Choosing the Right Stuff
As another New Year rolls around (what, 2005 already?) so does one of my favorite
kinds of business articles – looking back on the year just past, and looking for hot new trends in the year ahead. On just about everyone’s list for 2005 is a “decidedly more upbeat” job market, in the words of one major employment firm. Executive recruitment activity is up, and many professional recruiters report that the executives they talk to have already been contacted by other parties. Even during the holiday season just past,
recruitment and hiring did not appear to slow, as it often does in December.
As the job market heats up, you can expect to see a lot of movement of executive talent. Surveys in the latter half of 2004 revealed that there is plenty of pent-up job-change demand, and that a large number of managers and executives intend to make a move out of jobs they are not satisfied with. While it may be too late to do
anything to hold onto valued employees who are poised to jump, it’s a great time to focus your attention on how you will make the right choices in hiring replacements and in building your executive leadership cadre over the next year.
Hiring key senior staff is one of the most critical and far-reaching decisions an executive faces, and yet surprisingly little thought often seems to go into these choices. How
different would your own hiring process be if you considered the leadership talent in your organization to be as critical to your organization’s success as, say, your budget is? And yet, study after study shows that leadership is one of the key determinants of success, as measured by the bottom line. Here are a few thoughts on how you can play to win the new war for leadership talent:
Take a strategic perspective in hiring new executives. Rather than treat each new vacancy in isolation, step back and take a look at the overall leadership team. What skills and capabilities do you need to have on the team to meet upcoming challenges? Where are your team’s strengths and where are the holes you need to fill?
- Consider your leadership team as a network. The team works best when
relationships are solid, so think about the social and cultural context when hiring new team members. Given the leadership culture you want to create, do you need more people who will fit right in, or more people who will shake things up a bit?
- You do know the kind of leadership culture you want to create, right? Remember that while results are important, how you get them has long-lasting
impact, whether positive or negative. What values and principles are most important to you and your organization? How much do you know about the values and principles of your prospective executive hires? More importantly, do they walk their own talk?
- Look for depth as well as breadth. Yes, you want a diversity of perspectives and experience on your leadership team to make sure you don’t miss important
new trends or discontinuities in your business environment. But do you also have enough depth in your leadership bench? If your top team is stretched to the limit, who else do you have to send into the game?
- Pass on the candidate who already knows it all. Confidence is a great thing, but close-mindedness can sometimes lurk beneath. Whether you are hiring from the outside or promoting from within, your new executives serve
themselves and the organization best by being open to learning on a continuous basis.
Could you use some help in developing your own approach to hiring – and keeping – the best leadership talent for your organization? Coaching can bring clarity, and it is also a proven way of integrating new leaders so you get their best from the start. If you’re expecting to wade into the leadership talent pool, or you just want to prepare for the
future, let’s talk about how coaching can work for you. Call (410)626-6008, or email email@example.com.
By now your New Year’s resolutions may already be a little bit off track, so try this way of bringing some lightness to your flagging determination.
Following the lead of at least one venerable journalistic institution,
compose your own personal list of “Outs” and “Ins” for 2005. Keep the list open for at least several days, adding to it as you notice things, people, behaviors, whatever it is that you are tired of having in your life or your work, and whatever it is that you are drawn to at this time.
Here are a few from my own list to get you started:
The Beltway Web meetings
Email backlogs The “delete” button
Late-night TV news Sleepytime Tea
My college alumnae fund Doctors Without Borders
Thanks to N.E., a special client and master practitioner in the domain
Men who never take sick days apparently have far higher risks of heart attacks or other coronary problems than those who do take days off when ill, according to a study published in the January 2005 American Journal of Public Health.
78% of senior executives and managers say they have 90 minutes or less of personal time on a typical workday, according to a recent survey. The majority (62%) of executives and managers has 60 minutes or less of personal time daily and 6% of respondents say they have virtually no personal time. Of the workday time that is considered “personal,” the majority (71%) spends it on eating meals. Less than a third spends it exercising, and one-fifth spends it reading or thinking.
There are 600,000,000 pages printed from computers every day. That's enough to fill a file drawer 170 miles long. Remember the paperless office we were promised?
Thanks to the wonders of nanotechnology, it won’t be long before the clothes you wear
will be capable of interacting with you by means of embedded information, entertainment, and communication tools. Europeans can already buy a snowboarding jacket with mobile telephony and an MP3 player integrated into its fabric, and Adidas is developing a computerized, customized sneaker that automatically adjusts to an individual's weight, speed, style, and running surface using magnetic sensors, microprocessors, and tiny motors in the shoe itself.
Leadership Chronicles of a Corporate Sage, by Susan Bethanis. What I like about it: I met the author, an executive coach and founder of Mariposa
Leadership, Inc., at a conference last fall, and I was intrigued by her novel approach in this book. The story follows a semi-fictional Silicon Valley executive through a six-month coaching experience during which he grows into a more effective leader – a corporate sage. If you want to know what it’s really like to be coached, this very readable book illuminates that for you. As a bonus, it also provides a set of questions you and your own coach can use in your own work
Executive Coach, Strategy Consultant
Principal, Bloomfield Associates
Share what you’re into — books, articles, movies, music, websites — with others on the list! Send us the title and author or other pertinent information, along with a sentence or two on what you like about it, and if we use it in A Different Optic we’ll not only quote you, we’ll provide a link to you or your website.
“Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to
— Erich Fromm
Do you know someone else who might be interested in reading this? Send it to them now by clicking here.|
If you wish to subscribe to
A Different Optic, please click here to send an email request or visit the newsletter section of our website.
After a semester “on sabbatical,” Beth Bloomfield will be returning to teach in the Georgetown University Leadership Coaching Certificate Program when the new semester begins in February.