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".

Know What You Are Looking For - Making Talent Acquisition a Competitive Advantage

The critical dimensions of fit

Talent acquisition is ultimately about managing risk. Risk, in turn, is about fit. There are five critical dimensions of fit:

  1. Fit with the organisation's values.
  2. Culture fit - this implies measurement of today's culture and the culture the organisation needs to be successful in the future.
  3. Performance fit - building a scorecard for the role.
  4. Leadership fit - role-specific competencies.
  5. Team fit - this demands a meaningful assessment of the team.

Even if you are driving a Ferrari; if one of the four wheels and/or the steering wheel is missing … you are not going to go very far.

The organisation's values represent the CEO's and, by implication, the leadership point of view of the top team. The challenge being that although many organisations proport to have robust organisation values for perhaps the majority they amount to little more than window dressing. Where the organisation's values are either absent or only of secondary importance the default action is to shape behaviour by introducing "rules." Rules not only ensure that even simple decisions take longer to make but they quickly become enforceable boundaries that those who are interested in protecting "turf" are quick to erect.

For a measure of the team, see John O. Burdett, TEAM: Align, Build, Connect & Develop (2015). The "Taking Your Team to the Next Level" Assessment looks at the team through four distinct lenses:

  1. What does the team need to know?
  2. How effective is the team leader?
  3. Where and how can those on the team become better team players?
  4. What does the team need to do to accelerate through the performance/learning curve?

Leadership competencies

Generic leadership competencies answer the question, "What does it mean to be a successful leader in this organisation?" Role-specific leadership competencies answer the question, "What does it mean to be a successful leader in this role?" There is a time and place for improvisation and informed guesswork. That said, an apt definition might describe such a behaviour as "gambling." Defining success in a key role that has just become open isn't the time to wager a bet. A miss-hire can easily end up costing 15 times or even 20 times the annual salary. This is to say nothing of the opportunity cost, the disruption to the team and/or those times when hiring a key executive amounts to betting the business.

Somewhere in orchestrating fit a new reality emerges. For the first time since the birth of the Industrial Revolution, the team has truly become the building block of organisational success. The network organisation, the power of expertise, the speed of change, the need to release the creativity and talent of employees at every level, the portability of talent, and that innovation is indelibly linked to diversity and the freedom to act, all mean that we need super teams far more than superstars.

President Teddy Roosevelt suggested that leadership meant, "Talking softly and carrying a big stick." The only reason a team leader should carry a big stick today is to strike themselves sharply around the head, if for a moment they forgets that they work for the team … not that the team works for them.

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

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

The Key Challenges and Opportunities in Human Resources - A Study by TRANSEARCH Romania

"Never let a good crisis go to waste" as Winston Churchill famously said. COVID-19 and the impact on people, operations and business give us an impetus to develop fresh ideas in Human Resources and to review Leadership Skills.

During the last weeks we received valuable feedback from our clients and candidates; their approach to the ongoing changes, and how they intend to come out of this crisis even stronger!

We are delighted to share our findings with you. The original survey was conducted distributing a questionnaire; to over 300 CEOs, Managing Directors and Human Resources Managers in Romania and across Europe.

Key Findings:

  • Maintaining efficiency while working from home
  • Maintaining motivation and engagement
  • Improving organization's agility and flexibility
  • Leading through change with an entrepreneurial spirit underpinned by emotional intelligence
  • Need for profiles in Automatization/Robotics, Digitalization and Transformation/Change

For more information please visit TRANSEARCH International Romania on LinkedIn.

Critical talent management actions

Talent management is a system within a system: the organisation's culture. Get talent management wrong and the organisation's culture will be misaligned with the customer's emerging needs. Critical talent management actions to turn the organisation's talent management approach into a competitive advantage include:

  • Leadership development
  • Coaching
  • Mentoring
  • Storytelling
  • Performance management
  • Succession and replacement
  • Talent acquisition
  • Team excellence

Tomorrow, of necessity, talent management will be about resilience, reinvention and recognising that the ideal organisation design reflects how, given a choice, people would choose to work together. Investing in the most efficient way to develop talent, putting muscle behind the succession process and, generally, building a cadre of leadership talent, will allow your business to survive and thrive in turbulent times.

Insights from "Future-Oriented Leadership Competencies: Today's Talent Management Lynchpin" by John Burdett, Leadership advisor to TRANSEARCH International.

Where the interviewee is truly a top candidate both parties are being fully evaluated

Where the interviewee is truly a top candidate both parties are being fully evaluated. As a recruiter, there are candidate questions that you must know how to answer. Although by no means replete, in some ways, the 10 questions outlined are an acid test of how prepared you are for the turbulent talent management path that lies ahead.

10 candidate questions from "Great Candidates Ask Great Questions"

Insights from "Great Candidates Ask Great Questions" by John Burdett.

Bringing on board great candidates draws on six fundamental hiring building blocks

Uncovering, informing, involving, inspiring and successfully bringing on board great candidates draws on six fundamental, hiring building blocks:

  1. A winning hiring value proposition. People do not join your organisation … they connect with your story.
  2. The means to define (measure) both the organisation culture you have and the culture you need. Successful recruitment is always strategic!
  3. A robust performance scorecard.
  4. The means to define the emerging role-specific leadership competencies.
  5. In that tomorrow's organisation will be a team of teams, the tools to measure and assess future team fit.
  6. An integration process that provides the structure, support and the tools to enable newly hired executives to take a leadership role in their own integration. Given the opportunity, leaders lead!

Insights from "Great Candidates Ask Great Questions" by John Burdett.

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.

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

Talent management is a system within a system: the organisation's culture

Talent management is a system within a system: the organisation's culture. Get talent management wrong and the organisation's culture will be misaligned with the customer's emerging needs.

Tomorrow, of necessity, talent management will be about resilience, reinvention and recognising that the ideal organisation design reflects how, given a choice, people would choose to work together.

Talent management is ultimately about hard data and tough choices – who to hire and promote, investing in the most efficient and fastest way to develop talent, putting muscle behind the succession process and, generally, building a cadre of leadership talent that will allow the business to survive and thrive in turbulent times.

If you can't imagine it, you won't reach it. If you don't measure it, you can't manage it. Strive to develop tomorrow's leadership competencies with purpose, precision, pragmatism and no little passion.

Insights from "Future-Oriented Leadership Competencies: Today's Talent Management Lynchpin" by John Burdett, Leadership advisor to TRANSEARCH International.

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.