Employ the Head, Empower the Hand, Engage the Heart, and Enrich the Spirit (Part 2)

Why leadership balance is a business imperative

We have asked 10,000 + leaders, in over twenty-five countries, a simple question:

"What are the qualities of the best leader you have ever worked for?"

Two key results emerge.

First, successful leaders empower the head; enable the hand; engage the heart; and enrich the spirit. Lack of attention (or capability) in any one domain and team members/subordinates are short-changed on all four. It matters not, for example, that you have a great strategy (head) if execution (hand) is found wanting.

The second insight speaks to leadership balance (coherence). Balance describes performance excellence in each of the four domains. It is also about how those domains combine. Specifically, how the head and hand; the hand and heart; the heart and spirit; and the spirit and head come together.

HEAD & HAND - The Hunting Ground:

  • Theme: if you don't win today there will be no tomorrow.
  • Actions: clear direction, the drive to win, customer focus, a differentiated value proposition, the discipline of delivery.
  • Mindset: it's fun to win.
  • Greatest potential disruption: lack of focus.
  • Balance: without the head and hand, know that your future will be shaped by missed targets.

HAND & HEART - Breaking New Ground:

  • Theme: doing what you have always done is a mandate for mediocrity.
  • Actions: growth, stretch, business development, cost savings, continuous improvement, technology, redefining process, putting new learning into practice.
  • Mindset: getting better every day, in every way.
  • Greatest potential disruption: assumptions that competitive advantage has an extended shelf-life.
  • Balance: without the hand and heart the status quo will inevitably rule.

HEART & SPIRIT - The Playground:

  • Theme: if you don't grow the talent base you can't grow the business.
  • Actions: pushing the boundaries, learning at the edge, teamwork, coaching, mentoring, collaboration, leadership of self, authenticity, caring.
  • Mindset: how you learn is at least as important as what you learn.
  • Greatest potential disruption: a bully in the playground.
  • Balance: without the heart and spirit expect to always be short of top talent.

SPIRIT & HEAD - Moving To Higher Ground:

  • Theme: tomorrow's marketplace will be different. Count on it!
  • Actions: rethinking possibility, forging a new direction, succession, innovation, risk, emotional buy-in, commitment, letting go.
  • Mindset: entrepreneurial.
  • Greatest potential disruption: lack of succession.
  • Balance: without the spirit and the head, know that you are passing the baton of opportunity to the competition.

Inspirational leadership

It's not enough for the leader to communicate where we are heading. Gaining buy-in has to draw on language, imagery and story. To inspire is to make tomorrow's success come alive in the room today. If you can imagine it, you can implement it. If you can see it, you can be it. To inspire, the leader has to believe and convey with every strand of their DNA, not that this needs to happen – but that it will happen.

It's not enough to push for development and growth. To inspire, the leader has to display a personal passion for learning. Leaders are readers. They give full reign to their own sense of curiosity and draw it out in others. They see resilience not as bouncing back after a setback but learning from the experience and, as a result, being better equipped than ever. They build great teams. They ask great questions and, in doing so, transform what is into what can be.

It's not enough that the leader be respected. To inspire, they have to step down from the pedestal, look people in the eye and act in such a way that those they lead know, really know, that they care more about their success than their own. To lead is to care. Caring is step one in engendering trust.

Good leaders will engage some of the team, some of the time. Conversely, it takes a leader who brings leadership balance to the role, who knows how to inspire, who does inspire – to instil a sense of lasting commitment from all of the team. Leaders must lead! Leaders do lead. Are you the leader they need?


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.

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.

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.

Psychedelic Medicine: The First Five Executive Roles To Hire For
home.bedfordgroup.com

Whether you're starting a venture from the ground up or pivoting to something new, the quality of the people driving that momentum will define its success. In an area as new and nuanced as Psychedelic Medicine, getting to the right leadership team needs to be a priority.

The right talent in the exciting and competitive space of Psychedelic Medicine will mark the difference between those ventures that struggle to survive and those that thrive.

Read "Psychedelic Medicine: The First Five Executive Roles To Hire For" leadership insights

Sustainable Leadership: 5 Key Recommendations
sustainableleaders.wixsite.com

5 key recommendations from 53 Senior Executives for a successful journey towards sustainability asks:

  • What motivates small and large companies to strive for sustainable business models?
  • How do companies succeed in their sustainability journey?
  • How do leaders and Human Resources integrate sustainability in their strategy?

