Helping Executive Job Seekers Get To Where They Want To Go

Where exactly do you want to go?

This is the pivotal question for executive job seekers to consider as they attempt to differentiate themselves in the highly competitive waters of management transition these days, and the critical question for prospective employers to establish.

For too many proven and aspiring business leaders, their résumé or C.V. simply doesn't balance their experience, credentials and management accomplishments with that all-important statement about their 'Objective' and their ideal next role, employer and preferred locale.

We can discern much about a person's abilities by reviewing their work history and the roles they've held over the years. But alas, not even the best executive recruiter or corporate hiring manager, for that matter, can establish where a talented leader wants to go and do next unless the job seeker has taken the time to write this 'Objective' statement into their résumé or C.V. It is, after all, the only forward-looking statement the job seeker might include in such documents.

For the job seeker, it's incumbent to state one's business case clearly and succinctly so the parties to the recruitment process can quickly and accurately establish their fit for the role requirements, given they may have many other candidates or applicants to consider.

Don't just tell us where you've been and what you've done.

Tell us something about the role you believe is your right next step and why. Tell us which business challenges you can help us overcome. Tell us about the strengths you bring and tell us something that proves it. Tell us where you want to go, and let us connect you with opportunity:

 

Women's Values of Sustainable Leadership
transearch.com (PDF)

It is clear that the issue of Sustainability is part of a collective awareness within civil society, business and politics, which strives to respond to these paradigm shifts and the resulting contradictory injunctions. How do we reconcile the need for immediacy, reinforced by the expansion of digitalisation, with the long-term reconstruction? How do we instil a shared value at the time of a new era marked by individualism?

These transformations profoundly modify the fundamental principles of our society and tend to define new balances, such as developing our business models towards a tripartite balance "People, Profit, Planet", or paying more attention to gender stereotypes.

Diversity and Inclusion are founding principles of a more sustainable business model, and even if they encompass several components, including that of gender equity, it is obvious that good intentions are not enough. The principle of reality still bears witness to this in France, with so few women in leadership positions.

The introduction of quotas at board level, and soon within management committees has surely started demonstrating its virtues. But doesn't strengthening a company's performance in the deployment of its "Sustainability" imply the development of a new, more balanced leadership model that upholds both feminine and masculine values? Wouldn't promoting women's values be an additional performance lever? Is it not time to design a woman leadership model, similarly to the way the men leadership model that has prevailed so far?

In the continuation of their first study conducted in 2020 on the definition of a "Sustainable Leader", TRANSEARCH Paris wondered about the feminine components of a new sustainable leadership, its assets to support the tall orders of Sustainability, the actions to be taken and the challenges to be met to promote sustainable parity.

Read "Women's Values of Sustainable Leadership" leadership insights

Cultivating Diversity And Inclusivity In The Workplace

The pressure to increase diversity in the workplace continues to rise across sectors and is a prime focus for business leaders around the globe.

What is the difference between diversity and inclusion?

Diversity in the workplace encompasses many dimensions, including race, ethnicity, gender, age, religion, disability and sexual orientation; it can also include differing personality characteristics, thinking styles, experiences and education levels.

Inclusion means that the organisational culture and practices make employees of diverse backgrounds feel welcome, accepted and treated equally.

Numerous studies have shown that cultivating diversity and inclusivity in the workplace makes good business sense. For example, McKinsey’s workplace diversity study, "Delivering Through Diversity", found that companies whose executive teams rank in the top 25% of racial and ethnic diversity are 33% more likely to reap financial returns above the national median for their industry. Diversity has also been shown to be a key driver of innovation, creativity and productivity.

Attracting and retaining top talent

Most importantly for HR professionals and recruiters, a diverse and inclusive workplace is crucial for attracting and retaining top talent. Candidates are drawn to diverse organisations because it signals that the employer values people's differences and treats their staff equally. When it comes to retention, a culture of inclusion will make top talent feel valued, heard and understood.

Diversity is particularly important to younger employees. A 2019 survey by U.S. consultancy John Zogby Strategies found that 51% of millennials and generation Z agree that a "fair representation of race, ethnicity and religion is paramount to creating the ideal workplace." Forty-eight percent of generation X (40-54) and 42% of baby boomers agree with that statement.

The path to diversity and inclusion

Companies that have invested in diversity and inclusion over the years are reaping the rewards. The path to diversity and inclusion starts with moving it from an HR initiative to a business strategy. While this strategy may look different at every company, the key elements are:

  • C-suite support.
  • Employee commitment and collaboration.
  • Improving diversity in recruitment.
  • Fostering inclusiveness in the workplace.

