I love Formula 1 motor racing, and have been staying up late to watch races from far corners of the world since the days of Nigel Mansell, Prost and Senna.  The events of the past few weeks have demonstrated that the biggest rivals are often within the same team;  Vettel and Webber have crashed into each other, Alonso has asserted his No1 status over Massa, as he failed to do over Hamilton, and yet Lewis and Jensen Button have spurred each other on throughout the season, without getting ugly – so far.  The stakes are high, and the adage that you must first beat your team mate holds truer than ever.  Only this weekend Schumacher sought to remind Barrichello of his place, as he has done with a succession of other wing men, in a lethal game of brinkmanship.  Team owners often tacitly endorse this behaviour by anointing their chosen son, and overlooking his misdemeanours.

Whilst not life-threatening, the recruitment agency business is an immensely competitive environment, not only between companies, but especially within firms themselves.  Unchecked, recruitment consultants can frequently cross the ethical line, and in the worst cases, their employers actively encourage them to do so.  I have always tried to encourage healthy competition, and even rivalry, but only so long as it was never to the detriment of candidates, clients or the recruitment agency.  I have certainly witnessed the destructive nature of competition when no control is exercised, and hot heads have even led to some firms being torn apart.  This, I believe is a major contributory factor to the poor regard in which many recruiters are held.

So back to Formula 1.  The FIA have ruled that “Team Orders” are prohibited, yet don’t go so far as to actually prevent it.  The price has been set at a paltry $100,000, or perhaps just one used Ferrari road car.  If it was really prohibited, then they would disregard the pass by Alonso, and record the race win for Massa.  As any employer should know though, favouring one talented son, no matter his talents, will not only distance him from the team, but also sow further disharmony.  Spare the rod, and spoil the child.


Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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