Can Biotech Be A Diversity Leader?
bedfordgroup.com

It's been a big year for biotech. And that momentum shows little sign of abating. Competition for top-seeded executives and board members has been fierce, with compensation at this level reflecting the sector's hunger for talent.

The "Board and Executive Compensation in the Biotechnology Industry" report’s intelligence gets more interesting where diversity and gender parity in the sector is concerned – and some fascinating observations can be inferred from that information. What can we do better? Where do we start?

Read "Can Biotech Be A Diversity Leader?" leadership insights

Making Talent Management Work

"Talent management is a system, not a series of stand-alone processes."

No organisation can afford to put talent management on the backburner. The loss of experience as the baby-boom generation retires, the overall shortage of talented leaders, the absolute need to engage and retain high-potential employees at every level of the organisation, and an environment which demands that organisations continually do more with less, all combine to make talent management a Board-level priority.

How do organisations get it right? What lessons have we learned over the years? In reviewing their own talent management agenda what questions should those at the organisation's helm be asking?

Talent management is an organic system

No matter who holds the title the CEO is, and must be, the organisation's Chief Talent Officer. Line and functional leaders who see talent management as a secondary priority quickly become a business liability.

Talent management is an organic system, not a series of stand-alone processes. And like any system the whole can never be stronger than the weakest link. Business leaders who fail to align the talent management system with the emerging business context are destroying value. Top teams that support investment in only one or two aspects of development and retention of the internal talent pool and who fail to aggressively address shortfalls in the rest of the system are sowing the seeds of tomorrow's mediocrity.

The dilemma: leadership myopia all too easily leads to the assumption that positive feedback around one process is a valid indicator of the health of talent management in the organisation overall. Unless they are an integral part of the talent management system interventions such as 360º feedback, climate surveys and/or mentoring, no matter how well-supported initially, are destined to become yet one more administrative burden.

The cultural journey

Talent management starts with a robust understanding of the cultural journey. To truly make an impact talent management has to focus on "the organisation we need to be become." Working to become ever better at who we are and what we do (talent management that reinforces the status quo) is to orchestrate tomorrow's missed opportunity.

Although both are important, there is an important difference between climate and culture. Climate is a measure of how people feel about the organisation at a specific point in time. Culture describes the underlying systemic pillars that shape behaviour over the long term. Talent management means insight into and action around both.

The engine of talent management

The engine of talent management is talent acquisition. If the talent acquisition process is found wanting, every other talent management process is marginalised. One of the implications is that the value proposition of those charged with supporting talent acquisition (e.g. executive search) must move beyond "We know the market place better than anyone else."

Capability must encompass areas such as cultural measurement, role-specific competency profiling, team fit, leadership assessment, and executive integration. All these must be complemented by the broad range of skills and resources needed to enable the firm in question to become a full partner in supporting the organisation's talent management actions.

The team is the basic building block of organisation growth. The challenge: if the performance management process, compensation approach, talent acquisition outlay, succession work and internal focus on coaching do not embrace the team much of the effort and investment in talent management is for naught.

The coaching conversation

There is value in separating the performance discussion from the ongoing and complementary performance coaching conversation. The former is periodic, focuses on the achievement of goals (or otherwise) and sets out the coaching agenda. The latter is ongoing, and is about delivering that which has been agreed in the performance discussion (the coaching agenda). The most effective performance management processes balance "the what" (outcomes) with "the how" (behaviour aligned with the organisation's values).

Coaching has to become an integral part of every leader's thoughts and actions. Put simply, a leader who can't coach can't provide leadership; he/she isn't creating the space for talented employees to exploit their own potential.

Successful coaching is ultimately measured by the extent to which the employee moves to the next level of performance. In many instances this means helping the employee/team reframe outdated/dysfunctional mindsets. Coaching that makes a difference focuses, in the first instance, on what is working, no matter how embryonic (leveraging strengths, delivering affirmation, building pride, reinforcing early success).

Coaching is an integral element in the talent management system overall; the coach must model the leadership behaviour implicit in the emerging culture and deliver in-the-moment feedback and affirmation, all while continuously coaching the team. With that in mind, the wider value of the external coach (consultant), beyond coaching leaders in how to coach and/or supporting the accelerated growth of high-potential employees, needs to be regularly challenged and evaluated.