Creating a diverse and inclusive workplace is no easy feat but it's clear that this is the way forward. How you screen and source talent, conduct interviews and onboard new employees are all opportunities to integrate diversity into your processes. Put simply, the companies that do this well will outperform others as recognised workplaces of choice among top talent.

Adapted from "Leading the Charge for Diversity and Inclusion" by Frank Galati.

Direction - The DNA Of A Great Team

Striving to create a great team isn't simply to end up with a nice, bright, shiny and highly admired group of people. The only reason for building a great team - the utility implied - is to better facilitate tomorrow's winning value proposition, create value, bring about change and retain talent. Anything less is to shortchange everyone involved. Results and relationships are the central tenets in a series of synergistic sub-processes that move from Direction, to Development, to Delivery and, eventually, to Decline. As it moves through each of the building blocks, a great team leans heavily on these DNA markers.

In this article we explore "Direction".

A compelling purpose

The team's purpose is obviously drawn out of the organisation's purpose. Purpose should answer two questions - one, essentially, a subtext of the other:

1) Why do we do what we do?
2) How does what we do make a difference in the world?

With a big enough "why" ordinary people can, and do, achieve the extraordinary. Ask yourself:

  • Does the "why" have real emotional impact … both within the business and with customers? Does it inspire people?
  • In what ways does the purpose give team members a deeper sense of meaning?
  • What unanswered questions does the purpose raise?

The right leader

To lead is to be the first one to smile and the last one to speak. Those who excel as leaders blend courtesy, compassion and comfort with ambiguity into an in-the-moment presence. Peter Drucker referred to courtesy as "the lubricant of leadership". There is no such thing as a leaderless team. Lack of a leader runs the risk of introducing the wrong leadership. That said, as the team matures, there are times when the leader has to follow and members of the team are asked to lead. Ask yourself:

  • Is there a clear leader? Are they the right leader? Who should the leader be? In the case of an outgoing leader, what was their most significant contribution?
  • Does the team leader live the organisation's values every day in every way? How do they deal with those who don't always live the values?
  • What is the team leader's leadership point of view?
  • In the way they lead, do they deliver leadership "balance"?
  • In the absence of an appointed leader, who takes the lead?
  • How does the team leader deal with conflict? What conflict will a future leader need to deal with?
  • How are rivalries dealt with?
  • How much freedom to act do team members have? How much freedom to act should they have?
  • How does the team leader delegate?

The right strategy

The strategy describes "what" needs to be achieved. The organisation's values outline "how". Ask yourself:

  • Is the long-term direction for the team clear? Is it congruent with the strategy of key teams one level up?
  • Are the delivery assumptions built into the strategy consistent with the organisation's values?
  • Does the strategy contain within it messaging that reinforces the culture the organisation needs to create?
  • In what ways does the strategy balance the short and the long term?
  • Who, if anybody, on the team disagrees with the agreed strategy? How have they been given a voice?

The right people

Whom you hire and/or promote dictates what's possible. The default selection process in most organisations is skewed towards hiring the "best" person. Great teams are built on finding the "right" person. Based on the situation, the right candidate will be someone who can grow and continue to grow in the role, who adds to the team beyond the horizons of the functional role and who is a natural fit with the leadership development agenda offered within the organisation. If you can't attract top talent, you can't hire top talent. Top performers are drawn to an organisation with a great story. Ask yourself:

  • With the agreed strategy in mind, do those on the team have the basic talent needed to thrive? What's missing … as a team … and/or on an individual basis?
  • Is the behaviour of those on the team aligned with the culture the organisation - and by implication - the team need to create?
  • Is there an obvious successor to the leader? How has the potential success of that individual been validated? What development steps are under way?
  • How does the team add someone new? Is that approach effective?
  • Are those who make recruitment decisions fully trained in interviewing?

Insights from "Great Organisations Are Built Around Great Teams".

A Shared Agenda For Leaders In Sports And Business
Posted

When a certain sports executive recruited from one team to another team was introduced to the media in his new home city, he quickly shared a simple plan to turn around an under-performing team and make it a contender.

The two-part plan was this:

  1. Focus on effective talent scouting and recruitment.
  2. Focus on continual player development and performance measurement.

While these two sporting mandates may at first seem relevant only within the stadium's walls or the plush confines of the players' clubhouse, they actually represent a significant calling for business leaders across every industry and management function.

Business leaders must be skilled at partnering with lots of different people and personality types. Over time, one develops a keen sense of who fits, who's doing great work, and where certain individuals need to hone or acquire certain skill and/or experience sets.

It's this keen view of organisational talent that should move leaders to continually evaluate the talent he or she has and the talent they need. Scouting 'high-potential' prospects from within the enterprise - perhaps in another business unit, or at a lower level - and outside its walls is essential to build winning teams for the business. After all, the team with the best talent and team chemistry usually wins the field.

