Great Organisations Are Built Around Great Teams
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Leadership, as it must be, is strategic. It's to step back, see the big picture and, to the extent possible, create tomorrow in the room, today. Covid is but one piece of a chaotic and ever changing political, economic, societal, business and interconnected leadership puzzle. At the centre of all of this is 'the team' … a basic and fundamental blueprint for organisational and personal success.

What follows is intended as a practical guide for:

  1. Setting the scene for a virtual team.
  2. A new or established leader who needs to take the team to the next level.
  3. The executive who feels that, as the organisation navigates the turbulent waters of change, the team is losing its impact.
  4. The HR executive, division head or external recruitment specialist (e.g., the executive search consultant) who, in orchestrating team fit, needs to understand the team they are hiring into.
  5. A manager or external resource faced with the challenge of coaching the team.

Read "Great Organisations Are Built Around Great Teams" leadership insights

The Way of the Dolphin Webinar by John O. Burdett

In a post COVID world, organisational agility isn't something that is a 'nice to have.' It becomes more imperative as we realise the next Black Swan event might be just around the corner. Agility must be embedded into every aspect of the organisation's culture and must be integral to the organisation's design. It should be evident in the organisation's value proposition and must be evident in every customer touchpoint.

More than anything, agility is a way to think, it's a mindset, and as such, without 'leadership' you still don't have much. The type of leadership required exudes, encompasses, encourages, and expresses agility in everything the leader does. Which leads us to the 'The Way of the Dolphin'.

Leading the webinar is John O. Burdett, who has worked in over 40 countries as an executive and as a consultant for businesses that are household names. He has worked on, and continues to work on, leadership development and organisation culture, for some of the world's largest corporations. John has published 14 best-selling books on leadership, many of which can be downloaded from all the major online bookstores or by contacting your local TRANSEARCH office for a copy.


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.

Searching For The Agile And Proven Leader

A special breed of leader

Global corporations are looking for a special breed of leader. Strategic priorities are framing ever more specialised requirements for new executive hires and the selective upgrading of existing management roles. Superior executive talent is increasingly seen as an important lever to calibrate investment in new markets, new products and new innovations.

With existing management teams stretched to capacity, the time has come to reinvest in high performers and to attract the kind of proven leaders who can effectively lead and inspire others while shouldering the pressure of increased performance expectations. Most companies are unwilling to place large bets on untested managers. Many are already searching for richly experienced leaders with a track record of making tough decisions that improve the bottom line.

Global business leaders in today's economic environment generally agree that, at least for the foreseeable future, business decisions will need to be made faster, teams will need to collaborate more effectively than ever, and data needs to inform decisions, not limit them. Today's search for business results is a search for both experience and agility.

Adjust, adapt and change course as and when necessary

Today's business mantra suggests that one thing is certain: leaders will be faced with more volatility, uncertainty, change, and ambiguities than they have faced before. This explains why there is such a large premium on the right mix of leadership experience and specialised know-how. Yet it is agility - the capacity to move quickly and easily through a potential minefield of business challenges - that is mounting in importance when it comes to finding and attracting business leaders who can make an immediate, as well as lasting impact.

The capacity to be open-minded enough to consider the full implications of their decisions and their interactions with colleagues, subordinates and customers is a critical leadership trait. Mental agility requires top leaders to abandon cognitive rigidity and absorb the full panoply of solutions to problems, especially those they have not encountered before.

While businesses around the world charge toward improved performance and results, they must demonstrate a willingness to test prospective new hires' true agility. After all, as the world we've known for so long changes so quickly around us, the very best executives will show they have what it takes to adjust, adapt and change course as and when necessary - and know when to stick to their convictions.


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.

Productivity And Positivity Are Keys To Reaching Your Goals

Economic challenges and lacking corporate resources are enough to frustrate even the best-laid business plans - and the best global leaders.

Yet that reality is nothing new to executives the world over who've faced difficult challenges - perhaps defining or redefining ones - during the course of the last few years as economic uncertainty and challenging environments have combined to reduce management confidence and investment.

It's time to turn the page

To turn the page requires some level of individual renewal deep within each one of us. It calls us to look to the future for the seeds of opportunity and to purposefully and regularly cast out the doubt that has at times paralysed our decision-making process or clouded our view so much as to render any meaningful strategic planning useless.

Global leaders must seize on every single day to find not only their highest and most rewarding calling, but to manage the demands on their time and focus so they can elevate or maintain their own personal productivity at the highest levels possible.

The alchemy of reaching your business and career goals is the combination of that productivity with a healthy measure of optimism and positivity, no matter what the world might throw at us in the months to come.

Productivity and positivity matter

A positive attitude coupled with an enterprising or promising outlook can endear today's global executive to their teams, colleagues and peers. To be the source of positive expressions about the things we can control might well serve others as much as ourselves. If difficulty is inevitable, it's up to the leader to enlist the support of colleagues and friends and explain why it's a test worth the best of every person around us. We can choose to shrink from it, or rise to it.

