2021 Board and Executive Compensation in the Technology Industry
bedfordgroup.com

Bedford Group/TRANSEARCH today announced publication of the 2021 Executive Compensation Report in the technology industry. This is the company's first annual industry-wide survey of compensation awards and practices of publicly traded North American technology companies.

This report is a precursor to an upcoming 2022 Bedford report that will analyse the compensation awards and practices of small, privately-held technology companies including tech start ups.

Read "2021 Board and Executive Compensation in the Technology Industry" leadership insights

Measuring Executive Effectiveness

There are lots of simple reasons why any organisation should measure executive effectiveness. There's just no clear consensus on how to do it.

Should one look only at recent financial results or share price as indicators of a leader's impact on the enterprise, say in the case of a Chief Executive Officer or Chief Financial Officer?

How about the person's progress against key individual or unit performance metrics or specific milestones related to their most recent job description?

Or perhaps the results of one of a battery of available psychometric tests, behavioural interviews or personality type indicators that may shed like on interpersonal tendencies, communication styles or ability gaps?

Then there are the matters of whether they have worked collaboratively with peers or perhaps even with customers to achieve success for key stakeholders and whether the leader has exhibited support and passion for the company's culture, mission and senior-most management team.

Yes, each of these can provide an enterprise a measure of a leader's performance and impact on a broader team or business group.

But the bigger question - the focal point of business impact across the enterprise - really boils down to whether an executive made it more or less competitive compared to its market standing before they were granted the mantle of leadership.

Sure, an individual leader can meet and consistently exceed performance expectations when it comes to the things they do and what they focus on.

The larger issue, however, and one that synergies with increasing discussions about corporate sustainability, is whether the leader has put the company on a firmer footing than they found it. Did they leave the woodpile higher? Or were they only concerned with advancing their own agenda?

So how does one address or know these things? By considering three simple questions:

  1. Who has the leader hired?
  2. Who has the leader promoted?
  3. Who has the leader mentored?

The answers to these questions really surface a leader's commitment to increasing corporate competitiveness and long-term performance and sustainability.

Judging a leader's performance is serious business. So serious, in fact, that it should go beyond short-term measures of their personal contributions - straight to their investments in people over the longer term. These are, after all, the very people who'll someday take the reins of management and be expected to instil all the right things in the next generation of leaders.


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.

Leading Effectively When There Simply Isn't Enough Time To Effectively Lead

If you're like most executives these days, your cup runneth over. That is, demands on your time and for your time, attention and energy have reached a fever pitch and there never seems to be enough time in the day to attend to every pressing priority.

It's at times like these that the art and science of leadership skills like time management and delegation are most appreciated.

But the organisational ripple effects of an executive management team chronically and irreversibly beset by too many 'To Do' items shouldn't be underestimated nor avoided for a lack of time to properly address them.

The American poet and essayist Ralph Waldo Emerson said, "This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it."

The challenge in today's corporation is to make the most and best use of time, to get the best leaders to share the same sense of urgency and direct the most focus to the highest of business goals, and to make sure they aren't spending too little time on business issues and opportunities that could make all the difference.

This latter risk - which executives few fail to acknowledge but which many 'up and comers' clearly recognise as a failure of leadership - is particularly critical, since the day-to-day demands of the business typically relegate important matters to no more than a cursory discussion on any one meeting agenda.

If you're the Chief Executive Officer, you've got to know how and where your executives are spending their time and applying what they know. Getting too bogged down in too many things that don't move the needle on corporate performance is a risk that comes with a world that seems to be moving faster than ever before.


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.

Judging The Quality Of Executive Management

Financial analysts were among the first to express interest in a rating system for the quality of a public company's senior executive management. Governance observers and activist shareholders won't be the last.

As free-market influence continues to shift from institutions to individuals and from manufacturers to end-user consumers, investors and market watchers are tracking executive leadership as never before. After all, in such volatile economic times, everyone's looking for an edge, and everyone's looking for the team of business leaders with all the right stuff to create long-term value.

It's easy to spot the problems and it's easy to spot the leaders and teams that no long-term investor should bank their future on. Yet selecting the right management teams to invest in remains a challenge. That is, unless you boil down the criteria for measuring "quality of management" to one of its most essential elements.

