I was a member of an interview panel recently. As frequently occurs on those panels, the first question prior to seeing the candidates was ‘What are we looking for?’. That’s when I came up with the aphorism ‘Are we looking for a shaker of trees or a counter of leaves?’.
For many positions the easy response is to say that we are looking for a shaker of trees, somebody who would shakes things up. But of course shaking things up does not mean getting things done. So the shakers of trees although necessary are not sufficient. Similarly if we look for a counter of leaves then that may ensure that everything is accounted for but does not necessarily mean that there is any forward movement as a result. In both instances the person who is merely a shaker of trees or who is a counter leaves would be inadequate in order to make a true contribution at an effective level in an organisation. There must be follow through from shaking trees and there must be a purpose in the counting of leaves.
Interestingly, having put that categorization on the table, it became easier to identify an individual who would shake the trees and ensure that when things were stirred up they would be in a position to carry that through to get a productive result from the change that they had initiated.