Executive search firms have a great pulse for the hiring market and an intimate understanding of the personnel needs of corporations. As our world and markets become more and more global, a new set of hiring criteria have emerged that reflect corporations’ needs for global citizens. Recently, I came across an interesting and thought-provoking set of criteria around the topic of the global mindset offered by Spencer Stuart, a leading executive search firm. Because I found that I can certainly relate to their criteria, I will plan to share my own list in a future post. For now, here’s what Spencer Stuart suggests:
Marketing executives with a global mindset possess a level of cultural fluency which sets them apart from their peers. They have often acquired this as children, encouraged by their parents to be tolerant, flexible and to have “eyes wide open to the world.” Far from being phased by situations that take them out of their comfort zone, they embrace new experiences and new markets, have a willingness to learn, and actively seek out opportunities to enhance their understanding of different cultures and markets. This cultural aptitude comprises several qualities which are outlined below.
The natural desire to exert influence in a new role needs to be tempered by a willingness to learn. Management pride is dangerous and the global marketing executive needs to be smart and confident enough to admit to what they don’t know. It forces them to be open to new learning and to consider the opinions of others in the team. In a situation of power, it’s easy to be seduced into thinking that you know everything or that you are supposed to.
One of the main reasons international executives do not work out is that they try to impose their own cultural or world view, trying to make everything operate the way it does in their own market (often company headquarters). Natural relationship-builders who don’t make snap judgments tend to have humility. Read more
I am extremely disappointed and embarrassed by Italy’s exit in the World Cup yesterday. How can a country that has produced four World Cups, nine Intercontinental/World Club Cups, and 12 UEFA European Cups commit such an atrocious failure? I’ll outline the main causes for the exit, ones that remarkably parallel the business world.
Business: Defining the right strategy based on a rigorous assessment of the market, the customers, your competitors, and your employees, is critical to successful execution. As a CEO, once you set it, you must see it through and ensure your organization and resources are aligned.
Sports: Italy’s coach deployed inconsistent strategies and game plans. His personnel and match format decisions were often contradictory. He showed a certain level of insecurity and lack of conviction in his own strategy. This resulted in an anemic offense, that only was able to muster a couple of shots on goal in the last two games, and a desperate and uninspiring game plan, seemingly focused on obtaining draws.
Business: Attitude is a critical component to the execution of a business. (Think about perseverance, work ethic, commitment, passion, preparedness, optimism with the right dose of realism, to name a few…). It is a key characteristic that needs to be nurtured and upheld in any leading company. Excuses are not tolerated in such a system.
Sports: Italy’s coach– and most of the players– consistently complained about the heat, the travel schedules, the match locations, the refs and now, the infamous bite. This attitude proved to be crippling and it was reflected in their tentative, uninspiring and hustle-less play.
Business: One can never do enough research on the market, your competitors, your customer.
Sports: Italy, like all the other teams, knew that the Brazilian heat would be oppressive. The players should have been in much better physical condition. It is that simple.
Business: Establishing a high bar for your candidates is essential. You need to sweat the details to ensure that you hire the right people for the job, and you should never deviate from your hiring criteria. If you do, it will compromise your business.
Sports: The selection of Italy’s team was done with a very limited recruitment criteria and without a well thought out competency model. The selection committee selected only the soccer stars and assumed that their past accomplishments justified their selection. But instead, with the exception of a handful of players, we saw a group of prima donnas, with little athleticism, and a lack of determination and accountability.
So as you can see, Italy was doomed from the start. In life and in business, there are no short-cuts and frankly, I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I recently spoke to 40 Chinese CEOs and Chairmen who were attending an executive program designed by Prof. John Chen, Babson College, VP of Asia Program. My talk was centered on providing these executives practical tips on how to develop a culture of innovation and separately, how to implement a successful transformation program within their companies. Here are my observations:
- Commitment to Learning – Most of the executives in the group were either CEOs or Chairmen, as opposed to EVPs or SVPs, so the fact that they took 10 days out of their schedules to personally attend such a program clearly demonstrates the importance that they place on innovation and growth. Pretty cool!
- Attitude – Despite the business success that most of these executives had realized to date, they were very open-minded and humble. This attitude is not always seen, particularly when companies have achieved a great deal of success.
- Seeking Growth – The common theme seemed to be relative to growth. Many of these companies had achieved a fair degree of success throughout the last years or decades, and they were now experiencing a combination of greater competition, local market saturation and increased labor costs. Therefore, they peppered me with several questions, seeking practical answers and tips relative to the following:
- How do they cultivate a culture of innovation in which employees are motivated to think creatively and unconventionally?
- How to develop a multi-year growth strategy– Who should be in charge of it and what measures can be implemented to ensure that it is accurate and successfully executed?
- How do they implement transformation initiatives and programs, when the greatest inhibitors could very likely be their own leaders and employees?
As for Prof. Chen’s executive program, it is quite unique. It is case-study based and delivered by multiple universities. The executives learn about various topics by studying case studies at Babson, Harvard Business School, and West Point. The theory is supplemented by on-site visits to various companies, like EMC, Google, Intel and many up-and-coming startups.
On May 8, 2014, I will be a panelist at an exciting event– Chasing the Internet of Things hosted by Gennari & Aronson and ThinkStrategies. I will be joined on the panel by Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of ThinkStrategies, Brendan McSheffrey, CEO of en-Gauge, Dave Icke, CEO of MC10. The panel will be moderated by fellow global citizen, Larry Gennari of Gennari & Aronson. Details are below. I hope to see you there!
Imagine you are a very successful hedge fund manager and one night you become inspired by such a worthwhile cause that you quit and do something about it– That’s exactly what happened to Rob Broggi– Industrial Revolution II‘s CEO and founder, a good friend of mine, and a model global citizen.
It all started when Matt Damon, a college buddy from Harvard, invited Rob to an event on the state of Haiti in January 2009. He would have no idea then how the night would change his life. As he learned about the inhumane conditions throughout the country, he became increasingly incredulous. Haiti has a population of only 10 million people, and is as close to the United States as Jamaica is— yet it had gone from the richest colony to the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere in less than 200 years. “This is crazy,” he said to Damon at a dinner following the panel. “How in the world is this small country that is so close to us so poor?” Damon agreed. “You’re right,” he replied. “We need someone to work on this.” Read more