The succession process

When it comes to succession more is less. Succession work that makes a lasting difference focuses only on those leadership roles that are truly mission critical. The succession process must also take into account the future competitive environment; only then can the organisation start to understand which of its leaders have the skills, knowledge and development potential to succeed tomorrow in the (mission critical) role he/she holds down today.

There is a profound difference between succession and replacement strategies: a leader in a mission critical role who isn't actively developing both for their own role is failing to fulfil their fiduciary responsibility.

Leadership workshops

Leadership workshops supporting individual development must be seen as a reward for performance excellence, not a right that goes with the individual's role or level in the organisation. Leadership workshops make a difference when the content is valid and accessible; when the "customers' voice" is an ever-present subtext; when the learning challenges participants emotionally; when the level of abstraction contained within the material is aligned with the "conceptual horsepower" of those attending; when adequate time is set aside to challenge the ideas and views presented; when ideas, dialogue and practice are given equal weight; when reflection is part of the mix; and when the skills introduced have immediate practical application.

Although measuring success is important, not everything delivered by the workshop can and should be measured. In addition to delivering "What to do differently on Monday," it is often important that leadership workshops strive to change the way participants see the emerging business challenge. Reframing mindsets, offering participants a new lens through which to see the world, and challenging established assumptions are characteristics of success that don't fit easily on a spreadsheet.

Finally, in that real learning doesn't begin until the participant returns to the workplace, there is a strong correlation between on-the-job follow-up and return on the investment made.

A "power to" approach

Talent management that thrives emphasises a "power to" rather than a "power over" leadership approach. This speaks to transparency, risk, and allowing talented leaders to have a real say in the development journey being charted. No less important: excellence means keeping it simple!

Talent management isn't new. Indeed, scratch the surface of any organisation that has sustained outstanding performance and you will find that talent management has played a large part in that success. The talent challenge per se may not be a recent concern but the urgency and need to get it right have never been keener. And the environment has never been less forgiving to those who stumble.


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.

Three Tips to Flourish in the Hybrid Working World
transearchusa.com

A wave of hybrid workforces are going to emerge as the norm for organisations across America, according to a series of recent studies.

The Prudential's Pulse of the American Worker survey found more than two-thirds (68%) of U.S. workers would prefer a hybrid workplace model after the pandemic ends. And nearly 80% of C-suite executives polled by WeWork and Workplace Intelligence, said plans are in the works for a hybrid model, meaning a mix of in-office and remote teams will become a permanent fixture of post-pandemic workforces.

With data demonstrating hybrid is the way of the future, we are pleased to help you build a robust and productive hybrid model with some practical tips and factors to think about …

Read "Three Tips to Flourish in the Hybrid Working World" leadership insights

Why Diversity & Inclusion Matters In Organisational Culture
transearch.com.au

Often seen as a problem for boards, a Human Resources issue, or a concern for hiring managers to address during the recruitment process, Diversity and Inclusion should really be discussed alongside organisational culture.

How diversity is reflected in an organisation and how it responds to inclusion is in its genes, and that its everyone’s responsibility. For however well intentioned, any D&I objectives cannot be achieved unless they are driven by the business as a whole – from senior leaders and executives, through to middle managers and at grass roots. This is the only way to land an organisation that fosters a workplace culture where diversity and inclusion are valued, cultural safety is promoted and the ways in which intersectionality affects our workforce is recognised.

Read "Why Diversity & Inclusion Matters In Organisational Culture" leadership insights

10 Succession Failures And How To Avoid Them

1. Lack of direction from the Board

The ultimate accountability for succession lies with the HR Committee of the Board, but it is no less a fiduciary responsibility for the CEO and the top team. Indeed, anyone privileged enough to hold down a leadership role has an ongoing responsibility to develop a successor.

The need? A far more rigorous approach to Board selection. A periodic assessment of Board "fitness for purpose". A regular review of governance provisions. Appointing adjunct Board members with specialised experience and know-how – for example, organisation culture, technology, the succession process.

2. A broken or incomplete process

A flawed process has one defining characteristic – it's not going to take you where you need to be. Conversely, a meaningful process displays all the attributes of a good map. It allows you to identify where the beginning of the journey is, where you need to get to and the key steps along the way.

