Archives For Talent Acquisition

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Slide1Imagine this…

You are interviewing for a critical position within your organization that will report directly to you.  You have worked with HR and your senior team to narrow the field to two final candidates.

 The first candidate has the ideal background and credentials for the position you need to fill. In fact, this candidate is highly qualified and everyone throughout the interview process has really felt she would be the right choice for the position. Obvious skills aside, you just don’t feel the connection – this is not someone you would be comfortable going to coffee with…

 The second candidate does not have the exact background and skillsets you are looking for, but you can really see yourself in this ambitious go-getter. He has a lot of the same strengths you perceive in yourself and you would really like to mentor this person to succeed within the organization, as you have been. Others, throughout the interview process, have noted a slight skill deficit and the potential for not being able to keep up with the position.

 Although the qualifications of the two candidates are not equal, you have a strong disposition toward candidate number 2…

 What will you do?

Continue Reading…

Potential: What Is It?

January 21, 2011 — Leave a comment

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From a very young age, we all want to be considered as having potential, however potential is often an overused and ambiguous word. Potential… for what? It doesn’t mean a lot by itself, so what do we mean by potential? What is it? What does it look like?  How do we define it and make it more measurable and tangible? What is potential, really? Is it a possibility…a proposed capability for becoming something more? But what?  How does a leader reach their potential if it cannot clearly be defined? Can we ever really grasp our potential? If we do and we reach it… what then?

In some ways potential is a limiting descriptor because there is really no way of knowing if we have reached our potential. Most of us know of The Peter Principle… does our potential equate only to rising to our own level of incompetence? Personally, I hope not!

Potential is a complex concept and there is little agreement about what it actually means, so we need to start by breaking it down into some key components that are generally expected of people considered to have potential:

  • Performance: the consistent capability to exceed expectations in regards to the accomplishment of specific tasks measured against preset standards of accuracy, completeness, cost, and speed.
  • Emotional Intelligence: the ability, capacity, or skill to identify, assess, and control the emotions of self, others, and groups.
  • Motivation/ Ambition: the inspiration or driving force to succeed.
  • Agility: the cognitive bandwidth to learn from past experiences, seeing things in a broader context and quickly applying observations to new situations – applying life experience, noticing patterns, and deriving general guidelines that can be applied to new situations.

Continue Reading…

As you may have guessed, I have come to realize very clearly over time that there is a remarkable gap between what we learn in business school and what we need to be successful in the ever-evolving world of global business – as such over the past few weeks I have focused on some of the more critical items. Understand that I am the beneficiary of some of the finest universities and professors in the world (and respect and honor both greatly), but I am also a realist who has been out there long enough to know with certainty that there are certain skills just not taught in business school that are indeed critical to success, and often survival, in global business. I realize there are many I have not covered, but the goal is just to bring the challenge to the forefront so we can begin to proactively discuss the issues and identify ways to ensure the success of our global executives. Here is the last installment in this series with two final(for now) important aspects of global leadership that are not typically taught in business school:

1)   How to Acquire Talent That Drives Your Success

Why is it that leaders can not be instructed in business school as to how to hire to facilitate their own success? I come across more global leaders that were just not taught how to build strong teams through talent acquisition or development. Why aren’t leaders taught that it is actually detrimental to your success to hire people just like you? It would seem to be common sense that a leader would hire to fill his own gaps, thus making the leader, the team, and the organization much stronger…but it is not.

Here are a few high level tips:

  • Rule #1: Understand your own strengths and weaknesses – until you do, you will never build exceptional teams.
  • Rule #2: Have a vision. Set your goals. Know what you are trying to achieve. Then, and only then, hire for that impossible future – you will be far more likely to recruit those who will facilitate your success if you hire with the future in mind.
  • Rule # 3: Do not hire people just like you. If you hire good candidates that have the same strengths and weaknesses (yes, we all have them) you have, you will never fill in the gaps and create a sustainable model that drives your success. A well-rounded team that compliments your skills will take you much further, much faster.
  • Rule #4: Hire for diversity, not continuity . The more diverse the individuals, the bigger pool of knowledge and talent resides on the team and in the organization. Continuity will emerge naturally – through a much more interesting variety of people.
  • Rule #5: Hire for accountability & ability to execute. Make sure you have people who consistently deliver – great ideas and an enviable vision are useless if there is no accountability for results and an inability to execute.

2)   How To Incorporate Cultural Orientations

In today’s global marketplace, it is almost impossible to work within a single culture. The skill to work across cultures is such a critical need, yet it provokes little interest in a university setting. Because cultural orientations affect our assumptions and perspectives, it is important to understand what a cultural orientation is and how it affects worldviews. Everyone has specific orientations, or ways of perceiving the world around them, primarily derived from our cultural background and the way we were raised.  These orientations, or world-views, combine to determine who we are and how we see the world around us.

If global leaders were given the knowledge and opportunity to leverage orientations to better understand their own perceptions, as well as helping them to understand the complex network of cultures surrounding them, they could begin to leverage cultural orientations as a communication tool for discovering creative solutions to problems. This would highlight the unique potential of everyone involved, from every culture, and would provide significant leverage to achieve success on the journey toward high performance and fulfillment –  providing the opportunity to far exceed expectations.

