Board Directors' Calling To Stay Ahead Of Cyber Crime

There are few things that keep non-executive Board Directors awake at night these days more than the worry they will someday wake up to read news headlines about a cyber-security breach of their company's critical business intelligence, intellectual property and customer data.

As many Boards invest time to consider effective risk management through multiple lenses, there is, undoubtedly, a calling for Directors to raise the question of the preparedness, security and response capabilities of the enterprise in the event such corporate systems are hacked.

For all the benefits and conveniences in living in our technology-rich times, the threat of cyber crime - be it committed by foreign interests, terrorists, competitors or rogue technology bandits - is a real one faced by most global companies and smaller ones, too.

Amid reports that some very large companies have had their systems and data compromised and a regulatory environment that demands the disclosure by publicly owned companies of such adverse events comes the responsibility for organisations and non-executive Board Directors to get out ahead of this issue lest they wake up one morning to a crisis they are ill-prepared to face.

One of the duties of Board stewardship requires Directors to probe the enterprise's real cyber-risk exposure and its preparedness to deal with such a potentially cataclysmic event. Even the most cursory of assessments will reveal myriad issues and challenges relating to cyber-security, from technology and crisis management issues to leadership communications, shareholder relations, marketing and regulatory reporting.

As with so many other business challenges, a company's ability to avoid or reduce the impacts of a significant threat like cyber-crime directly relates to the seriousness and depth to which its management and oversight authorities addressed the issue before it became a crisis.

In the case of cyber-security and the non-executive Board Director's stewardship of governance oversight, the old adage really rings true: a stitch in time saves nine.

As passionate experts in the executive search and leadership consulting industry we build leadership teams for our clients every day. Learn more about TRANSEARCH International and our wide-ranging approach to leadership acquisition and management assessment.

Dealing With An Unexpected Future

On April 29 2021, TRANSEARCH hosted its traditional business lunch, offered again as a virtual event due to the current ongoing situation. The event offers leading executives the opportunity to freshen their contact list and, following a presentation, invites them to join in the discussion.

On this occasion, Mr. Erich Harsch, CEO of Hornbach Baumarkt AG, was guest speaker. Mr. Harsch framed the topic of "Dealing With An Unexpected Future" as follows.

Personal responsibility / personal responsibility of employees

Mr. Harsch considers large or complex hierarchical structures to be an obstacle for the company. Removing the hierarchy levels under the stipulation "only as many as necessary" leads to better and more direct communication. Organisations that only depend on their superiors, turn the boss into a bottleneck. He illustrated personal responsibility with an upside-down pyramid, in which the foundation consists of the board of directors, who attach great importance to the employees' own control rather than external control. Good leaders give employees more freedom.

Self-orientation skills

Working and acting independently leads to agility. The fewer instructions there were, the more decisions would be made. This requires a competence and ability that has to be learned, practiced and developed. In this context, Mr. Harsch asked of leaders "Don't be a puppet player: if the threads are cut, the puppets are incapable of acting".

Culture and attitude

Instead of intensive instructions, which lead to "know-how", place more emphasis on the purpose of the task, the "know-why". Because this is how willpower and energy arise.

The management question is related to the development of personal responsibility and this is related to trust. Trust in employees is good, but not sufficient, because trust has to develop through experience. With conditional confidence and the acceptance that people get 20% wrong at the beginning, Mr. Harsch has had a much better experience. Because with confidence, people approach tasks intrinsically motivated, usually do more than 80% correctly, learn and thus contribute to the success of the company.

Dealing with technology

Forward-looking infrastructural preparation is important in these times. New technology must be understood as the infrastructural foundation in order to be successful. Video conferences, which have already proven to be cultivated, change user behavior: a faster and more intensive exchange of information, mutual learning and coordination as well as coordinated action are possible, which - if used correctly - leads to competitive advantages.

The unpredictable will also happen in the future. For this reason, cultural framework conditions should be created for people so that they are able to deal with the unexpected.

According to Mr. Harsch, one should take care of "being", not "appearances", in order to do the things that seem really important to one and not what others expect. This embodies authenticity and creates a positive corporate image in the market, which in the end, with a high degree of probability, leads to a positive development in sales and earnings.

Original article in German "Business Lunch im Frühjahr ein".

As passionate experts in the executive search and leadership consulting industry we build leadership teams for our clients every day. Learn more about TRANSEARCH International and our wide-ranging approach to leadership acquisition and management assessment.

