2021 Board and Executive Compensation in the Technology Industry
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Bedford Group/TRANSEARCH today announced publication of the 2021 Executive Compensation Report in the technology industry. This is the company's first annual industry-wide survey of compensation awards and practices of publicly traded North American technology companies.

This report is a precursor to an upcoming 2022 Bedford report that will analyse the compensation awards and practices of small, privately-held technology companies including tech start ups.

Read "2021 Board and Executive Compensation in the Technology Industry" leadership insights

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.

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.

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.

Judging The Quality Of Executive Management

Financial analysts were among the first to express interest in a rating system for the quality of a public company's senior executive management. Governance observers and activist shareholders won't be the last.

As free-market influence continues to shift from institutions to individuals and from manufacturers to end-user consumers, investors and market watchers are tracking executive leadership as never before. After all, in such volatile economic times, everyone's looking for an edge, and everyone's looking for the team of business leaders with all the right stuff to create long-term value.

It's easy to spot the problems and it's easy to spot the leaders and teams that no long-term investor should bank their future on. Yet selecting the right management teams to invest in remains a challenge. That is, unless you boil down the criteria for measuring "quality of management" to one of its most essential elements.

Consider the views of business management writer Tom Peters and American consumer advocate and former presidential candidate Ralph Nader - yes, an odd pairing but one grounded in common views of what companies should produce in addition to products, services and profits.

A quote attributed to Peters goes: "Leaders don't create followers; they create more leaders." And to Nader: "The function of leadership is to produce more leaders, not more followers."

Many people will tell you that it's not difficult to find a Chief Executive Officer who says one thing and does the other. Just read the business headlines in any media on a given day and that statement may be readily reinforced.

The real test - and no small concern for the long-term investor - is whether the Chief Executive Officer of any going business concern has surrounded themselves with an exceptional management team. The strength and performance of a high-performing senior management team is one critical demonstration of organisational potential. A CEO must be both humble and smart enough to realise that the calibre of the people around them will dictate success or failure.

Just as the business leader must carefully choose who is up to the test, so too, should global investors dig down and do their own due diligence on whether enterprise sustainability and competitiveness can rely on superb management bench strength.


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.

When Pushing Your People To Excel Reaches Its Limit

You probably already know - or perhaps even fit - this management type.

You know, the hard-charging Chief Executive who demands a tremendous amount out of their people, and even more of themselves.

If you have worked with and possibly even reported to just such a global leader, you may have found yourself thankful for the experience, humbled by their commitment and personal sacrifice, and changed in some meaningful way because of what they taught you along the way.

For many of us, these behavioural and character traits define the kind of business leader we want to work with and, perhaps, to become after witnessing the success they built and the fun they allowed themselves to have along the way. Hard work has its rewards, and these global leaders - these examples of hard work actually paying off - represent a great motivation to realise our own career potential.

Yet with the nose to the grindstone work mentality, this kind of leader creates comes the very real possibility - and organisational threat - of literally asking too much and getting too much from the same high performers in their organisation, leading to burnout and even hostility.

In many complex, global organisations these days, it appears that the lion's share of work is shouldered by the same, highly committed and equally gifted people to whom all the work typically flows when a valued team member leaves, retires or gets recruited away.

It is these 'go-to' people who have earned the trust of top management and who have just enough organisational authority to tackle key strategic initiatives. They are also often typified as the A-rate people in the company, and some of them also get labelled as 'high potential leaders'.

Yet it is this cream of the crop that is most vulnerable when such a hard-charging, Type A personality of a leader steps into a new role and a new company and, to paraphrases, "takes the bull by the horns".

The translation? We're going to work our tails off in pursuit of better financial results and returns to shareholders. In the unlikely event we don't hit our aggressive top line revenue number, these leaders swear, we will no doubt realise the corporation's profit targets. And you can take their word for that.

Some employees love hearing that. They are highly attuned to the challenge and thrive on it. Others shrink from it, or demonstrate some middling level of commitment to the company's goals, and the Chief Executive's vision.

Just be careful you don't push too hard. When everything seems like an immediate and top-level priority, tensions rise and confidence in the management team wanes. Go to your 'go to' people when you need them most, but also ensure that they're not working too much and wearing themselves too thin.

Even the best of your people have their limits. Challenge them to get up as close to those limits as possible, but also offer them a lifeline - a break in the action, when you have asked for a lot in a short amount of time. Your recognition of their sometimes-heroic efforts will keep them engaged and prepare them for the next corporate battle.


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.