The need? A rigorous and transparent succession process that allows the Board to understand the thinking and methodology behind "the names on the charts". A succession process that delivers a distinct and sustainable competitive advantage.

3. Confusing 'succession' with 'replacement'

'Succession' and 'replacement' planning build on very different assumptions. Replacement is essentially tactical - a contingency plan to put into effect should a mission-critical role unexpectedly become open. Succession is strategic - it's about tomorrow's leadership.

The need? Recognise the inherent value of both replacement and succession but don't confuse the two. Leaving a mission-critical role unfilled for an extended period of time can be horrendously expensive. It may even put the very future of the business at risk.

4. Casting too wide a net

The shorthand for focus is "less is more". This is especially the case when it comes to succession. The challenge? To identify mission-critical roles.

The need? Restrict the work on succession at the top of the organisation to mission-critical roles – the roles that really matter; the roles that, if filled poorly, can sink the ship.

5. Confusing 'high performance' with 'high potential'

Like riding a rocking horse, not everyone who 'rocks' is going places. It's a mistake to assume that outstanding performance translates into high potential.

The need? Define the specific competencies that describe future success in both the mission-critical role and the generic competencies that capture what it means to be 'high potential'. Selection isn't an exercise in abstract thinking. Make both succession decisions and identifying high potential candidates evidence based.

6. Poorly defined leadership competencies

A leadership competency describes future success in the role. It also captures the behaviours that separate an outstanding performer from one who is merely middle of the road. Three common pitfalls: falling back on generic terms; a myopic focus; relying too heavily on the manager in the role to capture the characteristic of future success.

The need? A comprehensive, up-to-date library of future-looking, thought-leadership-based, context-oriented, role-specific leadership competencies that embrace leadership balance.

7. Future culture is a "best guess"

Your culture is your brand. Succession based on wishful thinking is to place a blind bet on the future without any understanding of what you are actually betting on and without appreciating the damage you are doing to the brand.

The need? Responsibility for culture lies directly with the top team. What you don't measure, you can't manage. It is essential to (really) know: 1) where your organisation culture is today, and 2) where your culture needs to be to compete successfully in the future.

8. Coaching is "something we need to get to"

You can't grow the organisation unless you grow the people in the organisation. At the heart of 'growing' people lies coaching. Coaching isn't a 'sometime skill'. It's a systemic way to think about what it means to be a leader.

The need? As the business environment evolves, new knowledge, skills and capability are demanded. Without coaching, succession is an engine of future performance that is not firing on all cylinders. Those at the top must strive to become masterful in the art of coaching.

9. Misunderstanding what it means to be a team

It is little short of managerial incompetence to enter into the succession conversation without the key decision-makers stepping back to assess the future nature, needs and norms that shape the behaviour of the team(s) involved. And it matters … because tomorrow's organisation will be a team of teams.

The need? Factoring in the makeup and working approach of tomorrow's team(s) is a business imperative. As is uncovering meaningful ways to assess the team.

10. Succession candidates are poorly integrated into the new role

Derailment, no matter what form it takes, destroys value. If they don't land, they won't stay. It's not just a matter of fulfilling all of the requirements of the new role. The challenge is to do so as quickly as possible.

The need? A comprehensive executive induction process supported by both an internal mentor and an external coach. Assessment tools, access to supportive materials and the full support of both the hiring manager and HR are clearly essential. We have also found that a well designed and easy to access workbook is invaluable.

What next?

There are a good many issues that can derail a successful business. None, however, contain the potency for failure as having the wrong leader in the wrong role at the wrong time. Succession is a critical investment that you cannot afford to get wrong.

Why is succession so often adjudged a failure? Limited strategic awareness is the start of it. Being overwhelmed by the problems of the day is clearly part of it. But, more often than not, lack of practical intelligence is at the heart of it. To speak to a TRANSEARCH consultant about shaping tomorrow's leadership success today, please get in touch.


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.

Diversity In The Biotech C-Suite Q&A
fiercebiotech.com

"If you're paying attention even a little bit to the diversity of the biotech C-suite, it's easy to see that there are few women or visible minorities at the top. But just how bad is the situation?"

The following is a Q&A with Fierce Biotech and Darren Raycroft, partner and managing director at executive search firm The Bedford Consulting Group.

