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.

Ability To 'Read Between The Lines' Becoming A Critical Leadership Skill

One of the little things that may make all the difference in terms of sorting the winners from the losers in today's global business climate is a leaders' ability to 'read between the lines'.

That is, can the individual leader look at a checklist and see what's not written on paper? Can they sort through a job candidate's resume and interview to determine what's not being said? And can the boss sort through mounds of data, risk analyses and competitive reports to see what's missing?

Seeing what's already apparent to even the casual observer is easy. But thinking about a business challenge from a new frame of mind and seeing the influences on markets, consumers and organisations that others don't is becoming a vital skill for senior management.

Often, as many business leaders will attest, the most interesting thing that comes from an important business meeting is what's not said. So, too, today's culture of information overload may distract leaders from what's essential.

That's why a demonstrated ability to see clearly through the haze of economic uncertainty and beyond the typical data dump that precedes big decisions is a critical competency of senior leadership.

Understanding all the influences on a business decision is key, but seeing the potential of that same decision requires an unprecedented level of business savvy about what's not being said, what's not immediately apparent, and the potential customers and partners a company doesn't already know.

In the world of TMI (too much information), the best leaders appreciate that too little information about the unknown, the uncertain, what's really possible and how to get there can stifle innovation and fail to connect the enterprise to what it can achieve.


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.