autonomy portion of that. So as you are talking to folks and you’re trying to get a sense of who they are, what they’re all about, what they’ve done and how they line up, and you start to kind of drill down into some of these different topics that you just mentioned, and I’m just going to be very blunt, right? People put their very best foot forward during the interview process, right? Everybody’s a rock star. Everybody was a hero. Everybody did great things and they took a crap situation and made it something decent or something great.
And so you’ve got all these different stories and how much of that is true or not true, but then how are you measuring or how are you able to assess somebody through an interview the level of actual autonomy that they got in their team? So micromanaging is so toxic, and in my opinion, will kill a company faster than most other things. But the whole autonomy piece and some of the other things. I’m curious how you’re able to detect some of those things when you’re speaking.
Yeah. Well, you know, it’s can they explain it in detail? There’s some quote by Einstein that says someone truly understands what they’ve done or a subject, they can explain it in detail to, let’s say a third grader, something like that. And so in asking a question, Aaron, how did you start this podcast? And since you’ve been there the whole time, you could tell me in detail from start to finish where it works and how your equipment was good or bad or anything like that. And so it’s back to this one more question: mentality. Tell me more. How did the details of this? And so also, Aaron, the autonomy. How do they inspire a team? It would be “share with me the success of the individuals that you’ve worked with. How many of them have moved up in the organization?”
And could we be able to reach out to them? Now there’s also the investigative journalism piece of this. That references that I would provide are certainly going to say, “Wayne’s fantastic.” Now, what will you do is a bit of reaching around. How do we find individuals that could share information about folks that certainly is following everything the right way to do things, but also learn about a person’s character and their reputation? And so it’s a bit of that, which isn’t as individuals knows, especially at the higher levels, as we all should. Expect that your reputation follows you, especially now. Many of us have digital footprints. So the things that an individual puts on social media, right? It’s not a secret and this isn’t a gray space either on “is it okay for me to look you up on Google?” Right now, it’s just as important for us to do due diligence, understanding what those persons been and what they do.
So now it’s certainly not a secret funny game of doing things that are wrong and so I want to be very clear about that. It’s taking the time to have a conversation with me and understand who you work with, chat with them, and to understand the full picture of who you are, because it’s so important to us that it’s a win-win-win situation. I only do my job well if the candidate who moves into the position is successful and the company is successful. It’s no good if I find a great candidate and the company doesn’t like them in the end. That’s a bad job. Or the inverse situation. And so I find success in the candidate having success and our client having success. It’s the only time that we’ve done what we’ve been brought to do.
Sure. No, it’s solid. And shifting gears just a little bit here. And I actually think you’ve probably already said this because you’ve already told me that you are doing work with software and technology companies and you’re going more higher level. And so that honestly basically answers the question I had, which is how do all the other folks in your space – there’s thousands of talent firms just here in DFW. There’s a ton of companies here that do this. So how do they differentiate themselves amongst everybody else? Because there there’s a ton of noise out there. What are companies doing to make themselves stand out?
Inside the retained search area?
I would say the way that we stand out or that we work to stand out is the top doctor-to-patient ratio. Now, because, again, it is professional services. So we’re taking more of a squishy, subjective outcome and process and moving as objective as we can. So the best doctor with too many patients cannot give the care that the patients need. So specifically, at Raines, where I am now, we have a cap of five searches for our consultants at a time. Now this is end to end also. From kickoff, where we’re in the market, searching and trying to find the right profile, to we here’s our final candidate and we’re helping them move through the negotiation process. So specifically, for us, one of the aspects that we have for standing out is the piece of our doctor-to-patient ratio, which is incredibly important. For anyone that’s listening, if they work with retained search firms, understand this piece. How much work and focus are you going to receive from your consultants? Incredibly important.
Another aspect also is that the psychometrics piece. At Raines, we have a new proprietary psychometric, Dr. Scott Thomas, who I mentioned earlier, has put together and I’m working with him on this as an executive coach and training and how we assess this full end to end. And now, we take in aspects of some more well-known assessments. The Hogan, which assesses a person’s reputation off their past success and future success, some of the drivers, and then some of the other competitors, do a 360 of understanding that person and more of the feedback. And so in combining those with our own material is a bit of a secondary differentiator.
And so I would say those are two of the larger ones. And then also, again, it comes down to the consultant that you bring on. Their past success, their past reputation is a great indicator, that perhaps the best indicator of their future success. And so the individuals that we hire – our thesis at this firm on bringing someone onto our team is: Would we take out a loan to hire them? If we would take out a loan to hire this person, then they can join our firm. And so that’s the easy thesis there. And in a lot of ways, I feel that moving from my past employer to the new one here is a bit of the conventional Army to a MARSOC team. So I’ll keep the Marine Corps for us and that’s the Raiders and the equivalent to SEALs. But a highly specialized team of individuals that have been in the industry for 30 years. Small, this white glove clear of the doctor-to-patient ratio. And then a bit of that objective piece at the end there, the psychometrics and our difference maker brief that Raines does.
