During a recent telephone consultation with an experienced recruiting professional, I asked him whether he was interested in making an imprint on his client company or a lasting, and positive impact? Although the question came as a surprise to the recruiter, his response was almost instantaneous. He firmly stated that he wished to make a lasting and positive impact on his client. He realized that it was the only way in which he could build and maintain an exclusive, long-term business relationship with them. And, he was absolutely correct.Remember: Building profitable, long-term, exclusive client relationships depends on your ability, through the individuals you place or assign, to impact in a positive fashion the on-going performance capacity of the client’s organization.Our business is not just about filling orders. If you focus your attention merely on filling orders, you will make an imprint on your client’s organization. However, imprints tend to disappear over time. Therefore, your true worth as a staffing professional depends on whether or not your client’s organization performs at a higher level as a result of being the recipient of your services. In other words, your services have created a positive and lasting impact.You can make an imprint on your client’s organization by being an effective recruiter/staffing professional. However, in order to make a lasting and positive impact on their organization you need to be both an effective recruiter/staffing professional as well as an effective businessperson.Although most of the training resources available to practitioners in our industry contain credible information on “how” to become an effective recruiter/staffing professional, they fall short on providing information on “how” to become an effective business person.Certainly, the proper filling of orders is the cornerstone on which to build any client relationship. However, building long-term, exclusive relationships requires a broader perspective, one that includes an accurate and timely understanding of the challenges and opportunities that confront your clients on a daily basis. This is the area where the practitioner must operate more like a businessperson and not solely as a recruiter/staffing professional (See TFL 02/03 Leveraging Your Relationships).This begs the question:What are you doing to grow yourself as a businessperson?Consider the possibilities (See TFL 11/99 How Bad Do You Want To Be Good) for they are endless.For many of us, reading is a key component of learning. And now, with books on tape, video, CDs, and DVDs, there is a learning medium available for just about everyone. Being a visual learner, my preference is the printed word. As a result, my personal library contains hundreds of books on subjects ranging from sales strategies and negotiation techniques to team building, effective management, and developing leaderships skills. All of these books have value because through them, I have learned to understand and work with my clients in partnering relationships as a business equal.Now, it may not be realistic to expect everyone in our industry to read a minimum of one business book per week. Nevertheless, reading and thoroughly digesting a minimum of one appropriate business book per month (or its equivalent) should be a goal for anyone in our industry who is truly committed to building their career.From business classics such as Peter Drucker’s “Management Challenges of the Twenty First Century” and Tom Peter’s “The Circle of Innovation” to Stephen Covey’s “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” and Leigh Steinberg’s “Winning with Integrity,” the useful information contained in carefully selected business books can provide you with a foundation of knowledge that will help propel your career in this industry to the next level.In addition to the titles listed above, I have prepared a list of seventeen books that should be required reading for everyone in our industry. If you would like to receive a copy of this selected bibliography, just drop me an e-mail at: Terry@tpetra.com and I will send it to you as a Word Document.Studies have demonstrated that on average, once their formal education is completed, most individuals do very little reading that is directly related to their chosen career field. This is particularly true for busy managers and executives, a/k/a our clients.By committing to a monthly regimen of self-study through selected reading, you can quickly grow your knowledge base; enhance your standing as a credible businessperson, while substantially improving your ability to impact in a positive fashion, the performance capacity of your clients’ organization. As an important by-product of this learning, you will separate yourself on a qualitative scale from the competition while insuring continued growth and success. Because of your knowledge and expertise, you and your services will continually be in demand by those organizations that have the courage to take full advantage of the unique opportunities that exists in a marketplace that is long on challenge and short on margin for error.Imprint or impact? It really depends on you. After all, whose responsibility is individual self-development?If you want to receive a copy of my recommended reading list or otherwise have questions or comments, just let me know. Your contacts are always welcome.