Finding world-class talent requires a partnership with a trusted outside advisor. Visit TRANSEARCH International to discover our wide-ranging approach to leadership acquisition.

What Value Creation Should You Expect From an Executive Search Provider?

Taking talent acquisition to the next level

In a world marked by speed of change, doing what we have always done, better (value added) ... is not enough. The right search partner will deliver the ideas, capability and experience to help you take talent acquisition to the next level.

Without access to best practice, forging new ways to think becomes an uphill battle. Without new questions learning is limited. Where successful role models are missing, our extraordinary ability to copy what works cannot kick in. And when thought leadership is little more than "a consulting label" creating tomorrow today becomes a bridge too far. There is clearly a good deal to gain, therefore, from working with best-in-class, external resources.

7 critical areas of distinct value

At a minimum, in addition to sector expertise and international capability, the search provider must deliver distinct value in seven critical areas:

  1. Bring creativity and flair when it comes to attracting top talent.
  2. Help the client "measure" the culture they have today (roots) and the culture the organisation needs moving forward (wings).
  3. Leading-edge tools to build a robust, balanced scorecard for the position.
  4. Develop role-specific competencies for the role in question.
  5. Provide a meaningful process to determine team fit. As with culture, this implies measurement.
  6. Coach inexperienced line managers in how to conduct the interview.
  7. Bring support and appropriate tools to the integration process, and that means a good deal more than the perfunctory call to see if the newly hired candidate is doing okay.

The organisation's story underscores a successful hiring value proposition. Central to that story are the hiring organisation's values. Unfortunately, although the majority of organisations claim to have "organisation values," in many instances, they amount to little more than window dressing. To "win" top talent over even a great story may not be enough. A best-in-class search professional draws out why high performers stay and leverages that insight to inspire the candidate who is happy where they are.

The approach to measuring culture needs to reflect the context. By way of example, an organisation confronting transformational change faces a very different challenge to that of a successful business seeking to better manage the culture they have. It is also important - and especially so in talent acquisition - that the approach describes the cultural journey in business terms.

You can't manage what you don't measure. Talent acquisition devoid of a robust measure of the culture the organisation needs to compete tomorrow … amounts to little more than the hiring executive's "best guess." For a unique and compelling measure of organisation culture see - The A-Z Of Organization Culture. John O. Burdett (2017).

Developing role-specific competencies implies a library of relevant and up-to-date leadership competencies. It also means a proven leadership model that ensures that the competencies identified deliver "leadership balance." For a measure of leadership balance, see John O. Burdett, Attract, Select, Develop & Retain TALENT (2013). Balance denotes fit in four critical leadership areas:

  1. Direction,
  2. Discipline of Delivery,
  3. Development of people, and
  4. Day-to-day Dialogue.

This simple leadership template is the outcome of asking 15,000 leaders in 40 countries, "What do you NEED from a leader?" It is framed in The Orxestra® Methodology: the head (direction); the hand (delivery); the heart (development of people); and the spirit (day-to-day dialogue).

The best candidate vs. the right candidate

Talent acquisition cannot thrive in a vacuum. It's an integral part of the overall talent management system. If you hire great people and coaching is a hard-to-find skill, assume a higher attrition rate than might be expected. If "succession" is poorly thought through expect to go outside for talent more often than is good for the organisation's health. And if the leadership development agenda is found wanting, know that over-hiring for virtually every position will be a given.

The implications are profound. When the seven dimensions of distinct value (offered by the executive search provider) are either missing or short-changed and where the search is delivered as a tactical "replacement" - not as strategic and integral to the client's overall talent management system - the inevitable, default outcome is to hire the best and not the right candidate.

Uncovering the best candidate is, essentially, a beauty contest. It's the corporate version of the popular NBC talent show America's Got Talent. If they look and sound good, give them a ticket to Vegas. On the other hand, finding the right candidate is a matchless investment in building tomorrow's leadership bench strength … today.

Building a BRAND mindset

For many service providers business development is perceived as a kind of wrestling match … where the next sale, overcoming objections and asking for the order become the name of the game.

Delivering all of the elements of fit, landing the right candidate is predicated on a supplier/client relationship that goes beyond "winning the sale." It speaks of a trust-based partnership where long-term success is based on the search provider understanding the client's emerging business need as well as the client does. It defines a way to work where making the client's business better always takes precedence. It builds on a mindset where BRAND means Better Results And No Disappointment.

Successful business development ultimately draws on one simple question, "What do we have to do to ensure that the client views us not as a supplier but as truly part of their team?

Finding world-class talent requires a partnership with a trusted outside advisor. Visit TRANSEARCH International to discover our wide-ranging approach to leadership acquisition and development.

Insights by John Burdett. Orxestra Inc., © 2019.

Insights from "Talent Acquisition - The Battle For Tomorrow".

Coming Down The Mountain - It's All Mindset Webinar
transearch.com

You hear it all the time: "success is a state of mind." Have you ever wondered how two leaders can go after the same goal in the same way and yet just one of them succeeds? Is it sheer luck? Timing? Perseverance?