To explore these questions, a cross-sectional sample of 53 Senior Executives were interviewed from global companies, NGOs, and consulting firms. Drawn from the interviews are 5 key recommendations:

  • Deeply connect sustainability with your company's purpose
  • Embed sustainability in every strategic goal and boost its impact
  • Do not underestimate the whole transformation journey
  • Place collective intelligence and innovative collaboration models at the core of the transformation
  • Find the right engine to boost the transformation

Learn more about the recommendations.

Read "Sustainable Leadership: 5 Key Recommendations" leadership insights

2020 HR Leaders Survey Results
bedfordgroup.com

In June and December 2020 The Bedford Consulting Group took the opportunity to survey Canadian HR leaders on how they were seeing their respective organisations change and what the lasting impacts might be, focusing on business performance, how we work, culture and leadership trends. The HR survey results provide valuable insight to help you approach and position your organisation for success in 2021 and beyond.

Read "2020 HR Leaders Survey Results" leadership insights

Recruiting, Onboarding & Building a Team in a Virtual World
linkedin.com

A handshake has been the unwritten seal of a deal for centuries. But in this new virtual world, a firm grip signifying 'you are hired' to a new CEO is no longer the norm. In fact, the whole process of recruiting and onboarding top talent has fundamentally changed.

How can organisations and C-suite candidates use the new normal to be successful? Frank Galati, Managing Partner at TRANSEARCH Toronto, describes one candidate's journey.

Read "Recruiting, Onboarding & Building a Team in a Virtual World" leadership insights

The Now, The Next, and The New Normal
aesc.org

"It's important to take lessons out of this rather quickly. So, what can you learn out of this crisis? What can you do? How can you shape your solution? How can you shape your services? How can you shape the sale of your product? This is pretty much something that every single industry or every single client has to think about." - Ullrich Ackermann, Chair of the Board at TRANSEARCH.

Ullrich shares his views on dealing with the ever-evolving status of organisational life, with the AESC.

Read "The Now, The Next, and The New Normal" leadership insights

The Need for Talent Acquisition to be Strategic

The need for talent acquisition to be strategic lies in sharp contrast to simply finding a replacement for the leader who is currently/was most recently in the role. The mystery inside the riddle that lies at the heart of the hiring process is that although there is a veritable army of potential candidates, few amongst those available are TOP (Tested, Outstanding, Performers) talent.

When digital direction, managing complexity, speed of learning, a network-centric mindset and comfort with ambiguity are combined with strategic thinking, financial savvy, results orientation and coaching as performance imperatives, it is truly a case of from the many available … to the few who are truly qualified.

The challenge of finding senior level executives is best met with the support of a firm with a proven track record of success. The tools that TRANSEARCH International use provide a unique perspective regarding culture, leadership, team and performance "fit". And our integration methodology ensures that new leaders are integrated quickly and successfully without breaking stride.

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


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 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.


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.

Developing a New Business Identity
transearch.com

Following the sale of its premier brand, the legacy portfolio of companies that constituted a diversified investment group required a new business identity, a cohesive growth strategy and new leadership to drive results.

This case study highlights how TRANSEARCH helped shape and align organisational cultures across diversified component companies, and found a General Manager with the level of experience and credibility in the finance markets capable of pushing the kind of innovation and cultural transformation required to achieve the group's exciting new business plan.

Read the challenge, action, impact and client perspective of finding an anchor for culture transformation and an important driver of new business expansion.

Read "Developing a New Business Identity" leadership insights

Integrating New Leaders with Virtual Onboarding
bedfordgroup.com

In the current talent environment, doing everything possible to protect your investment in a strategic hire means committing to a strong Leadership Integration process. An effective process provides the framework for defining what success means for a new leader. The specific design parameters for a virtual Leadership Integration program will vary based on the unique features of the organisation and the demands of the role.

Bedford/Teal set out core elements that should be included in a best in class virtual onboarding program, including:

  • Understand their technology needs
  • Ensure onboarding goals are clearly defined
  • Provide a copy/framework of the on-boarding plan
  • Establish a personal reach out process
  • Provide an opportunity to debrief from the recruitment/search process

Read "Integrating New Leaders with Virtual Onboarding" leadership insights