Consider the views of business management writer Tom Peters and American consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader - yes, an odd pairing but one grounded in common views of what companies should produce in addition to products, services and profits.

A quote attributed to Peters goes: "Leaders don't create followers; they create more leaders." And to Nader: "The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers."

Many people will tell you that it's not difficult to find a Chief Executive Officer who says one thing and does the other. Just read the business headlines in any media on a given day and that statement may be readily reinforced.

The real test - and no small concern for the long-term investor - is whether the Chief Executive Officer of any going business concern has surrounded themselves with an exceptional management team. The strength and performance of a high-performing senior management team is one critical demonstration of organisational potential. A CEO must be both humble and smart enough to realise that the calibre of the people around them will dictate success or failure.

Just as the business leader must carefully choose who is up to the test, so too, should global investors dig down and do their own due diligence on whether enterprise sustainability and competitiveness can rely on superb management bench strength.


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.

Developing An Eye For Talent

Particularly in today's media-influenced world, we can each point to a multitude of examples of how someone successful enough to become chief executive of a major global corporation, the coach of a well-known sports franchise, or the next big thing in entertainment is lavished with praise by others either unaware or unwilling to voice such lavish praise while they were on their way up.

First appointed, then anointed it seems. Of course, sometimes the hype and hyperbole about one's accomplishments takes on mythical proportions, with the truth subject to all sorts of distortions.

While there are lots of reasons to celebrate stories of business achievement and incredible leadership success and influence, there are just as many good reasons to go in search of the next great performer before they are discovered by the rest of the world.

One of the real tests of leadership acumen and ability for today's business challenges is the question of whether any leader - for any role - has had a hand and played an active role in the coaching, mentoring and sponsorship of others in terms of their growth and development.

The very best leaders, and those most suitable for recruiting and promoting, are those who have committed themselves to letting others flourish, grow and learn and then move on to their own next challenge.

Developing an eye for talent requires your investment getting to know your team members' strengths, weaknesses, hopes and fears and advocating for their advancement once they've proven their merit. It's also a great way to pass knowledge to the next generation of managers and build your legacy as a leader.


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.

A Vital Message For Emerging, High-Potential Leaders

Inspire and lead

Put a group of ambitious, first-time business leaders in a room together today and the discussion will likely turn on top-line revenue growth, the challenges of entering new markets, risk management and what politicians should do to stimulate economies.

Each of those deserves attention in this especially volatile global business environment, but perhaps none as much as the cross-functional performance lever that is 'talent management'.

No matter one's experience, education, functional expertise or industry, the ability to inspire and lead talented individuals and teams to higher levels of business performance is central to enterprise success, and will be for years to come.

You are a talent manager

Now more than ever before, talent management is everyone's business. It is the lever of human potential that can most influence organisational results. Yet it is one so often overlooked, or contained within the Human Resources Department or given only lip service by chief executives who talk about "people as our greatest asset" yet who have, at the same time, allowed archaic HR practices to tamp down progress.

If you're a business leader, you are indeed a talent manager, and must see yourself as such. This is especially vital for emerging, high-potential leaders who are the next generation of business leadership.

Progressive talent management

Ours is the epoch when talent, innovation and intellectual property are becoming the prime competitive resources through which business goals and growth are achieved.

Great people most often leave their bosses because those top managers aren't connecting the needs of superior talent with organisational priorities. Leading companies excel with progressive talent management practices and policies.

It's time for every manager to commit to talent management as a continuous cycle for renewal and repositioning in a business world whose tectonic plates are shifting faster and with more risk and opportunity at stake than ever before.


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.

What Turmoil in European Football Taught Us About Stakeholder Capital

Occasionally, something enters the public discourse that represents a unique teaching moment. The turbulent events in April 2021, focusing on the English Premier League, provided such an opportunity. What we witnessed was an unforgettable series of actions that opened a window on a poorly understood concept – "stakeholder capital".

Kick-off

It all kicked off when the football (soccer) scene across Europe was thrown into turmoil. On April 18th, twelve of the biggest and wealthiest clubs in Europe (six from the English Premier League) announced that they had formed their own league (modelled on the NFL in the US).

