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Ego Can Be a Dirty Word

March 27th 2015

Recently in Europe I met with a senior executive who was at pains to advise of his Board member status during our introduction; something I found a little strange as it was common knowledge to all in attendance. I have since learned this behaviour is typical of this executive and now understand it to be repeated across business forums and geographies.

Significantly and far more alarming when meeting a key partner in the Asian region and in the company of their major customer (enjoying a mutually rewarding 10 year relationship) this executive announced in full bravado “I am a Board member and should our partner ever let you down you might contact me personally.” To this the client replied “we have been working with your partner for about 10 years with trust and respect clearly established.” The friction that followed was of great concern to the partner and their client.

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Based on a comprehensive global survey incorporating the agriculture, consulting, energy, government, insurance, mining and real estate sectors McKinsey research drew a conclusion that developing leadership effectiveness can be effectively channeled through the encouragement of 4 types of behaviour.

“Over 90 percent of CEOs are already planning to increase investment in leadership development because they see it as the single most important human-capital issue their organizations face. What we found was that leaders in organizations with high-quality leadership teams typically displayed 4 of the 20 possible types of behavior; these 4, indeed, explained 89 percent of the variance between strong and weak organizations in terms of leadership effectiveness.”

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As a search consultancy we are regularly challenged to secure the industry’s finest executives for our clients. Upon client briefing our specific charter is to locate the candidate that best fits the needs of our client. At this point we follow a highly structured process that includes securing the interest of the candidate and ultimately a successful placement. I am often asked what are the circumstances that trigger the resultant move from one organization to another.

What me! Why?

Place yourself in this scenario. You are content in your position with favourable career prospects, and out of the blue you are contacted by a “Headhunter” to have a chat about some special opportunity. Most candidates are initially flattered which is followed by a sense of intrigue. Psychologically speaking from this point the process becomes most interesting from the perspective of both candidate and consultant. Interestingly once career drivers are shared we are able to convince the majority of our targeted audience to continue dialogue with us.

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