Read "Diversity In The Biotech C-Suite Q&A" leadership insights

The 7 Questions Every CEO Should Ask About Culture

1. Does your team regularly have a vibrant culture conversation?

Culture is the often overlooked, all­-pervasive, enterprise­-wide, organisational DNA that dictates whether your strategy lands or if your brand sustains. It's "a way to be" shaped by the past but continuously honed by the emerging business, social, economic, political and customer context.

2. Do you spend as much (quality time) on culture as you do on strategy?

It's become popular to use the expression "culture eats strategy for breakfast." It's colourful, catchy, engaging, provocative … and wrong!

In a world of uncertainty the only thing that is predictable is that your strategy will be "subject to correction". Long after the strategy has been shredded, what will endure is the culture.

The new reality … culture enables strategy.

3. Is there clarity around what has made – and makes – the business successful?

A business exists primarily to create tomorrow's customer. Profit is obviously important but it's ultimately the outcome of doing the former well.

The organisation's culture delivers both the outward looking (why buy from us?) and the inward facing (why work for us?) value propositions. Of the two, the latter is more important. If the brand promise doesn't live inside the organisation it can't live in the marketplace.

4. Are middle managers fully in the game?

No organisation of more than 150 or so people has one single and unified culture. The challenge becomes one of tight­loose leadership: allow local differences to flourish while, at the same time, develop an overarching 'meta' culture that ensurescommon values, consistency, connection, collaboration, caring for the customer and an unrelenting commitment to the whole.

And the group that binds everything together is the "middle managers". Moreover, they are the only group that can!

5. Do you measure culture?

If you don't know where you're going … don't be surprised if you don't get there. What we don't know we can't address. It's difficult to raise the bar if you don't know how high it is. It's essential, however, that the culture measurement express, in business terms, where the organisation's culture is (roots) and where the organisation's culture needs to be (wings).

If you don't measure culture, you can't manage it. No less important, culture is strategic. We need to understand both where we are and where we need to be.

6. Are all of the communication channels fully brought into play?

Today is the slowest things will ever be! Culture and change serve and support each other. In the midst of this ongoing tumult the question becomes "Who owns the culture?"

The obvious answer is "everyone". A more considered answer might refer to the Board, the CEO or even the top team. However, perpetuated through a need for inclusion, self-protection and loyalty to one's immediate group, it is the fluid and highly adaptable informal networks. And who "feeds" the informal organisation? Middle managers.

7. Do you hire/promote with "tomorrow's" culture in mind?

The world of work is changing and the very definition of "a job" is, perhaps, changing most of all. Into this maelstrom rides talent management. The metaphorical quarterback of talent management … who and how we hire.

Getting culture on the right track means identifying the right candidate. Not every now and then … but every time. Who you hire determines what's possible.

Insights from "The 7 Questions Every CEO Should Ask About Culture (PDF)".


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.

Everybody Wins When Managing Candidate Expectations

Human nature is restless. How many times have you questioned a recent purchase or even suffered from so-called buyers remorse? This is a natural occurrence and it more often than not happens to you in a professional capacity, for example: you join a company as a new addition to the executive team, but at the same time continue to consider offers from other companies.

Research has shown that very few new joiners are completely confident in their choice. It is such an important decision that many continue to study the market, hoping to confirm or deny the correctness of the decision made. It might be that they are confident in their choice and find the new company completely suitable, but they find that executive search consultants and companies are still approaching them. This is particularly the case if they were not a passive candidate, but were actively looking for a new challenge.

It is also true that the more interesting the opportunity the greater the likelihood that executives might be tempted to at least attend an exploratory conversation. The latter scenario is not unusual in itself, but when an executive continues to remain unconvinced that their new position is suited to them we have to consider how we could have addressed this situation before they actually joined.

There is also the possibility however that some candidates choose a position with the knowledge that it is unsuited to them. The last possibility is that after joining a candidate realises that the company culture just does not suit them or that the reality of the role is not how it was described.

Whatever the candidate's motivation might be, the cost of unsuitable hires is quite substantial; not to mention damaging for the executive in question.

In light of the above, the role of the Talent Manager and the executive search consultant, remains important in the hiring process. It is their responsibility to accurately manage the candidate's expectations and to determine their motivation at the interview phases. Once the candidate is onboard however a keen interest in their adjustment should be a priority - this could take the form of a formal induction programme, but it could also be a coach that familiarises the candidate with the ins and outs of the company.