Their goal? The opportunity to increase shareholder value. A move that would, literally, have amounted to billions of euros for each of the "chosen" clubs. As for the turmoil, a closed league – no promotion or relegation – of elite clubs would have inevitably destroyed the inherent competitiveness of the other major football leagues across Europe. Amongst the English clubs that would have been pushed towards insolvency are those with working class roots that go back to the early days of organised football in the nineteenth century.

J. P. Morgan secured the financing for the new league to the tune of £4.6b. Amazon, it was reputed, was in line to sign them up for broadcast rights. To the rest of world football the surprise move was presented as an arrogant fait accompli. A done deal!

Half time

Before the ink was dry on their agreement, however, the so-called "super league" was issued a red card. The unanticipated backlash from all of the other stakeholders – players, managers, fans, government, media, the press, etc. – was so great that the new league was carried off on a stretcher within 48 hours. Apart from having to give up the potential long-term gain, the twelve clubs involved reputedly (collectively) lost an immediate investment of 150 million euros.

Stakeholder value, as represented by the many, totally overwhelmed the financial opportunity being pursued by the powerful and uncaring few.
 
The Liverpool owner was forced to make a groveling video apologising personally to the fans for his lack of judgement. It's not very often we see billionaires admitting that they scored an own goal. A key figure in the breakaway league – the Chief Executive of Manchester United – announced his resignation. Others in the conspiracy (the Real Madrid President for example) decided to look beyond the negative banner headlines, ignore the thousands of protesting fans, push aside the wide-spread accusations of naked greed and perpetuate the view that they did it for the "good of the game".

If I could offer such individuals any advice it would be to avoid a night out in the north of England any time in the next decade or so.

Final score

As an aside, the "collapse" the failed owners facilitated endorses a leadership competency that should not be underestimated - "cultural reach".

No matter how well-honed a leader's instinct to financial opportunity, failing to fully understand the cultural setting the business operates in can only be described as "an act of crass mismanagement". After three years of planning in secret, that the owners would make this move in the midst of a pandemic is further proof that someone's cultural antenna needs a little tuning.

What can the rest of us learn from this? Apart from the need for transparency and empathy in the midst of a crisis, know that no matter how skilled or aggressive you may be success is, ultimately, about knowing how to read the game.

The company's footprint on the environment matters. Diversity and inclusion are central to how you build great teams. Talent vote with their feet. Reputation in the public domain is hard won and easily lost. Add the need to move decision-making as close to the customer as possible, the proliferation of choice, the expansion of Gig employment that COVID has brought about (work from anywhere), word-of-mouth marketing and the influence of social media to the mix and one starts to understand the ways in which the locus of power is moving from the shareholder (20th century) to a much wider range of stakeholder groups (21st century).

That companies quoted on the London stock exchange now must report (under corporate law) both "the employee voice" and "organisation culture" is a further indication that the times they are a changin'. Tomorrow will be different. Thought leadership is to help light the way.

Key questions

  1. Diversity and inclusion. Because aspects of "diversity" are clearly apparent, organisations are, invariably, fully aware of their ongoing progress (or lack of). "Inclusion" is far less obvious. Does your organisation's strategic agenda embrace an approach to inclusion as it applies to all of the stakeholders?
  2. Cultural reach. Are talent management decisions - hiring, promotion, succession, leadership development, coaching - informed by the organisation culture needed to bring tomorrow's business model to life? In that you can't manage what you don't measure, this implies measuring both the culture you have and the culture you need.
  3. Leadership capability. Is the talent, capability, experience and mindset displayed by the current Board of Directors congruent with the emerging organisation, technology, market and societal challenges your business faces?

Article by John O. Burdett, Orxestra Inc., © 2021. John is the founder of Orxestra Inc. and strategic partner to TRANSEARCH International. For more on leadership philosophy in the 21st century download "Leadership, Learning and Agility: the WAY OF THE DOLPHIN". It is a complimentary download from the TRANSEARCH website.


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.

When Pushing Your People To Excel Reaches Its Limit

You probably already know - or perhaps even fit - this management type.

