Thursday, July 10, 2003

Over the past few days I have gone back to reading 'The Organization Man' by William H. Whyte. It has some fascinating insights into business life in America in the 1950s. He describes how he joined an executive training scheme after leaving university and ended up driving around eastern Kentucky trying to sell Vicks vaporub to sour general store owners and pharmacists. How when he left university he had about 8 offers of a job and he was able to quiz each employer to see who would give him the best deal. What a difference to graduates today! Also he describes the career adviser as as a 'sales man' for big business whilst nowadays the career adviser is more of a trauma counsellor / self help coach.

Also he did something very interesting. He sent a letter to 150 human resource departments and the same letter to 150 chief executives. He gave them two choices of a potential candidate - 1. the administrator, skilled in 'people skills' or 2. the pioneer ready to meet the challenges and expand the company, ready to make tough decisions and make unorthodox choices. Curiously 50% of the human resources leaders favoured type 1 whilst only 30% of chief executives favoured type 1.

No comments: