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Bill George

Harvard Business School Professor, former Medtronic CEO

Crisis Called Who Answered – WBF Contest Update

With only two days left in the “Crisis Called. Who Answered?” World Business Forum Content, entries are continuing to pour in.  Here’s one from Rita in Oregon, speaking on behalf of the behind-the-scenes leaders who are helping the American middle class get back to work.

In my view, there are many ‘local heroes’ who work discretely and unnoticed. While I don’t suggest you make an effort to discover them, Ellen DeGeneres style, they are present in remarkable number. Ultimately, it isn’t the Brad Pitts of the world who mitigate the crisis, it is the individuals massed together who greet the crisis head on and daily to make a lasting difference.

(This is not self promotion; I only use me as an example because I represent so many others.) My point is I, and many of my employment-based colleagues, created free tools (mine is a free white paper “LinkedIn for Job Search,” which has been downloaded thousands of times thanks to an initial boost from Anne Fisher of Fortune Magazine) and quietly offer occasional pro-bono support of those professionals looking for work.

Ignoring for the moment the self appointed experts who created webinars and other media without the credentials to back them up and who are carpetbaggers to the unemployed, there are many highly credentialed professionals lending a hand. In my view, getting the middle class back to work will do more for the economy than employing those who build roads and infrastructure.

Responding to the middle class unemployment crisis, I and hundreds of qualified professionals like me, created blogs with bona fide and field tested advice that do much to get the middle class back to work. We make no money from such efforts (for most of us) and take pride in knowing we help in some small way.

Thus, I direct your attention to those who responded/respond to the employment crisis in stealth mode, often helping only one person at a time, but helping nevertheless. You know from experience, we make almost no money from our books and none from our newsletters or blogs…yet the expertise and commitment spent creating them are no less valuable. I can personally attest to many who report my LinkedIn commentary and solutions and website blogs made a significant difference in refining a job search to land a good job faster.

There are also heroes, unemployed themselves, who work to help others in their situation. I direct your attention, for illustration, to Geoff Tucker and Ben Meyerhoff from Seattle. Both, frustrated with their job search and stymied by the need to network, created networking groups where advice and networking are the focus. Recruiters and hiring authorities have been invited to the meetings and these grass roots efforts result in folks landing jobs. Geoff and Ben donate their time and invite those with the right expertise to participate in guiding their minions; their highly personalized answer to the crisis.

I believe as did Emerson, “Teachers affect eternity; they never know where their influence stops.” To that end, those of us who spend a measure of our weeks researching and communicating valid job search advice, answer the crisis with a resounding voice. Our reward is knowing we make a difference.

Best of luck on your effort to recognize those who respond to the crisis. I can only hope their visibility is not the only metric.

Regards, Rita


The deadline for submissions is tomorrow, September 24, 2009 – who would YOU nominate as the best crisis-time leader in America.