You know, the hard-charging Chief Executive who demands a tremendous amount out of their people, and even more of themselves.

If you have worked with and possibly even reported to just such a global leader, you may have found yourself thankful for the experience, humbled by their commitment and personal sacrifice, and changed in some meaningful way because of what they taught you along the way.

For many of us, these behavioural and character traits define the kind of business leader we want to work with and, perhaps, to become after witnessing the success they built and the fun they allowed themselves to have along the way. Hard work has its rewards, and these global leaders - these examples of hard work actually paying off - represent a great motivation to realise our own career potential.

Yet with the nose to the grindstone work mentality, this kind of leader creates comes the very real possibility - and organisational threat - of literally asking too much and getting too much from the same high performers in their organisation, leading to burnout and even hostility.

In many complex, global organisations these days, it appears that the lion's share of work is shouldered by the same, highly committed and equally gifted people to whom all the work typically flows when a valued team member leaves, retires or gets recruited away.

It is these 'go-to' people who have earned the trust of top management and who have just enough organisational authority to tackle key strategic initiatives. They are also often typified as the A-rate people in the company, and some of them also get labelled as 'high potential leaders'.

Yet it is this cream of the crop that is most vulnerable when such a hard-charging, Type A personality of a leader steps into a new role and a new company and, to paraphrases, "takes the bull by the horns".

The translation? We're going to work our tails off in pursuit of better financial results and returns to shareholders. In the unlikely event we don't hit our aggressive top line revenue number, these leaders swear, we will no doubt realise the corporation's profit targets. And you can take their word for that.

Some employees love hearing that. They are highly attuned to the challenge and thrive on it. Others shrink from it, or demonstrate some middling level of commitment to the company's goals, and the Chief Executive's vision.

Just be careful you don't push too hard. When everything seems like an immediate and top-level priority, tensions rise and confidence in the management team wanes. Go to your 'go to' people when you need them most, but also ensure that they're not working too much and wearing themselves too thin.

Even the best of your people have their limits. Challenge them to get up as close to those limits as possible, but also offer them a lifeline - a break in the action, when you have asked for a lot in a short amount of time. Your recognition of their sometimes-heroic efforts will keep them engaged and prepare them for the next corporate battle.


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.

What Is Stakeholder Value?

"Stakeholder Value" is an idea being given a good deal of positive support by the who's who of business. Following their meeting in August 2019, the Business Roundtable released a new statement on "the purpose of a corporation". Signed by 181 top CEOs, they committed to lead their companies for the benefit of all stakeholders – customers, employees, suppliers, communities and shareholders. That society is demanding a voice in the way businesses are run and is further endorsed by a change in corporate law in the UK in 2019. Companies on the London Stock Exchange must now report on both the "Employee's Voice" and "Corporate Culture."

Expect Boards to be far more involved in organisation culture in the future. Having run sessions on culture for Board members it's interesting to note that they quickly move from interest to enthusiasm once they realise that culture can and should be measured. Meanwhile, businesses that are truly stakeholder-driven have no problem attracting and retaining top talent. Patagonia, for example, receives 9,000 applicants for every internship.

Stakeholder value is also changing how intelligent organisations think about branding. Brand is more than a symbolic representation of the product or service being offered – it's the organisation's story simply told through compelling imagery and rich language. If, in the future, that story doesn't endorse the organisation's social and environmental contribution know that consumers will look to a brand that does.

George Wallace, Chief Executive, MHE Retail, put it this way:

"Brands that can show they are putting people or the environment ahead of sheer profit will be rewarded by consumers and employees and enhance the way they consider the brand."

Expect COVID-19 to transform a soft want into a hard need.

Insights from "Leadership: Moving Beyond The Crisis".


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.

The Importance of Picking The Right Leader

The most important decision

Choosing the right leader for any organisation is its most important business.

Just ask employees and shareholders, and they will tell you that their experience and investment will hinge on whether they can follow the person with the utmost accountability for future results.

Customers, too, will weigh in but most often only if issues with products or services are somehow disrupted or changed without their support. These are the silent majority stakeholders who will assume the mantle of leadership for the brands they support will be passed from one capable steward to another.

