In our latest episode of the Birthing of Giants podcast, I’m checking back in with IT management company Knight Point Systems’ CEO, Bob Eisiminger. I last had him on the show about 6 months after he attended a Birthing of Giants Fellowship week. A year and a half into his mission to resolve wasteful recruiting practices, Bob has returned to give us an update.
The Mission – Kill The Legacy (Wasteful Recruiting Practices)
Knight Point Systems provides both comprehensive and specialized IT services to the federal government, often working with agencies that are directly connected to our nation’s security and defense. Every recruit has to pass through a lengthy security clearance process before they can be hired. Over the 13 years that Knight Point has been in business, they’ve grown to over 400 employees with a 40 person headquartered team in Reston, VA, and an additional 200 subcontractors out in the field. The hiring process for this ambitious number got pretty messy, costing money, time, and ultimately impacting customer satisfaction.
“We had a recruiting process that was pretty good but needed a lot of tweaks. And so I came out of the Fellowship last year and made a commitment to working with everyone in my organization who touched any part of the recruiting efforts,” he explains. “Ultimately the desire was to do things better internally so that the customer is served in the proper manner.”
At Birthing of Giants we call it Kill the Legacy – identify practices that are no longer efficient and eradicate them, regardless of how long you’ve been doing it that way. Tradition is great, but if it’s holding your company back, it’s time to go. Bob assembled a team to take on the problem, and deployed a seek and destroy method to streamline recruiting and remove the waste.
The Strategy – Seek and Destroy
In our first interview Bob shared his “Version 2.0” for a recruiting system, which involved hiring a Recruiting Coordinator, assembling a taskforce to carefully examine current practices and streamline them wherever possible, and instituted greater accountability and interdepartmental communication. He quickly realized that there was a lot more they could do. With Bob attending every meeting for the first few months to function as a guide, they pushed on to Versions 3.0 and then 4.0.
With large companies like Knight Point Systems, it can be difficult for an employee to feel empowered. Bob describes having an eye-opening realization when he first assembled his core team and discovered that they weren’t accustomed to think creatively.
“Part of the barriers were folks who were used to doing things a certain way, and […] didn’t think they had the ability to innovate and be creative about coming up with solutions.”
With Version 3.0 the idea floodgates opened. His team felt empowered, and the resulting idea sharing led to major changes, including adding the ability to go outside their normal recruiting process, especially with positions that are difficult to fill. Version 4.0 saw the team move into refinement mode, seeking inconsistencies in their process and getting them in line.
The Takeaway – Kill / Watch / Build
Keeping their eyes on the target paid off handsomely for this CEO and his 8-time Inc. 5000 honoree company. His team empowered themselves to think outside the box, accomplished their mission, and were able to return to work with a unified goal and a system robust enough to meet it. For his part it solved a problem that cost Bob some sleep.
“Did it keep me up at night? On occasion it did, because it created a lot of extra work, and there was some angst about keeping the customers happy and accomplishing the mission. But I can tell you wholeheartedly now recruiting is not something that keeps me up at night.”
At our Fellowship weeks, we use a phrase called “Kill/Watch/Build” to describe how great CEOs lead their companies. Bob’s leadership through the recruiting improvement process illustrates this idea beautifully. He killed off an outdated legacy process that was no longer efficient for his company’s needs (Kill the Legacy). He watched and guided as his core team created a better system. He used his vision and role as a leader to build the future of his company and ready it for its next growth phase. That’s what a great CEO does. Bob Eisiminger is the real deal.
Check out my extended interview with Bob Eisiminger on Forbes.com.