Great Organisations Are Built Around Great Teams
transearch.com (PDF)

Leadership, as it must be, is strategic. It's to step back, see the big picture and, to the extent possible, create tomorrow in the room, today. Covid is but one piece of a chaotic and ever changing political, economic, societal, business and interconnected leadership puzzle. At the centre of all of this is 'the team' … a basic and fundamental blueprint for organisational and personal success.

What follows is intended as a practical guide for:

  1. Setting the scene for a virtual team.
  2. A new or established leader who needs to take the team to the next level.
  3. The executive who feels that, as the organisation navigates the turbulent waters of change, the team is losing its impact.
  4. The HR executive, division head or external recruitment specialist (e.g., the executive search consultant) who, in orchestrating team fit, needs to understand the team they are hiring into.
  5. A manager or external resource faced with the challenge of coaching the team.

Read "Great Organisations Are Built Around Great Teams" leadership insights

Employ the Head, Empower the Hand, Engage the Heart, and Enrich the Spirit (Part 1)

Four leadership domains

There are four things an employee (regardless of level) needs – not wants, needs – from their immediate team leader.

  1. A clear sense of direction – where are we heading? How will the business environment evolve? Where and how is technology going to change the business? What will tomorrow look, sound and feel like? What is our unique point of differentiation? Who is tomorrow's customer? The head.
  2. The discipline of delivery – a cadence, a rhythm, a regular and continuing pattern of behaviour where the agreed outcomes and feedback regarding those outcomes are always in sharp focus. It's about an organisation that, by way of design, is agile enough to support tomorrow's needed speed of delivery. In performance terms, it's the need for everyone on the team to know where they stand. The hand.
  3. To provide a learning environment – mentoring, coaching, stretch, building the team, a focus on learning how to learn. Currency in the job market. The heart.
  4. That the leader in question is someone who everyone on the team respects and trusts – consistent, authentic, affirming, displays humility, keeps people informed, is tough-minded when they need to be and, regardless of the circumstances, they listen, really listen. The spirit.

A consistent and compelling performance ethos, day-to-day focus, an engaged workforce, and a sense of belonging – all draw heavily on the four leadership domains outlined above.

Leadership balance

Lack of leadership balance – behaviour skewed towards one of the above to the detriment of the others – and innovation and responsiveness become a lost cause. Meanwhile, failure to fully deliver against any one of these (four) leadership imperatives and for those you count on most, the grass will inevitably look greener elsewhere. Guaranteed!

To lead is to hire, promote and build for succession – at a level of excellence. Anything less is unacceptable. Nothing is more important. To be in a position of responsibility and lack mastery in hiring is to actively mismanage a critical business asset.

The head describes success in strategic terms.

The hand outlines what, specifically, needs to be achieved.

The heart captures the people management capability demanded.

The spirit is all about character. Character matters.

Talent acquisition, specifically, and talent management, generally, that fails to embrace all four leadership characteristics is a gateway to yet more recruitment.

It is obviously essential to be "customer-centric". But, what does that really mean?

The head implies being fully informed as to where the customer's business is heading. It's to understand the customer's emerging value proposition. It's to see opportunity through the customer's customer.

The hand means getting inside the customer's business processes, delivering on time and maintaining the highest level of quality.

The heart recognises that the buy-decision is based on emotion. Selling is not simply how well you get across what you do or even how well you do it – it's, ultimately, how you make the customer feel.

The spirit is found in truth, authenticity and living the organisation's values. Spirit comes to the fore in passion, perseverance and, when needed, patience. It is also about challenging those on the front-line to improve the processes that dictate how the work gets done – and do so every day, in every way.

The emerging culture

In shaping the emerging culture, leadership that draws on the head and the hand can be termed as "cultural drivers". Meanwhile, the heart and the spirit act like cultural anchors. If they are not present, in full measure, being who you have always been is the best that can be hoped for. Don't even think about implementing sweeping change (e.g., breakthrough technology) if the heart and the spirit are found wanting.

From our own research and the work of others, only one company in five "manage" their culture. Then again, the organisation's culture will change whether you want it to or not … if you are not attentive, in ways that are less than helpful.

So far so good, but even the leadership qualities outlined will likely not keep your high contributors on board should the right opportunity beckon. They need more … they need to be inspired. They need to believe that what we choose to call "work" is making the very best use of their time and ability. They need to be able to bridge the challenge they face today with what tomorrow's success will look and feel like.

This equates to leadership of an altogether higher order... Part 2 coming soon.

Insights from "Leadership: Moving Beyond The Crisis".


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.

Why Diversity & Inclusion Matters In Organisational Culture
transearch.com.au

Often seen as a problem for boards, a Human Resources issue, or a concern for hiring managers to address during the recruitment process, Diversity and Inclusion should really be discussed alongside organisational culture.

How diversity is reflected in an organisation and how it responds to inclusion is in its genes, and that its everyone’s responsibility. For however well intentioned, any D&I objectives cannot be achieved unless they are driven by the business as a whole – from senior leaders and executives, through to middle managers and at grass roots. This is the only way to land an organisation that fosters a workplace culture where diversity and inclusion are valued, cultural safety is promoted and the ways in which intersectionality affects our workforce is recognised.

Read "Why Diversity & Inclusion Matters In Organisational Culture" leadership insights

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:

 


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.

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.


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.

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".


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.

Admitting Failure (And The Lessons It Provides) A Key Test Of Leadership Capacity

Beware the executive who can't describe their biggest business failures and who doesn't harbour some emotion about them, whether in the form of profound disappointment, frustration, regret or gratitude, perhaps.

While it may seem counterintuitive or selfishly counterproductive to any executive being interviewed for what could become their next management career opportunity, the collective insights of executive talent masters suggest getting the candidate to open up about their business missteps and what they learned from them - assuming they did - is a critical prerequisite for determining whether the individual is poised for success in a new leadership role.

Experience, is, after all, a great teacher. Imminent business decisions may summon the wisdom of smart manoeuvres that led to past glories, but they must also surface the lessons of poor judgments and outright flubs so they aren't repeated.

Executives unwilling or unable to detail at least one bad business decision during a recruitment interview actually relate volumes about their ego and lack of self-awareness, as do those who find themselves likewise challenged by an inability to spread the praise for excellent outcomes widely.

Of course, the real challenge of failure as set against today's contemporary business pressures is not only to learn from it but also to avoid the loss of energy and confident contemplation that can impinge on sensible decision-making.

In some sense, the lessons of failure are most instructive if leaders retain them in their collective memories, but also forget them just long enough so they don't become obstacles to personal and organisational growth.


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.

A Shared Agenda For Leaders In Sports And Business

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!


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.

7 Rules For Attracting The Best Executive Talent

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.


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.

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

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