Trust the view of others

Too often, companies select an individual based on their deep corporate experience and bottom-line track record without probing at the personal attributes that tell others about the kind of person they truly are and what new charges should expect from them.

Trust the view of others who would tell you that there are individuals in major leadership roles within large, global enterprises who, at their core, may not actually be leaders capable of inspiring others, but who are rather lacking in character, courage and respect and therefore tend to alienate the real leaders below them in the organisation chart.

This isn't saying that people who are universally liked and admired must be the only ones considered to lead today's global companies. Quite to the contrary, many recognise from the start of their business careers that one cannot please everyone. Invariably, big business results require difficult decisions.

The larger question, however, is whether the individual in the Chief Executive's seat is consistent and equitable in their communication with and treatment of others, and whether the individuals who most closely demonstrate the stated values of the organisation hold the leader in high regard or harbour resentment about the boss.

A true difference maker

Personal stories and experience about individuals' one-on-one experiences with a leader offer an important glimpse into what motivates the leader. The things that are most important to him or her – and whether their daily behaviour aligns with those same things – say an awful lot about the person and what should be expected of them in the future.

Among the most revealing signposts of executive leadership are the little things that frame the memories of current colleagues, former employees and other business associates. These are the individuals with the most informing perspectives about the candidates for your company's leadership role because the volume of time spent with the individual is significant and consistent.

Sure, they can share a few of your candidate's idiosyncrasies. After all, you're not hiring a perfect candidate. More importantly, however, they can relate views on how the leader inspired them to greater success and career growth. They may also share stories about how their lives have been changed for the better from the experience of working with a true difference maker.

What matters most?

As with so many things in life, with great opportunities comes great risk. Just remember that picking the right leader for your enterprise is about far more than evaluating the individual's fit with your biggest and most important job description.

What matters most is whether the individuals who best represent your company's values would get excited to follow the person you choose to lead. That's when the magic happens for others.


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.

Creating An Environment For Innovation

Charles Darwin is long remembered for informing us, based on years of study as a naturalist and biologist, that it is not the strongest of the species that survives, but rather, the one most adaptable to change.

At least partly for this reason, business owners and global executive leaders rather predictably call for significant innovation when crafting their annual business growth plans.

Be this innovation grounded in expected technological advances, market research, organisational restructuring or hefty financial investment, the linkage between better results and doing something new or perhaps even bold has never been stronger.

There are, after all, a great many examples of people and enterprises taking small ideas and changing the world, along the way enriching themselves and their shareholders. That's the kind of result the Chief Executive Officer wants to realise, and no doubt, you and your teams as well.

And there are likewise many business tales about the cost of standing still, of watching customers and markets change around them, and ultimately, realising it's simply too late to save the company.

So, if your company's greatest potential for innovation hasn't yet been realised, what's been holding it back?

That is a serious question worth asking and worth exploring until one can gain some answers particularly if you and your team have been tasked with ideating the next big thing for your enterprise.

For in order to innovate, one must operate in an environment where such exploration and risk is encouraged and rewarded. Further, one must find the time and resources to commit intense study and focus to just one pursuit at a time when the pressure to multitask and deliver results on multiple projects remains.

If one were to ask Darwin, today, about what to expect on the road to a true breakthrough, it may well be that setting up the dynamics and environment for innovation must indeed come before the great success. That is, there may be bureaucracy, internal politics and/or stubborn managers stuck in their old ways standing in the way of agility and change.

Darwin himself is also credited with this quote: To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact! Especially true in these times.

The implication for today's global executive is that one must study whether the organisation has the ingredients, the environment, the culture and also the true resolve to innovate. Much like a scientist studying the natural world, one must assess whether the pre-conditions for life, or, in this case, for breakthrough discoveries that can revolutionise or accelerate the business are present or not.

By carefully considering the opportunities as well as the obstacles to innovation, one should be able to see the potential for great success more clearly. This improved vision could translate into a defined set of actions required to nurture experimentation.

If your mandate is to innovate, or to drive innovation, you would be well served to understand whether you have the people and the will to fight through organisational barriers. Otherwise, you might only realise that despite the rhetoric about change, your company only wants to keep spinning its old wheels.


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.