Six Steps to Avoid the The Groucho Effect.

groucho marx

Groucho Marx

Recently, we received a phone call asking if we were interested in joining a creative team looking to replace a former member. It was invitation only and the process required us to present in person an original piece and the team would decide whether or not to extend us an invitation to join them.

In advance of the presentation, we emailed the team a bullet point synopsis of our achievements to date. The day of the presentation we brought copies of the piece for them to read silently and make written comments upon as we read the piece aloud.

Following the reading, we were told that they would make a decision within a fortnight on whether or not to invite us to join. But later that week, we were told that another candidate had been invited to present, and a decision on our behalf had been pushed back.

This week makes four weeks since our presentation. At this point, any decision is anti-climatic. From that perspective, here are a few hints we offer for your consideration after more than a decade working with virtual and face to face teams. If you have a functioning team and it needs to replace a member or invite a new member, here is the checklist to follow, and it needs to be in writing:

  1. Define your team’s mission statement.
  2. A brief (150-200 word) bio of each current member.
  3. A brief (three citations) of each member’s related accomplishments.
  4. A brief statement describing the type of contributions the team expects from a candidate, and those they do not!
  5. A brief statement of the meeting process, including roles and responsibilities, how is the meeting run,  who makes the coffee, who parks cars, etc. 🙂
  6. State each team member’s S.M.A.R.T. goals for the coming calendar quarter.

In addition, send each prospect a questionnaire asking them to provide the same information about themselves and return it prior to the interview. Otherwise there may be a disconnect; what we call The Groucho Marx Effect.

Groucho Marx was an American comedian and film and television star. He is known as a master of quick wit and widely considered one of the best comedians of the modern era.

At one time, he was a member of the Friar’s Club of Beverly Hills. In his autobiography, Groucho and Me, he claims he sent the club a wire stating, “PLEASE ACCEPT MY RESIGNATION. I DON’T WANT TO BELONG TO ANY CLUB THAT WILL ACCEPT PEOPLE LIKE ME AS A MEMBER”.

Approximately 410 words. Comments welcomed!

About Bob McCarthy

Originally from the Northeast, I now call Southwest Florida home. I have been a professional copywriter and editor since 1979, both freelance and in house. I have had article published in regional, national and international magazines. Plus, a video for which I wrote the script won an industry award as Best Training Video.
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