“Sweat the Details” Tip from JMO Recruiting Veteran Roger Cameron

For the first Career Tip of 2010, I felt it would be fitting to interview Roger Cameron, founder of the JMO recruiting industry, and founder and co-owner of Cameron-Brooks. Roger is very involved with Conference Candidates and Alumni. For this reason, I asked him what lessons from his 45 years in JMO recruiting would he pass on to others in their career. Below are the highlights of our interview.

If you could give only one piece of advice to a JMO starting a new business career, what would it be?

Roger: Sweat the details. Yes, it is important for one starting a new career to be a student of one’s business and begin to make an impact as soon as possible; but one must also realize this is a period of time that will establish a reputation. It’s the small things one does or doesn’t do that establish reputation. Operational successes get one promoted, but rest assured it’s reputation before promotion.

Give me an example of some “small stuff” you think that makes a difference.

Roger: Basic things from the book How to Win Friends and Influence People. Details are – answering your own phone, promptly returning phone calls, and now today, e-mails. This would also include, filing reports on time and accurately, always being on time, always being courteous, never offering excuses, always being accountable, always being an active listener, taking notes when others give presentations, having a positive attitude, helping to develop others, and being an advocate of your company. And finally, no excuses, excuses are for the weak.

I remember a JMO Cameron-Brooks placed several years ago who became the youngest Division President of a Fortune 20 company. Whenever I called and left a message, he called me back within the hour unless he was in an important meeting or appointment. It’s why he made President at such a young age; he juggled many balls and took care of details such as calling people back personally.

You mentioned earlier the importance of being a student of your business. Expand on the importance of that and how to do it.

Roger: Yes, the second piece of advice I would give is to become a student of one’s company and industry. A Development Candidate must demonstrate every day that he or she understands it’s his or her responsibility to study and become an expert of the company and industry. This means asking questions, and listening more than talking. This also includes reading (not just watching) business and economic news, taking educational classes (MBA, sales courses, leadership seminars), reading trade journals and more.

In other words, never stop learning. I mean, I am in my mid seventies and I am always finding better ways to communicate with candidates and companies, learning more about the military, as well as learning how to use my new iPhone and play golf.

Finally, one last tip, be patient. I find some high potential leaders can get impatient. Be patient! Success will come when you keep your head down and concentrate on the above issues. Remember, it takes five years just to learn the business and make an impact, and another 15 years to become an expert in it. Don’t negatively affect your career by being impatient; but rather, be patient, sweat the details, learn and make contributions every day and success will come.

READING RECOMMENDATION In 2006, I read a FORTUNE Magazine article titled, “What it Takes to be Great,” by Geoffrey Colvin. This article discusses the importance of hard work, perfect practice, never giving up, and continuous learning, as the ingredients to achieving greatness. It really moved me and apparently it did many others as Colvin went on to write an entire book on the subject entitled Talent Is Overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else. I found the most value in the first 8 chapters and less in the final 3. Why should you consider reading the book? Because you will learn that the secret to success is not just talent and hard work but is “deliberate practice.” You will learn what “deliberate practice” is and is not, as well as how to fit it into your career.

MOTIVATIONAL QUOTE “Destiny is not a matter of chance but a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for. It is a thing to be achieved.” William Jennings Bryan

Cameron-Brooks and I would sincerely appreciate any suggestions you have for books or quotes we should include in future Career Tip e-mails. We are avid readers and committed to lifelong learning. We learn so much from our client companies, alumni and candidates. Please e-mail me at jjunker@cameron-brooks.com with any suggestions or ideas for improving our Career Tip Email.

Joel Junker

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