Health Care In The Crystal Ball

Predictions (and Challenges) for Healthcare and the Life Sciences in 2021

Two major reports have mapped out predictions for the paths forward - and the obstacles to overcome. The IDC FutureScape: Worldwide Health Industry 2021 Predictions report focuses heavily on the impact of granular digitalization efforts. The report from PwC's Health Research Institute (HRI), Top health industry issues of 2021: Will a shocked system emerge stronger?, takes a more holistic view of how the operational, employee and customer experiences will need to evolve to benefit from these technological shifts. Differences aside, the bottom line in both reports is unmistakable. By necessity - and resolve - the future is coming.

Read "Health Care In The Crystal Ball" leadership insights

Developing a New Business Identity

Following the sale of its premier brand, the legacy portfolio of companies that constituted a diversified investment group required a new business identity, a cohesive growth strategy and new leadership to drive results.

This case study highlights how TRANSEARCH helped shape and align organisational cultures across diversified component companies, and found a General Manager with the level of experience and credibility in the finance markets capable of pushing the kind of innovation and cultural transformation required to achieve the group's exciting new business plan.

Read the challenge, action, impact and client perspective of finding an anchor for culture transformation and an important driver of new business expansion.

Read "Developing a New Business Identity" leadership insights

Wildcard for Growth

"If your TRANSEARCH team hadn't been diligent while also positively stubborn in its pursuit of the right, lasting solution for our company, we simply would not be where we are today…

You have now proven how a search firm can truly become a trusted partner. Thank you."

Read the challenge, action, impact and client perspective of introducing a C-level 'wild card' into the board's deliberations about achieving its commercial goals.

Read " Wildcard for Growth" leadership insights

Seven Surprises for New CEOs

Leadership is fickle. As you climb the corporate ladder your role changes. When you lead a department you are expected to give orders. People look for leadership. When you lead a division you are expected to empower middle management. People look for guidance. When you become the CEO of a company you become a servant leader. People look for inspiration. Reaching the pinnacle role of a CEO is every graduate's dream, but when you finally arrive you have too much to do, with too little time and too little information. Moreover, you become a public figure and vulnerable to critique. Not everybody wears the armor to withstand such forces.

The findings of Harvard Business Review published in 2004 still seem relevant in 2020. Here are 7 surprises that new CEOs discovered when entering office:

  1. You can't run the company
  2. Giving orders is very costly
  3. It is hard to know what is really going on
  4. You are always sending a message
  5. You are not the boss
  6. Pleasing shareholders is not the goal
  7. You are still only human

Published by Michael E. Porter, Jay W. Lorsch and Nitin Nohria
From the October 2004 Issue

Summary by Geo Wehry, Senior Partner at TRANSEARCH, originally published on LinkedIn here.

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If you are a top executive, you don't owe it to yourself to be coached, but you do owe it to all of those whose lives you touch

If you are a top executive, you don't owe it to yourself to be coached, but you do owe it to all of those whose lives you touch. The coaching conversation must be informed by the emerging economic environment, tomorrow's customer's needs, and the business strategy. A number of coaching disciplines are common:

  • Coaching is about framing the conversation such that the coachee finds their own way (power to).
  • What the coach believes, the coachee will perceive. The coach must therefore work from the belief that the agreed outcome will (not might), could or should happen.
  • An experienced coach learns how to work from a beginner's mind.
  • To coach is to listen in the way the coachee has always wanted to be listened to.
  • To coach is to help connect the coachee with their own story, ask great questions, introduce a new metaphor, share a compelling story, open the door to best practice and personally model the behaviour being sought.
  • Coaching mastery draws on a robust coaching model, meaningful executive experience, cultural relevance, interpersonal sensitivity and mental agility.

Insights from "Coaching the CEO" by John O. Burdett, Leadership advisor to TRANSEARCH International.

As passionate experts in the executive search and leadership consulting industry we build leadership teams for our clients every day. Learn more about TRANSEARCH International and our wide-ranging approach to leadership acquisition and management assessment.

Forecasting the Future with Digital Disruption

Overcoming the current talent gap in the Canadian Power Utility sector has become a priority for every board of directors.

TRANSEARCH International Toronto partner The Bedford Consulting Group highlights the tremendous challenges ahead as the sector works to keep pace with digital change and adopt new technologies in the name of efficiency, environmental responsibility and innovation.

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Tips for Winning Talent in the Era of Disruption

David Wongso, MD TRANSEARCH International Indonesia, recently spoke with SWA Magazine on 'Ways to Win Talent in the Era of Disruption'. David notes how in this era of disruption many workforce skills are becoming irrelevant, and that the rate of change is getting faster. He highlights that leadership development and talent acquisition agendas must tackle the mismatch of skills and be directly managed by the C-suite and board of directors.

"The board of directors must ensure that leadership development and talent acquisition work effectively. Do not let the two agendas be entrusted to the level below but not be controlled."

Read "Tips for Winning Talent in the Era of Disruption" leadership insights