Don't you just love it when a rarely-used word seems to be everywhere you turn all of a sudden. My word-of-the-month is "vetted". No, it has nothing to do with Corvette - sorry for the lame pun and photo. Instead, it's the "process of examination and evaluation" that is used to check into something or someone before a final decision is made. It's also an interesting sub-point in the idea of The Challenge Dividend.
Most readers have heard "vetting" used to describe McCain and Obama's search for a Vice Presidential candidate. We heard news stories of potential nominees that were and were not vetted. In the past week we've seen praise for the selection of Joe Biden, a man vetted by many campaigns and decades in the Senate. And this weekend we've seen analysis on the risk of the selection of Sarah Palin, a political newcomer who was vetted by a committee but not the harsh glare of national media.
Last week I encountered the concept of "vetting" while meeting management of one of my clients. We were receiving our annual agency performance review (itself a great Challenge Dividend concept), and heard that - while lots of other new agencies are trying to do work for the client - the digital agency world is full of over-promising and under-delivering. Our client felt great that we were doing great work and delivered on our promises. In her words: "You are vetted."
The vetting process is smart for all manner of "hiring" decisions, and seems to be increasing as we have access to new tools and technology. When I interview people, I usually take only a cursory look at the resume - and instead use tools like Google and LinkedIn to form my initial impressions. Why? Well, the resume is like a one-sided advertisement. You only see the good stuff in the best possible light. But other information, tools, and personal references help to "vet" candidates in a more trusted way. And when I have to make a critical employment decision, I cannot afford to trust only a resume and a few hours of interviews. Meanwhile, the act of vetting job applicants ensures that these people work harder to make impartial, positive impressions.
We'll see if the "vetting" concept dies away as the Vice Presidents are picked and the race for the White House is finished. I think this one might stick around, as it's another powerful way that challenge drives improvement.