April 26, 2021

The Leadership Factor


“Just as you wouldn’t marry someone after only a first date, you should not select someone for a leadership job solely because of the person’s interview performance – which is exactly that, a performance.” Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

Many organizations are now turning from crisis management during the pandemic to reimagining themselves and their work in a post pandemic world. In this time the hiring of new leaders is critical and cannot be based entirely on past assumptions and methodologies. To thrive organizations will need to articulate a different set of capabilities for their leaders and get beyond the ‘first date’ experience articulated in our opening quote. Hiring committees invested in the journey will be an important component in increasing the ability to find the best leadership with the right capabilities for their organization if they want to drive success in 2021 and beyond.

This journey starts with an understanding of what is expected from the leadership role and then moves to having a well-crafted framework and research-based focus that will guide the entire process. We have done considerable research and put considerable effort into developing a future-focused framework anchored on five leadership components. This framework avoids processes that flounder on the basis of rote and rather, provides deeper insights when interviewing candidates who are very savvy and overly familiar with selection steps and standard questions. In terms of evaluating candidates, we focus on five domains. All five speak to the potential of the candidate. In addition, the process introduces a suite of capabilities for the hiring committee to consider that are part of what defines strong leadership in the 21st century. The five domains and how they work together are:

Experience/Qualifications – relevant experience and qualifications are requirements, but the best candidate is not necessarily the person with the most experience or educational qualifications. Potential counts for a lot as does using past experience in a forward-looking manner.

Character/Values – the focus of character/values involves attitude, emotional intelligence and self-awareness – all needing to fit and challenge the organization’s culture.

Vision/Strategic Thinking – great senior leaders understand the present while anticipating and envisioning the future. They engage themselves and their organization in strategic thinking and dedication to implementation.

Accomplishments – it is not past experience that predicts success; it is past performance. What has the candidate achieved when opportunities presented themselves and when challenges created adversity?

Skills/Capabilities – four sets of capabilities define strong 21st century leadership. They are: humility & courage, creativity & innovation, relationships & networking, and insights & judgement. Of course, there are other capabilities and each organization needs to consider the best list for them and what they are trying to achieve. These capabilities integrated with the other four domains go a long way to articulating the leadership needed for future success.

We all know the difference a great hire can make and that difference is never more important than it will be as organizations transform themselves and their work to meet and exceed future demands. Finding the best talent and being able to select the best talent with confidence are the most important qualities of any executive recruiting firm. We are confident in our ability to deliver.

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