If the concept of cultural orientation was taught in business school, leaders would have an enormous head start – allowing them to discover new options, shift perspectives, and quite possibly, to leverage differing orientations to move between and amongst different geographies, functions, and cultures to generate exceptional business results.

Those skills not taught in business schools are so deeply rooted in the day to day operations of global business, perhaps they are not well suited to traditional university teaching. If this is the case, where and how do we ensure our global leaders are learning these critical skills? We know that corporate training can often be ineffective and retention rates are low – especially for busy executives that make decisions and interact on various levels all day, every day. If we are to tool our executives with the skills to accelerate their organizations, we will need to better leverage non-traditional learning to provide reinforcement models so that learned skills become ingrained in everyday actions. We will need to look to effective, ongoing methods – often based in experience rather than theory – to facilitate organizational success on every level.

This week I would like to challenge you to get involved and make a difference in a young leader’s life – teach those skills, and develop those characteristics, that are not taught in business school. How are you going to engage in a young leaders life and make a difference on an ongoing basis?

I would love for you to engage the discussion, and let us know how you believe that current global business leaders can make a difference and fill the gaps that business school may leave. Please feel free to contact me at or by visiting our website at Check back next week for the next installment of Leadership Across Boundaries and Borders.

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We go to business school to learn all the right skills, but what are the right skills? Of course we all need to know the fundamentals of basic business management, but what about  those critical, but less obvious, competencies that global executives must know in order to succeed? What are those essential skills not taught in business school that often cause high potential leaders to derail and never achieve their potential? Here are a few important aspects of global leadership that are not taught in business school:

1) How To Create A Global Vision:

“The problems of the world cannot possibly be solved by skeptics or cynics whose horizon are limited by obvious realities. We need men and women who can dream of things that never were.”   ~ John F. Kennedy

The problem with this statement is that many global leaders do not know how to create a vision, do not realize how very vital it is to the success of their organization, nor what to do with the vision once they have finally figured it out. Here are a few simple tips:

  • Work backward from your imagination, rather than forward from your past –  the old adage, “What got you here, will not get you there” is an absolute truth.
  • Remember that whatever you can imagine, you can accomplish
  • Ask yourself some revealing questions as you develop your vision:
    • What is an enormous strategic opportunity within your domain/organization/industry?
    • What would change your business and your clients business forever?
    • What is missing that would truly revolutionize the products/services/processes/etc.? (Think Apple, Netflix, Facebook…)
    • What will take your company/domain from status quo to breakthrough?
    • What are you so passionate about that you would be willing to transform not only your company, but yourself?
  • Think through and understand what it is going to require of you and the organization to realize the vision: Realistically ensure the benefits outweigh the costs
  • Document and Publish an explicit, living, breathing, step by step plan that senior leaders, peers and staff can buy into and share ownership.

2) How to Execute With A Results Orientation

They don’t teach the dogged determination that creates the ability to execute in business school, but this quality is more important in making people successful and in executing in global business than any other. However, if that is all it takes to execute, why do so many executives lack this ability? Because there is no system, formula, strategy, or tactical plan behind the vision – there is a weak results orientation and a lack of process knowledge to support forward movement (aside from a few additional factors we will cover next week). Naturally, it is important to begin with the end in mind, but many executives are so focused on the end, they end up chasing their tails and accomplishing little. Here are some straight forward ways for executives to facilitate their ability to execute:

  • Focus on the process, not the prize – concentrate on what will produce the results, rather than the results themselves.
  • Get and stay connected – identify key strategic partners that can help you get where you want to go and consistently engage.
  • Have both a tactical and a strategic plan.
  • Execute one step at a time – By the inch it’s a cinch, by the yard it will be hard.
  • Consistently engage ALL key players across boundaries & borders – without the buy-in and commitment of critical resources you will never succeed.
  • Listen, don’t just hear – listen to what your subject matter experts are telling you and remain flexible in your gameplan.
  • Incorporate strict accountability measures – if no one is openly accountable, little will get done.

3) How To Network For Success

There is great power in knowing you can reach out to your network whenever you have a problem to solve, to be able to reach key influencers at conferences and meetings, to make an impression on audiences, to project confidence and trustworthiness, and to make friends with other successful people. The ability to connect on many levels is essential to success in global business – in fact many top executives say networking is one of the top reasons for their success. Surrounding yourself with successful and intelligent people will  allow you to consistently think smarter, as well as having access to brilliant people that will support your objectives and provide valuable insights. Networking presents opportunities to interact on a personal level and to develop profitable relationships. Most people have a reluctance to connect with strangers, however in business talking to strangers is essential and the only effective way to generate interest and support for what you do. It is so easy to stay within your controlled environment, however if you only talk to people you already know, you will miss significant opportunities to make new connections, establish valuable connections, and position yourself for success.

The greatest people in business have certain attributes in common. Some are natural gifts, others are learned attributes.  Beyond personal qualities –

Can we prevent the derailment of high potential global leaders through the acquisition of critical skills not taught in business school?

Please feel free to contact me at or by visiting our website at Check back next week for Part 2 of “Business School or School of Hard Knocks?”