RPO Madness

Several weeks ago, Dr. Nassir Ghaemi, Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine, was doing the morning show circuit regarding his new book, A First Rate Madness. The premise of Dr. Nassir Ghaemi’s book about leadership and mental illness is simple. He believes “When our world is in tumult, mentally ill leaders function best” because they are more resilient, creative, realistic and empathetic than their mentally healthy counterparts.


I thought extensively about the hypothesis and was on the verge of dismissing the theory when I came across an article in SmartBrief on Workforce titled “Outstanding employees are often a little off but always on” that made me rethink my skepticism and reconsider the leadership madness theory in a somewhat less extreme way.

Jeff Hayden, the SmartBrief author, writes:

“The best…are a little different: Quirky, sometimes irreverent, happy to be unusual… they seem slightly “off,” but in a really good way. Unusual personalities shake things up, make work more fun, and turn a vanilla group into a team with flavor and flair. People who aren’t afraid to be different stretch boundaries, challenge the status quo, and often come up with the best ideas.”

As I reflected about Recruitment Process Outsourcing and specifically Pinstripe, I realized that many of the leaders who have gotten us where we are today are different and fit Hayden’s description. So while categorizing RPO leaders as madmen might be somewhat severe (and detrimental to my career), I am much more comfortable with characterizing many of the recruitment process outsourcing elite as a little “off” but always “on.”

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