A Dog’s Life

kinnon —  June 13, 2005 — 1 Comment

DundasShe’s beautiful. About 12 years old, she’s part Lab, Dalmation and Whippet. And since I’ve come back from being away for almost three weeks, she’s become my shadow. Dundas (we didn’t name her) is actually the 2AM boy’s dog – but for some reason she’s become stuck on me (my magnetic personality perhaps). But this post isn’t really about her, it’s a just a hook to talk about this post in BusinessWeek:
Ready for A Dog’s Life?

Sit, roll over and beg are not the average words we read in Leadership books, but they do seem to be words that are a little too common in the repetoire of some leaders – especially when they are looking for new employees. Business Week’s Liz Ryan comments:

SIT AND STAY.  Dogs, being smarter than some humans, understand what I mean. In any canine interaction, it’s obvious within milliseconds which is the top dog. Pet owners talk about dominant and submissive behaviors. Humans display those, too, but we don’t recognize them, all the time, for what they are.

In the experience I just described, the company approached me in the Alpha Dog posture (tail and head high, hair on the back of their necks standing up) and expected me to roll onto my back. No dice. How many times have all of us, as job candidates, cooled our heels in office lobbies waiting for an interviewer, or waited three weeks past the date when a post-interview phone was promised us?

Companies who live in Alpha Dog mode are guaranteed of one thing: the people they hire will not be top dogs in their industries, because they’re required to show submissive behavior just to get in the door.

SNIFF AROUND.  When will companies learn that a little humility will pay off in the form of smarter, more confident team members, and everything that comes with that, including better ideas and higher margins? Why do business leaders and human resources people continue to delude themselves into the idea that demanding: "Please grovel upon entering the building" somehow glorifies them?

It’s an obvious trade-off: I’ll gratify my ego by treating job candidates like cattle, and in return give up the chance to hire the best and brightest people available, who’ll find opportunities elsewhere. But ego is a powerful thing. People will make bad decisions to enjoy a little ego gratification surprisingly often.

Read the whole thing.



A television editor, writer & director since 1978. A Christian since 1982. More than a little frustrated with the Church in the West since late in the last millennium.

One response to A Dog’s Life

  1. Great segue from the dog to the article! Thanks for blogging this column, which was inspired by a friend’s recent job search. Even more recently, my husband was offered a job and turned it down. Between the initial phone-screen and the job offer, he had asked various people in the company six specific questions. Each time, he was told “We will get to that at the appropriate time,” meaning, YOUR desire for information means nothing to us, until we determine OUR level of interest in you. Oh well, they made him an offer, and he turned them down.

    Many, many more of these experiences will have to take place (I believe) in order for companies to start treating job seekers like valued partners. Have a great week – yours
    Liz Ryan


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