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Our Labradoodle Does Not Shed!

Category : 2018

Our 6-year old Labradoodle, Ziba, does not shed! Well, that’s the myth that was perpetuated by my family after the gentle cajoling that ended with a puppy, and budding 70-pounder, joining our family. The purported hypoallergenic qualities represented by the combination of a Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle became hard to resist. But really, it was mostly about the hair.

Keep in mind that, had a Labrador Retriever and a Standard Poodle come into “relations” with each other 30-40 years ago, the outcome would have been outside the spectrum of a show dog. The hundreds of dollars that we spent to acquire Ziba, and continue to spend, seem to suggest that things have changed.

Ziba is not perfect…in fact…there has been a growing willingness to acknowledge that she sheds. But something happened along the way. Our experience with Ziba is now defined in other ways: great demeanor, watchdog, companion, smart, incredible range of learned behaviors, playful and more.

So what’s the point? Pedigree and trappings do not equate to results. We find this to be the case with retained search firms as well. What’s important about a dog are the qualities that make it great. What’s important about Leapfrog Executive Search are the qualities that enable you to acquire uniquely talented HR leaders who are well aligned with your organizational needs. Here are some things our team talked about last week:

  • Investing well in the small steps that lead to great outcomes.
  • Consistent communication with clients and candidates.
  • Never losing sight of the goal to produce the desired outcome for our clients
  • Understanding that challenges will arise in every search. We don’t get discouraged, we find new avenues that enable success.
  • Getting to the desired result, and doing so in the right way.

ZibaNote:  carefully managed breeding of pedigreed dogs is required to avoid the elimination of many of the qualities that made them desirable in the first place (see Irish Setter: intelligence)

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The Ripple Effect

Category : 2018

Sometimes we see a person or organization share something that is enlightening.  Sometimes these things are humorous.  And, sometimes we see something that is inspiring.  As we head into the weekend, here is a good word:

Sometimes people like to say things happen in threes. If this week is any indication, I’d have to agree.  I have been inspired on three separate occasions to spread Kindness in my space of the world and watch the ripple effect.

Why kindness?

Kindness feels good for the giver and the receiver. Being kind to others opens us up to possibilities and changes the perspective in someones’ world that they might otherwise never have received if not for your act of kindness.

Kindness is easier and more interesting than complaining about differences of opinion, the weather, the traffic, politics, or the mess your dog made while you were gone.

Kindness is contagious – albeit so is hatefulness. I think about the “aura” we all have the ability to cast whether in a team meeting, conversation or in the grocery store check-out line.  Be mindful of your energy field.  Is it one you can be proud of and is also so contagious it carries through to the next person.

The inspiration to write about Kindness, came from 3 different sources in as many days.

  1. A client of mine shows this video from Kid President to remind Leaders who are influencing others, that Words Matter. Take a look, one of his messages is, “It’s OK to disagree, but it’s not OK to be mean.”
  2. I attended (along with 800+) an early morning Community Leaders Call To Action Breakfast which encouraged everyone to be part of the city’s Kindness Project. Saying none of us can do everything, but we can contribute to something big! Opportunities for us to connect and encourage others are missed every day – lift up from your technology and make an impact.
  3. Maria Shriver’s new book, “I’ve Been Thinking…Reflections, Prayers, and Meditations for a Meaningful Life” was a quick and inspiring read.  The quote by Mark Twain, “Kindness is the language that the deaf can hear and the blind can see” kicks off the chapter where Maria talks about the need for a Social Kindness Movement. Thank you Maria.

What does Kindness look like in the workplace?

  • Be relationship builders, leaders and influencers not critics.
  • Be career boosters to someone who deserves your help, because someone did the same for you.
  • Be helpful and resourceful to someone who doesn’t feel they can ask for your help.
  • Recognize when people do great work.
  • Acknowledge others who bring kindness and a positive outlook to the work environment.

Call to Action! Who has inspired you this week with their kindness? Do they know it? Are you taking that inspiration and passing it on?

Shelli Walker is a Partner with PeopleResults. Follow her on twitter @ShelliWalker or connect via email at swalker@people-results.com.

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Is There a Blueprint for Success?

Category : 2018

When a statement is attributed to a Roman philosopher, a first lady, an entertainment mogul, an auto racer, and a motivational speaker, it deserves attention, if not consideration.  From the fourth century BC to the 21st century we’ve been told …

Preparation + Opportunity = Success

While that process makes nice fodder for public speakers, it makes good sense for an executive search firm committed to helping clients find talented performers who drive results.  Leapfrog Executive Search knows extensive candidate preparation, prior to the initial interview for a role, helps to ensure successful candidate visits.

That preparation begins with gathering detailed information from the client about the company, the culture, the market, and the opportunity. Comprehensive and accurate information builds trust and confidence, so we share appropriate information with the candidate to ensure they have a clear picture of both the opportunity and the organization.

Developing and communicating an in-depth company profile ensures strong and accurate representation of the client’s brand.  In a highly-competitive talent market, candidates are evaluating potential employers as carefully as companies assess candidates.  The Leapfrog search process helps clients position their firms as preferred employers in a dynamic talent market.

During a 17-year career, tennis legend Arthur Ashe discovered, “One important key to success is self-confidence.  An important key to self-confidence is preparation.”  Our thorough research helps candidates prepare well and present themselves confidently during the interview process.  This foundation allows conversations between candidates and clients to advance more quickly to the deeper exchanges that are germane to both the client and candidate.

The consistent use of a proven process, and the effort it takes to do so, leads to predictable results – if the people using the process are actively involved.  To ensure our proven search process achieves the desired outcome for both the client and candidate, Leapfrog Executive Search consultants stay engaged with the client and candidate from the initial conversation to offer acceptance.