To do the latter, we must accept our circumstances and commit to improving them, through a combination of hard work, commitment, support for one another in the work environment, and a positive, uplifting attitude that inspires others.

If we can find new ways to be more productive and face new challenges with optimism and confidence, we may just find the pathway to achieving what's next in our organisations and for our careers.


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.

Replacing Fear With Fortitude
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As one considers the existence of fear as part of everyday humanity, and the need to overcome it to achieve maximum human and organisational performance, it is striking that so many leaders who have come before us have focused so consistently on fear as an obstacle to success.

Consider the influence of fear on how you behave, how you lead, what you say and how you interact with others. You may just find that fears are holding you back, and if not, all the more time for you to help others acknowledge and address their own fears.

Read "Replacing Fear With Fortitude" leadership insights

Bedford/TRANSEARCH Hybrid Workplace Whitepaper 2021
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Remote work is here to stay. Wherever you fall on the Venn diagram of attitudes to the remote office, that much we can agree on.

Whether our instincts are to push back on it, lean into it, or dance around the edges — that cat is out of the bag. Going forward, every organisation will have to contend with at least one singular, intractable market reality — a workforce that knows just how much is achievable and sustainable from one end of a Zoom conference or Slack group.

Executive leaders are going to have to navigate this reality and accept that the right way forward may look like nothing we've ever seen before.

Read "Bedford/TRANSEARCH Hybrid Workplace Whitepaper 2021" leadership insights

Holding Firm In The Storm, Aligning For The Future
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Now more than ever before, leadership in any business management function beckons leaders to lead.

These are the times that test the relationships we, as leaders, have built with employees, with peers and business partners. Everything we put into these will now be summoned as people look for trust and support in others in trying times.

Read "Holding Firm In The Storm, Aligning For The Future" leadership insights

Picking Leaders, Teams and Networks

Today's search for game-changing executive leadership talent extends far beyond a hunt for the right CEO, Vice President, Country Manager or Managing Director.

With the pressure for performance so high, any enterprise seeking a capable change agent, innovator or exceptional visionary would be wise to consider that the global business climate not only demands the best leaders, but those with experience inspiring their organisations to achieve great things, attracting high performance teams and building superior peer and industry networks.

There is a new chemistry of organisational success, and its genesis lays in the recognition that as individuals, we can only accomplish so much, but as leaders and catalysts and stimulators of great connections and relationships with employees, customers and industry influencers alike, big and bold things can take flight.

In fact, the sooner we dispose of the mythical 'Superhuman', the faster many of our businesses can move on to what's really important. And that is recognising that we need executive management leaders capable of fanning the flames of innovation, human performance and strategic vision and constantly aligning them to gain and keep a competitive edge.

The task of renewing our organisations, therefore, is much more about picking leaders and the teams and networks they can access and far less about pinning our hopes - and those of shareholders - on just one leader's ability to gain market share, increase sales and improve profitability.

Of course, the very best leaders already know how vital it is to have the right people on board and to continually stoke their personal and professional networks to get ahead. This requires a sense of humility and a willingness to accept that the best answers to a tricky business problem may reside in someone else's head or literally outside the walls of the organisation.

So the next time you interview a key potential leader for your enterprise, don't just ask about what they've done. Instead, explore more deeply how their decisions about people and their networking activities and commitment are magnifying and multiplying what they alone can bring to your table.


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.

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.

Maybe The Most Important Executive Skill Set Of All

You've probably sat in that especially uncomfortable chair, just at that awkward moment when it becomes apparent that no one in the room really believes what the leader is saying anymore.

While this portends a bad end for the leader, the enterprise and perhaps to several people in that same room, its impact is matched just as negatively when the leader - failing to see how their vision, behaviour and message is failing to inspire - drones on or pursues a doomed strategy without the real, genuine support of others on the management team.

Sure, some members of the team will nod their approval or 'go along to get along,' but underneath, they may seethe with disgust and disappointment and may effectively disengage as they begin to seek out their own best exit strategy.

What this case demonstrates is that a leader's own sense of self, their emotional intelligence and sense for how the message is resonating - or falling flat - among others is of paramount import when it comes to picking, evaluating and replacing top executive leaders.

The leader who fails to recognise when things have already begun to go badly, the one who fails to see how their shortcomings are impacting the team, and anyone who fails to recognise the ripple effect of executive behaviours good and bad is to be avoided at all costs.

The leader we all seek, rather, is the one who is contemplative when serious issues arise and action-oriented when it comes to finding or creating a solution, or at the very least, a temporary patch until a real long-term answer can be surfaced. Part of this requires the leader to ask how their message is getting through, to be self-reflective and at times, self-critical.

When leaders pause to question whether their messages and visions and grand strategies are really getting through the enterprise, they learn something about their teams and about themselves at the same time.


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.

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.

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.

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