Saying Yes to a No

Some months back a leading head-hunter called. They had a mandate for a real cool opportunity in the region (Middle East). Nice company. Nice job.  With all the benefits and limitations of a Middle East opportunity.

The head-hunter did his job (real well) and got me to start the process.

Online psychometric tests with results not shared with me. Followed by many phone conversations. And then the first interview. They wanted me to travel to the city where their head-office was located. And I was ready to. Until I was told that this was merely a screening interview by the HR Chief and a potential peer in the C-suite. I found this very odd. So, I insisted they do a tele-interview. They countered by flying down to my city – for a face-to-face. I was impressed by this earnestness. And happy with the meeting. The three of us had good, intelligent, probing conversations and promised to meet again. And we did meet again. Albeit after six odd weeks. And this time I went to their head-office. 

Prior to this meeting the head-hunter called. I was to meet the CEO and the leadership team – all six of them. And they wanted me to make a formal presentation. In the beginning I found this request rather ridiculous. But then I realised that this was possibly a great way to filter out the bullshitters from the doers. So, i prepared a presentation. And I made the presentation. The seven of us had brilliant conversations. Prodding, sharing, explaining, laughing, testing. Post which I was told that I would be contacted shortly and driven back to the airport.

After few more weeks, the head-hunter called. The message was that I was selected and a formal offer would be made but before that, purely as a formality, they wanted me to meet their Directors (to the Board). By this time around 10 weeks had elapsed since the process commenced. There had been something nagging me about this offer. While I could not pin-point the cause, it was clear that I did not have a warm-fuzzy feel about this opportunity. And so, I said No to the meet-the-directors meeting.

The head-hunter called. His boss called. And they pushed, sold, cajoled. The HR Chief called. And made the offer. Attractive. After a day’s consideration, I sent an email apologising but regretting. Three days passed. I had more or less forgotten this opportunity. Until the head-hunter called. With a revised offer. Which was nearly 25% more than the original attractive offer. I slept over this revised-very-attractive offer and said No the next day.

The meandering, bureaucratic, committee style decision-making process demonstrated by this potential employer was the reason for my No. I know I have compromised my potential economic wealth by not grabbing the offer. But I have saved myself the irritation of being trapped in effective in-activity.

#TheYeahWay: choose a orgnisation that demonstrates a conscious bias towards action. Always.


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