As TRANSEARCH consultants we take pride in our commitment to the integration of the candidate and keep in regular contact with both parties for at least the first six months of employment. As a third party we are often able to act as mentors and external HR-experts, listening to claims and fears of candidates while understanding the needs and requirements of the client.

To discuss our wide-ranging approach to leadership acquisition and management assessment find a TRANSEARCH consultant by expertise, region and country.


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.

Effectively Managing CEO Succession

Most corporate boards make two critical mistakes when it comes to CEO succession.

First, their boards fail to make it a continuous point of discussion, and so it devolves into a reactive, episodic exercise that typically excludes any semblance of creativity, risk-taking and inclusion.

Second, they fail to understand that CEO succession is the business process most subject to internal and external influence, politics, ego and reputation building.

Over the years, numerous studies have revealed that a surprisingly high number of global corporations lack a formal, ongoing plan for CEO succession. Others don't even have a crisis plan for dealing with an emergency involving immediate succession for the CEO - the proverbial "hit by a bus" contingency plan.

Correcting this requires actual board governance, and a demonstration of the board's serious intent to institutionalise CEO succession discussions on the board meeting agenda, make it a priority and do more than pay the topic lip service.

Boards must also realise just how influenced CEO succession is by their member Directors, by the outgoing CEO, by candidates for the role, current executives, executive search consultants and other advisors, such as those who perform board evaluations.

For this reason, the board must ensure it doesn't cede control by handing the process over entirely to any one of these parties. Rather, it must orchestrate a process that is inclusive yet one that also clearly defines the contributions and roles of each party.

CEO succession is clearly a case of quality in, quality out. You simply can't maximise quality and maximise your succession options when all you can do is scramble to react or simply don't understand all the different influences on the process and the result.


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 Succession Imperative

If you don't have the leadership you need, regardless of what else works, you still don't have much. As for a crisis, it might not - as has often been suggested - create leaders but it lets you know about the capability of the ones you have.

The leadership challenge describes a talent management system with a good many moving parts:

  • The capacity to attract talent
  • The talent acquisition process
  • Executive integration
  • Performance management
  • Leadership development
  • Building great teams
  • Traditional and tech-enabled teaching/training
  • Coaching/mentoring
  • Expediting the organisation's diversity and inclusion goals

And at the centre of that system, the straw that stirs the drink? The organisation's approach to succession. If talent management is the vehicle that supports business longevity, succession - an often misconceived, misaligned and misunderstood process - is its engine. It is a critical investment that you cannot afford to get wrong.

The narrative around succession is, invariably, drawn to big jobs with big companies. The reality is that every poor succession decision destroys value. In family businesses this is especially the case. Unfortunately, the evidence demonstrates that organisations don't exactly excel at succession.

Ultimately, the true measure of a leader isn't what they achieve while in office - it's what they leave behind. That even after the heaviest storm … you can still clearly see their footprints in the sand.

Insights from "It's Time To Rethink Succession".


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.

Are You Suffering From Job Application And Burnout Syndrome?
bluesteps.com

It may sometimes be challenging to distinguish between being on a fool-hardy mission-impossible job search or a righteously tenacious fight against the odds in pursuit of an awesome executive opportunity.

Are you continuously spinning the job application wheel until you reach job search fatigue without getting anywhere? If so, you may be suffering from what Rainer Morita calls Job Application Burnout Syndrome (JABS).

This article sheds light on what it is and how to avoid or overcome JABS.

Read "Are You Suffering From Job Application And Burnout Syndrome?" leadership insights

The Psychedelic Medicine Renaissance: A Movement Looking For The Right Leaders
home.bedfordgroup.com

In the cresting Psychedelic Medicine industry, it will fall to a particular quality of leader to keep things trending upwards and marching forward, while avoiding potential and predictable hazards.

So, what are some of the qualities that will distinguish the leaders we need? What type of person can help turn the growing interest in Psychedelic Medicine into an era-defining industry?

Here is a list of the five top core competencies required in psychedelic medicine industry leaders.

Read "The Psychedelic Medicine Renaissance: A Movement Looking For The Right Leaders" leadership insights

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