Of course, once you've promoted or recruited high performers, it's important to evaluate their performance and identify opportunities to stretch their talents so they can make an ever-increasing impact on the organisation. Any promising contributor or leader who is allowed to go 'static' when the task and opportunity ahead of them requires a continual escalation of skill-building will soon lose interest and become disengaged.

The winners in tomorrow's business markets are focusing on scouting and talent development today. Hopefully, these business mandates are on your agenda, too!

7 Rules For Attracting The Best Executive Talent
Posted

Hiring companies that understand the recruitment of senior business leaders is a two-way street will be in the best position to compete in an increasingly global war for executive management talent.

That is because no matter how bright the future prospect for your business, the most exceptional candidates for senior management roles will assess whether it has the right stuff to magnify their performance and thereby bolster their career.

Hiring organisations must offer these seven benefits to attract top business leaders and get them to stay and perform at peak levels:

  • A great story (they want to be part of something special, compelling strategy)
  • Brands/products/services that are admired/profitable/have staying power (they want a platform for long-term growth)
  • An environment that speaks to personal growth (get better at what they do)
  • Work that has meaning (that's makes a difference)
  • Chance to join an inspirational leader (reputation for doing the right thing)
  • Wealth creation (financial security)
  • Effective board governance (leadership that takes governance seriously)

The first proactive step employers can take to spark the kind of gravitational pull necessary when it comes to attracting the best management talent is to develop a talent scouting strategy that can also evolve into a succession risk management tool.

The increasing globalisation of business and of employers both large and small pose significant questions about whether an organisation can leverage the same assets to attract exceptional management talent in other regions of the world. Creating the right compensation framework is a necessity to engage top leaders, but their fit has much more to do with their sense of satisfaction in a new environment.

Companies that assume they can attract great executive leaders are often the ones that can't make their own business case to potential recruits and who fail to attract the highest calibre management candidates in the first place.

The bar on what it takes to attract the best talent is being pushed higher. When and how employers recognise that and whether they stay or get in the game are issues that will surely redraw the competitive business landscape for years to come.

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

Three Key Ingredients For Creating A Positive Candidate Experience

Not only is a positive candidate experience vital to attract talent, it's also critical from a reputation standpoint. Given the power of social media, candidates who share poor experiences online can cause significant damage to both the corporate brand and employer brand. Conversely, great experiences that are shared online can have a positive effect.

There are many steps to create a positive candidate experience, but here are three key ingredients for success.

1. Open communication

It's critical to keep candidates updated on your process and your decision. When candidates don't hear back in a timely fashion, they often move on to other opportunities, sometimes carrying negative emotions about the process if left in the dark.

Communicate with the candidate throughout the process and provide council to them as needed. Clearly explain next steps and when they can expect to hear back from you. Advise them early on if they're not going to be part of the short list, speaking with them weekly and sometimes daily throughout the search.

2. A positive interview experience

The interview is perhaps the most vital interaction a candidate has with a prospective employer. According to a LinkedIn survey, 83% of candidates surveyed said a negative interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once liked. Conversely, 87% of those surveyed said a positive interview experience can change their mind about a role or company they once doubted.

A positive interview experience is simply a matter of respect. It starts with the courtesy of being on time for the interview and thanking them for participating when it's over.

3. The human touch

While technology is transforming HR and the hiring process is becoming increasingly automated, the human touch is still critically important. A personalised approach will make candidates feel like they truly matter and keep them engaged, which will help an organization stand out in the candidate's mind.

Infuse every interaction with a personal touch. For example, help new hires with the offer negotiation process and serve as a sounding board to them, as well as an advisor. Also, follow up with new hires on their integration into the company and meet with them 30 days into their new role for a coaching and feedback session.

Adapted from "Why The Candidate Experience Matters More Than Ever - And How To Improve It" by Howard Pezim, Partner, Co-Founder and Managing Director of Bedford Consulting Group Inc.

The World Continues To Change. Has The Way You Interview Kept Pace?

Change has, of course, been with us forever. The current rate of change, however, is new.

This shift is so profound that it challenges the very essence of what it means to be a leader. From a recruitment perspective it also means revisiting the multi-headed hydra known as "FIT". For example, in discussions with CEO's and Boards, it is commonplace to hear "comfort with risk," "learning agility" and "global reach" as critical leadership competencies.

The need for robust dialogue around the leadership competencies required for turbulent times is undeniable. Often absent from this discussion … how to assess these competencies during the interview. Now more than ever, the interview is a make or break issue.

