May 09, 2014



 May 9, 2014

Dear Contact Network Members:

On Fridays I like to buy a hard copy of the NY Times.  

I do this because it is relaxing to read the paper while I enjoy my coffee and bagel.   Our office is located in Northern NJ so the bagels are great, the coffee is good and the Times is a local paper; pretty nice.   Being the founder and operator of my own firm does have its privileges.  Among one of the nicest is the luxury to think about what I need to do each day to keep my firm moving in the right direction.   I am happy to say that I have been at this now for 17 years; the second longest stint in my career and, by far, the most interesting and enjoyable.

The CEO Leadership Challenge is continuous, ever becoming and stimulating.   On Fridays, the NY Times has a feature in the Business section entitled "Corner Office" which is styled as a Q/A interview of a CEO who, by virtue of his or her accomplishments, is in the spotlight.  It is always interesting to think about the opinions of the CEO being showcased.  In today's column, Adam Bryant, interviews, Wayne Jackson, the CEO of Sonatype  an enterprise that focuses on supporting companies that use open source software for their proprietary applications.  Sonatype helps their clients "leverage all of the benefits of open source – while minimizing potential risk associated with security, licensing and quality issues". 

The headline of today's Corner Office article  is,  "In Search of the Extraordinary".   Just below the headline is a picture of the smiling, Wayne Jackson.  "Why is this man smiling?"----I wanted to know. 

 Wayne's responses to Adam's thoughtful questions provide unique insights into a timeless concept.   Mr, Jackson states that he has learned that he can accelerate the growth and development of his business by seeking out the right people to join his team.   He says, " ...I try to seek out the truly extraordinary because they exist.  The difference they make in a business is disproportionate to the average; it's just astounding."

This got me thinking about people I know who fit that description, particularly those who I have had the privilege to recruit who unequivocally,  have made, and continue to make, a disproportionately positive impact. 

Mr. Jackson talked about a deal that he lost---and then won, because he happened to be in the office late on a Friday when the call came informing him that his prospective client had decided to go with another service provider.   He asked a simple question: "can I speak with the CEO before the decision is finalized?"   Apparently the answer was "yes" but he would need to meet with the CEO for breakfast on Saturday morning at the CEO's favorite breakfast spot near where he lived.  This required Mr. Jackson to jump on a plane that night so he could be at breakfast the next morning.   He said, "... my being there on Friday night completely changed my career. If I hadn't taken that phone call, (my) company probably would have failed". wonder he is smiling!  He turned a "no" into a "yes" and put his company on a critical path to success.   But isn't that what extraordinary people do?  A key member of the KULPER Advisory Board, Sander Flaum loves to say: "the sales process isn't over until the client says "yes"---"no" is simply a necessary part of the journey of getting to "yes".   Sander is a pretty extraordinary person, too. 

Take a look at today's Corner Office article when you have a few minutes.  I am sure that you will find it worthwhile and inspiring.

Our search firm would love to help you and your team hire extraordinary new team members to help drive the success of your business or institution. We conduct search assignments to fill strategically important leadership roles.  Getting the "right people on the bus" is the single most important element of success for any organization.   Take a cue from Mr. Jackson and seek to hire truly extraordinary people and if you think you would like a partner to help you do this, please give me a call---(973) 285-3850...

I promise to be available even if you call me on a Friday night!  

All best,

Keith D. Kulper