Recruiting executives and board of directors is a “high stakes sensitive matter” and what wins now will be leaders who are authentic about what they know and remain curious and not befuddled in discovering how to effectively embrace challenges that will come faster and more frequently. Some challenges will be in the normal course of operating while others will be unforeseen… even “swans.”
In today’s complex world, increasingly CEOs are continually stress testing their strategy and teams and are being challenged to assure that they have the executives who deliver… recruiting and retaining executives who are courageous in seeking out and presenting diverse views to achieve the best outcome even under difficult and uncertain circumstances. These leaders are rare, exceptional in many respects, as they know when to defend and when it’s time to flip to full force offense… and win at both simultaneously.
When measuring and assessing executives for key roles (recruiting or promoting), be sure that they “buy” into the mission and foundational value system and are passionate about outcomes. Not all executives, however capable, will succeed. Selecting wrongly will create detractions and breaches from your mission… and will test the culture that your other executives have bought into and accepted. In making these judgments on a candidate’s values means “slightly” trading off “perceived” required experience. Successful CEOs want both but recognize wisely, if having to make a choice on shades of grey tradeoffs, will select individuals who are a value fit knowing that achieving superior outcomes depends on linking executives to organizational trust.
Buzz Words Come with Risk
In selecting executives, be guided by going slow to go fast.
Be vigilant to not become enamored with executives who “move fast” and “transform” by short-term actions… a candidate’s flash and dash. Speed alone is but one element and sometimes speed as a principle determinant kills options before they are fully vetted.
“Swashbuckling” leaders who tend to be reckless and less trusted, on balance, will destroy esprit de corps and carry the risk of “value carnage.”
Seek well balanced executives who truly listen, respectfully question the current dogma and who aren’t afraid to explore and take measured chances on the unconventional.
The No Ego Rule…Prize Candor and Discovery
Evaluate your leaders for consistency in “how” they engage teams and expertise across your organization to diagnose, assess and address challenging situations. Appreciate how they engage, gather information and act, analytically and intuitively. If a leader isn’t forthright, willing to engage and seek advice from others regardless of titles or responsibilities, you are well advised to pass on hiring or promoting that candidate.
What We Seek
Our clients are seeking leaders who are determined to shape and reshape their organizations at times of change and peril recognizing that to win their teams continually will be evaluated for their flexibility to redirect paths to value.
So, to win now, we are recruiting leaders (operational and functional) who appreciate the nuance of strategic advantage… who probe for options, are data driven, never satisfied and don’t bring their own playbook that worked elsewhere under different circumstances. They engender trust as a cultural norm recognizing that it is integral to drive and unleash the power of organizational passion to “bend the curve.” These leaders press discovering what needs to change…aligning their strategy and their talent… upgrading as required. They prize executives who not only collaborate and communicate with transparency, but moreover, as demonstrated during COVID, who focus, mobilize, deploy resources and re-position…effectively.
Appreciate that such leaders are rare. They know, via experiences and intuition, when to defend and when to flip to offense… at times, simultaneously. And, as a result, they turn adjustments into strategies that win, evaluate and adjust continually as needed and most importantly, aren’t stuck with, nor guided solely by, the “yellowed dog”- eared pages of yesterday’s “playbook.”
With the best in class of 98% search completions, our raison d’etre is simple… as our clients will opine, we recruit leaders who deliver value… only the exceptional.
Call on us.
Written by Joel Koblentz, Founding Partner
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