And that all comes back to the point that just delivering exceptional value and delivering a very high quality outcome for folks. And I’ve worked with firms previously. Several years ago, I’ve worked on both sides of this, whether it’s trying to hire somebody or be hired. And that whole doctor-patient ratio, I think, is so important. Because you can feel it, right? You can tell, especially if you’re the company. Like I’m the company and I’m really trying to grow or I’ve got certain positions that I really want to get filled, but I want to do it in a very thoughtful and meaningful way. And you can tell when you are just one of 65 clients that was being worked at any given second. And so I think it’s really neat knowing that, hey, by working with you guys, I know that there’s only four other people at most that they’re working with right now. And so understanding that I’m going to get a great level of attention and care because it is a very intensive, very involved process.
We bridge into the family life here. On finding the best situation of new employment, relocation is oftentimes families move. So this is a very personal. Not only, yes, we have jobs, but at the same time, those jobs are to create value coupled with hopefully having fun, having a great family life on the side. So facilitating that also and not walking in too far on going to offer and it hasn’t been brought up with the family yet, right? So these are some pieces on partnering. And now, the unique piece, certainly, yes, absolutely, the client. Our clients that we partner with are the ones that we work for. It’s very important, though, that consultants in this industry work for every candidate that they speak with. Because I must find success for them because that creates success for our client. And so in every interaction is following up properly.
Now, for those listening that have talked to a recruiter and never heard back, that is a part of the industry because they could have such a large funnel of individuals they have to keep up with. Yes. Now at the higher levels, though, it’s very important for me to let a candidate know, “Hey, they’re going to pass on you. And this is why. It’s this piece here.” And perhaps, “you know what, you’re really great. They just want to go in a different direction.” So there is also a very specific and meaningful transformation that occurs as a client of ours meet candidates, right? So that you’re introduced to you, Aaron, and they realize, “Wow, we really want to focus more on marketing. And this type of individual would pull us to his skill set. And after speaking with him, we realized that we already have that skill set. So I want to focus on someone who has more of a lens to the financial aspect and the P&L sheet for us.”
And so as we introduced candidates, man, they are fantastic. They really are. These are individuals that drive transformation and make your and my life totally new day in and day out in technology. But even though they’re fantastic and would help this company grow, it’s this dating period of “they’re great and it’s helped me to learn that we want to move a little bit in a different direction.” And so we have recalibration. And that’s why retained search is very much stand apart from contingent because it’s this process where we’re with you from the beginning of who do you want today? Because I hope it changes. It’s like a large aperture getting smaller later on.
Right. Who do I think I want? And then it changes because you’ve got to change your goals. You’ve got to change the way that it’s set up. And so, I mean, so much of what you’re doing is helping nurture that along. So when they do discover they want something different than what they thought they wanted, you’re there to help kind of guide through that process.
And just the right amount of pushback. Because you go to the doctor and say, “I’m sick and I have a cold,” and he’s like, “Eh, I’m not sure. Maybe it’s this. And how about we try that?” So some of the piece also is working with our clients and the clients that I’ve partnered with. They are very clear. We want a person just like this. Great. We will absolutely go find those individuals because we’re here to support you and empower your company to succeed. Also, we get a chance to work with many people and help a lot of companies find individuals to drive that transformation. How about you? Would you meet this person? We’d recommend that you would get a look at this. And so it helps this learning process that we call it the calibration of what right looks like.
That’s awesome. And looking at the clock here, we’re already running down on time, man, but just real quick before we go. How do people get in touch with you?
Absolutely. So our company website is rainesinternational.com. It’s a great place to check out the different lines of business we’ve have of our organizational transformation, which I discussed, and also our executive search retain function. We have one other line of business called our marketplace. And so as LinkedIn becomes saturated with talent, which is great, we also have found that we want to a special holding pen in a lot of ways to put these standout executives in and then facilitate clients to have access to that. So our website, Raines International, would be great. And then also, find me on LinkedIn, Wayne Worthington. Would love to connect with anyone and have conversations just like this that I’ve had with you.
Yeah, no, no, that’s perfect. And I don’t know how much you’re following sports this year, but obviously, Dallas did not have the best of times. So there’s always next year, right?
That’s right. There’s always next year.
There’s always next year. Well, Wayne, man, thank you so much, man. This is fun.
Absolutely. Aaron, it’s been a pleasure and looking forward to talking to you again.