The webinar explores 7 mindset themes:

  1. Crisis, culture and the central role of mindset plays
  2. Can you change mindset?
  3. Mental rehearsal
  4. We are copying machines
  5. Storytelling
  6. The importance of language and metaphor
  7. Changing the patterns of play

The session is presented by John O. Burdett, who has worked in over 40 countries as an executive and as a consultant for businesses that are household names.

Read "Coming Down The Mountain - It's All Mindset Webinar" leadership insights

The Culture Conversation Webinar
transearch.com

In working to come out of this crisis stronger, organisation culture is a leading actor - many leaders would suggest, the dominant issue - in creating a competitive tomorrow. The webinar explores 7 critical issues:

  1. Why a focus on organisation culture is a leadership imperative - especially now.
  2. The "needed" relationship between strategy and culture.
  3. Speed of learning - the ultimate competitive advantage.
  4. Overcoming the single most important reason executives fail.
  5. Culture, measurement and the bottom line.
  6. Culture is a system. The unintended consequences of a piecemeal approach.
  7. The essential building blocks of the culture conversation.

Read "The Culture Conversation Webinar" leadership insights

Seven Surprises for New CEOs
hbr.org

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.

Read "Seven Surprises for New CEOs" leadership insights

If you are not fast, you are going to be last!

As the momentum of business both increases and accelerates, a culture where learning how to learn becomes a high priority. And it is not just learning fast at an individual or team level but building an environment where speed of learning becomes an organisation-wide competitive advantage.

Consider the questions below.

  1. What needs to change to be flat, fast, focused, flexible and fertile to new ideas?
  2. How will compelling metaphors be introduced to coaching discussions?
  3. What would it take to architect leadership workshops as 'learning how to learn and learning how to learn limited only by imagination'?
  4. In future meetings what are you going to do to change the patterns of play?
  5. Do you measure culture? When and how will you make that happen?
  6. How successful are you in displaying behaviour in line with who the customer strives to become?
  7. How is 'speed of learning' woven into hire and promotion decisions?

If you are not fast, you are going to be last!

Insights from 'Speed of Learning: The Ultimate Competitive Advantage' by John Burdett.

Facilitation is like skiing. Preparation, practice and picking the right line are essential

Facilitation is like skiing. Preparation, practice and picking the right line are essential. In other words, know your audience, know the outcome desired, and introduce a facilitation approach (style) that best fits the situation.

John Burdett outlines four facilitation styles. One size doesn't fit all. A masterful facilitator sees the four approaches as a rich pallet of behaviours to be mixed, matched and blended as the situation demands.

Insights from "Facilitation - the Forgotten Art" by John Burdett.

Excellence in facilitation shares much with what it means to be an outstanding coach

Few companies teach facilitation as part of their leadership development agenda. And yet, if we want collaboration, if we want to grow teams, if we want to challenge talent in a meaningful way … being able to get the best out of meeting of minds becomes pretty important.

Excellence in facilitation shares much with what it means to be an outstanding coach:

  • Humility
  • Conduct with a hidden baton but don't start to play any of the instruments
  • Come with a beginner's mind … be open to being surprised
  • Pass power to the participants
  • Ask great questions
  • Push for clarity around what the real issue is but avoid suggesting potential solutions
  • Listen, listen, listen
  • Summarise what has been agreed to
  • Push for objective action regarding next steps

Good luck on your next opportunity to facilitate. It is one of the most difficult but at the same time rewarding leadership skills. Remember, from a career perspective, bringing the best out of a group session is something of a forgotten art.

Insights from "Facilitation - the Forgotten Art" by John Burdett.

Choosing a CEO of the USA - POTUS?
transearchusa.com

Selecting a leader to steer a country is an important decision, but it can be hard to make the right decision with all the opinions and hyperbole humming around us. In our work, we talk a lot about de-risking the selection process and thus shrinking the costs of a miss-hire.

Chris Swan asks what skills and abilities it takes to be a successful President of the United States (POTUS) and how voters (deciders) may evaluate presidential candidates. Chris suggests eight ideas to consider, framed by the four leadership sections developed by John Burdett:

  1. Direction - How a candidate sets the direction for the organisation.
  2. Delivery - How a candidate delivers with discipline in the direction.
  3. Development - The character and emotional range that runs through a candidate.
  4. Day-to-Day Dialogue - How a candidate communicates these ideas to others.

Read "Choosing a CEO of the USA - POTUS?" leadership insights

There is one fact of life that is impossible to ignore – tomorrow will be (very) different

There is one fact of life that is impossible to ignore – tomorrow will be (very) different. More specifically, the rate of change is getting faster – and about to get much faster. Being faster, however, is ultimately all about how people learn. It's a matter of adapt or perish.

How and what we learn is a product of the:

  • Nature of the experience,
  • Mental model (metaphor, theory, hypothesis, conceptual template) used to access the learning,
  • Quality of the questions posed,
  • Time set aside for reflection, and
  • Follow-up.

Ultimately, an investment in learning is about orchestrating change. In pursuit of that goal, learning starts with the experience. And it's not just learning fast at an individual or team level but building an environment where speed of learning becomes an organisation-wide competitive advantage.

If you're not fast, you're going to be last!

Insights from "Speed of Learning: The Ultimate Competitive Advantage" by John Burdett, Leadership advisor to TRANSEARCH International.

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.