Category Archives: 2017

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Gone to Texas

Category : 2017

The Texas Talent Grab

As scores of people (including a few outlaws) pursued opportunity in Texas in the mid-1800’s, the phrase “Gone to Texas” or GTT would frequently appear nailed to the doors of abandoned houses or on fences beside vacated property. More recently, the Texas Governor’s Office of Economic Development gave GTT a second life by attracting new businesses to the Lone Star State with the promise of “Texas: Wide Open for Business.”

This 21st century GTT invitation is working! As home to 54 Fortune 500 companies, Texas ranks No. 2 in the U.S., ahead of California and Illinois. In the past six years, 75 major corporations have moved to Dallas/Fort Worth. Start-ups, company expansions, and corporate growth in DFW generated over 119,000 jobs between February 2016 and February 2017. An accelerating business environment creates an exponential competition for talent.

The Dallas Business Journal recently detailed the talent grab spreading across north Texas. None of the companies moving to Texas have announced an interest in candidates from the bottom half of the talent pool. The best companies are implementing ways to find and hire the top ten percent-and they are getting what they want.

Toyota announced their move from California and in a few months received 19,000 resumes aimed at the 1,000 openings the automaker is bringing to Plano. Tractor manufacturer Kubota’s move to Grapevine is driven by the need for innovation, efficiency, and talent. On a smaller scale, private equity firms are considering the talent in an acquisition as carefully as their quantification of a company’s financial results.

More than ever, human capital investments are being analyzed, quantified, and measured for impact to the business. In designing themselves for the future, companies must address the need for visionary leaders who can build a culture, anticipate the impact of workplace automation, and facilitate the on-going demand for employee engagement. These challenges become opportunities for differentiation when the leaders charged with resolving these realities are the most talented people the market offers.

How well is your executive leadership equipped to excel in a market where talent, technology, and transformation are driving forces in every organization? For over 16 years, Leapfrog Executive Search has leveraged our vast network of established relationships, our highly selective screening process, and our thorough knowledge of client needs to accelerate each client’s ability to select the executive talent required to lead their organization to new levels of success.  Give us a call to discuss top 10% talent!


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Blaise Pascal, Candidate Parades, and Your Next Hire

Category : 2017

What do 17th century mathematician Blaise Pascal and your next executive search have in common? Probability. Pascal created a perfect analogy for an effective search process when he stated:

Je n’ai fait celle-ci plus longue que parce que je n’ai pas eu le loisir de la faire plus courte.
I made this [letter] very long, because I did not have the leisure to make it shorter.

Pascal knew that time and targeted effort are required early in any process to separate a desired outcome from the world of random possibilities, to the narrow scope of a desired result.

  • The Society for Human Resources Management (SHRM) found it may cost up to five times a wrong hire’s annual salary to replace the person. The higher the position and the longer the tenure, the more it costs to refill a role.
  • A U.S. based manufacturing company reported to PWC that turnover in one executive role, after just two years, cost the firm $2.5 million.

While considering a large candidate pool and executing an extensive search process sounds like a solid strategy for finding the best talent, this strategy carries significant risk:

  • The time required to narrow a search from a large candidate pool to one person creates a needlessly long process during which in-demand leaders lose interest and take other positions.
  • Extended searches require that senior leaders invest large amounts of time away from other priorities.
  • As a team reviews many candidates, differentiation is lost in the sea of options.
  • An extended search process makes a company look administrative-heavy and difficult to work with-damaging the brand.

Choosing a boutique executive search firm ensures the investment made by a hiring company is focused on quickly reviewing and narrowing the number of potential candidates, so executive interviewing time is invested in the highly-qualified few, not a parade of potentials. A high quality boutique firm like Leapfrog Executive Search will invest deeply – before beginning the search – in understanding the business, the unique culture, and the key people in the process, aggressively driving the search to a timely completion. Often this means we present fewer, but more targeted . . . and ultimately, more successful candidates.

Peter Drucker once commented, “Of all the decisions an executive makes, none are as important as the decision about people because they ultimately determine the performance capacity of the organization.” Talent investments determine your company’s future. Engaging a firm like Leapfrog Executive Search ensures your investment is applied to finding the best fit in the most efficient way. Your attention stays focused on engaging the right talent and growing your business, not on a parade of second tier candidates.


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Pecking Order Theory and the Search for the Super Candidate

Category : 2017

If pecking order comes up in a business conversation, the discussion generally goes one of two directions. Most often, visions emerge of dominant leaders and less-assertive followers trying to engage productively (often without success) in a winner-take-all watch-your-back environment. Less commonly, an interaction about pecking order moves to the business financing model where companies prioritize their financing sources based on which is easiest to obtain first.

When you couple these trains of thought together, a common approach to finding talent emerges.

First, many companies approach a search for talent by unconsciously mirroring the results of Purdue biologist William Muir’s intriguing study in productivity. Knowing chickens are social creatures, Muir selected one flock and left it alone for generations. A second flock was populated with individually selected “super chickens” from which he carefully chose the most productive to continue in the brood.

After six generations, Muir discovered the first group was full of plump and happy birds that had dramatically increased egg production. The second group did not fare so well. Only three survived the experiment. In a quest for dominance, they pecked the rest of the flock to death.

When a company launches a search for a senior leader, the list of qualifications, requirements, and professional experience often becomes a description for a “super candidate.” The quest for a candidate that can leap any business challenge in a single bound, drives companies to then engage in the financial pecking order—choosing whatever search firm is “easiest” to engage, without considering the process followed during a candidate search.

A well-recognized, multi-national retained search firm often has the name recognition that draws the interest of an impressive list of “super candidates.” But the behaviors that secured a leader’s place on that coveted list, might be the style of interacting and working with others that Muir observed in his experiment—highly productive and extremely destructive.

A boutique firm like Leapfrog Executive Search uses a highly-personalized approach to every request for talent. We’re easy to work with—the difference is in how we approach each engagement.

We invest the time required to gain a complete understanding of each client’s organization, culture, goals, and candidate requirements. We then launch an equally-personalized approach to connecting with candidates—many that we already know from our extensive network and targeted relationship development across industries and roles.

The next time you need senior talent, call Leapfrog Executive Search. We will go beyond looking for a super candidate to finding the right candidate, the person who can deliver results while developing both the people and your organization around them.