Technique

Although engaging the candidate is an important facet of the interview, make sure to:

  • Approach the interview as if it were a critical business meeting, e.g., develop a game plan prior to the interview.
  • Remember, "success" draws verifiable evidence of past success.
  • Employ a consistent approach when dealing with multiple candidates.
  • Make the candidate feel comfortable and be transparent about your organisation and the mandate at hand (this is ultimately in both parties best interest).
  • Write-up the interview.

Process

Within a multi-stakeholder environment several key questions emerge:

  • Have the appropriate stakeholders been engaged in the process to solicit their insights on the ideal candidate profile?
  • Does everyone interviewing the candidate know their specific role and respective focus/probe areas?
  • Is there clear alignment amongst all stakeholders as to what the role-specific leadership competencies are?
  • Does each interview add value?

Shortcomings in either technique or process lead to poor decisions when evaluating "FIT". They become even more concerning when set against the new lexicon of leadership. Anyone who interviews as part of their role should ask "What am I and my organisation going to do to improve the way we interview?" Your capability to attract and assess top talent will continue to be critical to both your personal and your organisation's success. Indeed, it just might be dependent on it.

Insights from "The world continues to change … has the way you interview kept pace?" by Darren Raycroft.

The Benefits of Virtual Employment

"Virtual employment" has been embraced enthusiastically by some. Others have found it to be an unwanted intrusion into their lives. One study in Canada, the "11th Annual Salary Guide," found that two in five employees (43%) believe their companies have failed to provide measures that support their well-being throughout the pandemic. The lack of social interaction (45%), isolation/loneliness (27%) and increased workload (25%) being the main reasons. What can be said for sure is that things will never return to the way they were.

The virtual workplace has four major benefits:

  1. Cost savings. The obvious saving being significantly reduced office costs. Meanwhile, wage and benefit costs - especially if a large number of administrative staff can be recruited from low wage areas of the country or even offshore - can be trimmed. If you are based in a high-cost city such as San Francisco, London or Sydney this is no small thing. There is evidence that remote employees work an additional 1.4 days per month than in-office employees. (Inc. Magazine, October 2019.) The same source suggests that remote workers save over $4,000 per year on travel costs (compared to in-office employees).
  2. Lifestyle. There are an increasing number of city dwellers who - for lifestyle, the cost of housing and family reasons - would love to replace concrete with grass, a high-rise balcony with a garden and a seat on the subway with a quiet cup of coffee at home. Family health is especially impactful. Even after a workable COVID-19 vaccine is available, what will continue to be an emotional burden well into the future is the sense of vulnerability, the feelings of helplessness and the fear that accompanies a pandemic.
  3. Monitoring performance. Remote work is relatively easy to monitor. Tracking ongoing productivity and key outcomes is invaluable. Expect the technology in this respect to advance in leaps and bounds.
  4. Organisation agility. When fixed costs are replaced by variable costs, additions - or reductions - in the workforce become easier to manage. Moreover, having developed the tools to support a virtual workforce - webinars, products, video meetings, distance learning - greater value can be derived from the established training and development budget.

The benefits of remote working as decribed are far from the end of the story. Beyond this crisis lies, what well may be, an even bigger social upheaval. Many of the positions currently being moved away from the traditional office represent exactly the type of work that technology will disrupt/replace tomorrow. While employees work to become proficient in Zoom and other video-based communication tools, an army of technologists are working on Artificial Intelligence, algorithms and alternative ways for "the machine" to make further inroads into routine work.

Extract from "Virtual Employment: Don't Assume One Size Fits All" Orxestra Inc., © 2021

Leaders Who Capitalise On These Opportunities Will Set Themselves Apart

The pandemic is moving us into the future and creating a host of opportunities - a professional renaissance. In 2014, global futurist, best-selling author, and speaker Jack Uldrich remarked: "the future does not belong to 'a place.'" The pandemic has fast-tracked us towards this future.

As a result, we are experiencing a dramatic, systemic, and permanent change in many areas of life, particularly in our workforce. Enormous productivity advantages await companies that can take advantage of potential increases in productivity, skills, and compensation rates by hiring the best people wherever they live.

Companies that can execute a seamlessly integrated approach that maximises the value from this potential exponential growth in creativity, diversity, and efficiencies will see productivity expansion and increased profits. Of course, this is easier hypothesised than executed, but with the entire world working on seamless integration and explosive value coming from incremental and step-change value creation. It is a good bet to see dramatic improvements soon; this is what we might expect.

Leaders who capitalise on these opportunities will set themselves apart with greater agility, emotional intelligence, and authentic communication. The winning leaders of the future will be empathic, engaged with their teams, and skilled at delivering impact on challenging problems.

Insights from "Location, Location, Location - Not Anymore" by Chris Swan.

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