While the accidental successes of the popsicle, the microwave, and Spanx make for great business reading, they are exceptions, not examples.  Leapfrog Executive Search promotes predictable outcomes for our candidates because we use a proven system of preparation that, when aligned to a client opportunity, can result in mutual success.

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The Ruse of Experience

Category : 2018

The growth of technology and social media has generated new meanings for familiar words. Viral now refers to popularity, not an illness. A ping is an action, not a noise. Following means to subscribe, not to pursue. Experience has expanded to mean you achieved something-not that you were there.

From a CEO trying to secure the trust of a board to an executive moving to a C-level role to companies working to gain a position in a competitive market, leveraging the word “experience” as a differentiator is wasted energy. Experience is about participation, observation, perception, encountering something, and practice that results in superior knowledge or mastery. In short, whether its an executive or a company, experience simply means you were there. You participated. You interacted with a situation or event. You maybe even learned something.

Companies can serve their marketplace for the same amount of time with very different results. A quick look at Fortune 500 companies shows that a decade committed to a task can yield widely differing results.

Company Years in Business Fortune Rank 2007 Fortune Rank 2017
Texas Instruments 66 185 206
JC Penny 115 116 221
Wal Mart 55 1 1
Weyerhauser 118 105 341
Apple 41 123 3

A look at top executives reveals the same range of outcomes. During Jeff Immelt’s tenure at General Electric, the stock price slipped 25%. Since Facebook became public, Mark Zuckerberg has led growth from $153 million to $40 billion. In ten years, Indra Nooyi has grown PepsiCo from $39 billion to $63 billion, while Ginni Rometty has watched IBM shrink from $98 billion in 2007 to $79 billion in 2017. Obviously, length of time on a road does not equate to distance traveled-or results achieved.

Selling experience alone easily becomes a ruse. If you don’t have a story to tell, don’t try to pretend one exists. Without quantified results, your ability to distinguish yourself from competitors is diminished.

Your experience doesn’t differentiate. Your client’s experience creates market differentiation. What consumers tell about how you helped them, how your product or service impacted their lives-that sells. When a board or other execs talk about your impact in an organization, that creates more credibility than talking about your number of years of experience.

Strong brands sell what people buy-and people buy results

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Hire Maturity … What’s In A Name?

Category : 2018

Peter Gudmundsson – one of our valued Advisory Board members – has launched Hire Maturity.  To gain a better understanding of how and why you should add mature talent to your workforce, take a look at the following video from Peter’s recent visit to Good Morning Texas.

Hire Maturity / Good Morning Texas

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In the Story of Your Brand, the Hero Isn’t You

Category : 2018

Since campaigning for class office in junior high, Leslie Nunn Reed has been a student and a story of successful branding. Today, as vice president at 5by5 – A Change Agency, Leslie helps clients tell their stories with clarity, reach, and impact, including names like Scott Hamilton, musician Matthew West, Compassion International, and Vanderbilt University Medical Center[1] .

During an engaging conversation with Leapfrog Executive Services, Leslie shared her branding insights and expertise. This is the first in a series sharing the 5by5 perspective on branding (5by5 is a StoryBrand certified Agency).

Whether for an organization or an executive, at its core, a brand is a promise you make to your customers about what you stand for, who you stand for, what you do, and how you do it. The human brain is drawn to clarity and rejects confusion. You can’t expect customers or people considering you for a C-level role to figure out who you are and the value you bring. Whether you are a global company or a successful executive, your brand needs a cohesive image and message to tell who you are and what problem you solve. Companies (and people) with a clear message win in the marketplace.

A brand is your story about your customer. When you talk about you to the customer, you’re making yourself the hero of the story. Great branding makes the client the hero and you the authoritative, trusted guide who helps the hero solve his or her problem. When meeting with an executive team, it is far more effective to show how you will solve business problems than to talk about your successes at another company.

The driving force in a strong brand is transparent trust that grows from consistency between what is said and the customer’s experience. Trust is earned and is very specific. Clients may trust a company or person in one area, but not another.

In discussing companies (or individuals) trying to create a brand perception inconsistent with who they are in practice, Leslie responded, “That disparity is confusing, and customers won’t burn the calories required to reconcile the confusion. They’ll simply move on to what is consistent and what they can understand.”

Whether someone looking for the next opportunity or a company looking for their next client, the Branding Process has three elements-

  • Assessment: Use objective research and market analysis to validate the ecosystem, audience, potential and existing brand perceptions. Then, develop a brand strategy and ways to communicate the message. When multiple brands compete for the same audience, the answer is to simplify-get clear on the message.
  • Brand Harmony: The brand look and sound must work together in concert. The photography, typeface, and colors must align and communicate the same message before creative visuals can be developed. Your LinkedIn photo should be professional-not an action shot on the golf course.
  • Driving the Brand: Multiple avenues are used to drive a brand – website design, content marketing, sales strategy, digital advertising and social media, influencer strategies, and the internal team. Again, all work together in concert in a successful brand strategy. On a personal level, a personal website, a strong LinkedIn profile, and professional comments on Twitter and LinkedIn all contribute to driving an executive’s brand.

When communicating consisted of sending radio waves into the air, engineers monitored and measured signal strength and clarity on a 5-point scale. When a message arrived loud and clear, both dimensions were rated a perfect five – giving the 5by5 Agency its name. Technology has transformed how we communicate and the speed with which it happens. But effective messaging in any environment demands strength and clarity. The individual or company with a solid brand will always aim for 5by5.

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