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

Virtual Employment: Don't Assume One Size Fits All
bedfordgroup.com

The COVID-19 crisis has changed, indelibly, our assumptions about leadership, the nature of work, what it means to be an employee, the hiring process and business travel/training. It has also shaken the very pillars of the so-called 'modern organisation'. When large numbers of employees are asked to work remotely we are redefining both the organisation's culture and what it means to be an organisation.

With today's challenge in mind, John Burdett outlines a simple workforce matrix to segment the work population and highlights five central questions that, as you come down the COVID-19 mountain, are worthy of reflection.

Read "Virtual Employment: Don't Assume One Size Fits All" leadership insights

Five TOP leadership competencies

"The shortage of talent"

It's a pretty good bet that, as you read this, somewhere in your competitor's camp there is an ongoing conversation about the qualities that describe tomorrow's leadership. Be it talent acquisition, succession, identifying high potential talent and/or shaping the investment in leadership, one thing is assured … tomorrow will not be a continuation of today.

We commonly see references to "the shortage of talent." Paradoxically, there is no shortage of talent. The growing number of business schools around the world, combined with the billions of dollars spent globally on leadership development means that there is actually a surfeit of candidates. The problem? The vast majority of those candidates are a great fit for a business environment that served us well in the past.

TOP Talent

A more integrated, faster and, by a quantum step, more complex business environment demands not just a new way to think and act but a new definition of "leadership success." Exponential change fuelled by ongoing leaps in technology … exacerbated by unprecedented disruption on a global scale … is, indelibly, redefining what is meant by the term "TOP Talent."

As we move into unchartered territory - where only those organisations that are fast, flat, flexible, focused and fertile (to new ideas) will survive - TOP (Transforming, Outstanding, Performance tested) Talent refers to those fully equipped to excel in a, hitherto unknown, level of business and societal uncertainty.

TOP leadership competencies

Other than know-how in technology, which is a given, leadership competencies differ depending upon the role. This emphasises the need to develop "role-specific" leadership competencies. Generic competencies have value, e.g., the broad leadership development agenda, but they are less than useful, however, when making hiring and succession decisions. That understood, five TOP leadership competencies are emerging as having future primacy:

  • A Passion to Learn
  • Leadership Reach
  • Comfort with Ambiguity
  • Resilience
  • Culture Savvy

In a world dominated by ideas, a move from cooperation to collaboration is essential - and inevitable. The environment and a new generation dominating the workplace mean that tribal loyalty will, of necessity, give way to a stronger sense of community. A community mindset, meanwhile, ushers in the dominance of stakeholder capital. How does your team make a difference in people's lives?

Although many are served by a more defused definition, "employee engagement" is about building a culture where opportunity and capability are aligned. To that end, any falloff in the fit between the speed of change in the business environment and a sense of personal growth - a perceived lack of currency in the job market - will quickly disillusion those the organisation most wants to retain. Why do your best people stay?

Finally, the fallibility of strategy means that, rather than being the by-product of a singular, linear direction, the organisation's culture must enable a range of potential future options to unfold. Becoming comfortable with being uncomfortable becomes the new norm.

Insights by John Burdett. Orxestra Inc., © 2018.

Insights from "Tomorrow's Leadership Will Be Different".

The Challenge for Global Leaders and Learners

The challenge for global leaders and learners (those terms should almost be synonymous) is to learn how to adapt to changing business currents and how to selectively engage the experience and insights that have served us well in the past while embracing new knowledge and a new sense of open-mindedness for whatever comes next.

Part of this new playbook for professional and managerial growth is to make some well thought out investments in the next generation of leaders who may, sooner perhaps than you might have previously imagined, be successors to some of the most pivotal roles in your enterprise. Perhaps even yours!

You see, mentoring, encouraging and acting to promote promising younger stars in our modern-day, highly interconnected global organisations is not only part of the chemistry for future growth we need to achieve ambitious goals, but also the means through which we see business opportunities through a different lens and build the internal support for seizing them.

Insights from "Providing Opportunities for Next Generation Leaders".

3 Key Lessons Learned From Covid-19
transearchusa.com

TRANSEARCH USA surveyed nearly 100 companies in 10 diverse sectors to assess the response of American companies to the sea of changes triggered by the pandemic. Chris Swan and John Ryan present key findings to help you learn what your company can do to conquer the crisis and emerge stronger than before.

Key results:

  • 50% of employees will continue to work from home post-pandemic.
  • More than 45% of respondents want their leaders to improve Emotional Intelligence skills.
  • 30% of organisations will focus on attracting new talent after the pandemic.
  • The top three 'human capital priorities' will be improving organisational agility and flexibility, retaining current talent and succession plans.

Read "3 Key Lessons Learned From Covid-19" leadership insights

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

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.

Culture is the often overlooked, all-pervasive, enterprise-wide, organisational DNA

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

The essential supporting pillars of culture are:

  1. Mission (why do we do what we do?)
  2. Diversity (diversity fuels innovation)
  3. Brand (why buy from us?)
  4. Speed (Focus - Anticipation - Simplicity - Technology)

The four pillars are braced by the organisation's values. Culture and values frame the context - the cultural canvas. The most forceful elements on that canvas being:

  • Vision and strategy;
  • Measurement and rewards;
  • The talent management system (e.g., who gets hired and/or promoted, the leadership development agenda); and,
  • Technology (quickly becoming an irresistible force).

All of the elements described come together to shape the organisation's story. You are your story. Culture is story and story is culture!

Insights from "The 7 Questions Every CEO Should Ask About Culture" by John Burdett

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.