Category Archives: 2015

Overcoming Personal Constraints

Category : 2015

Our commitment to building relationships w/ HR leaders, functional business leaders, and the vendor community, gives us unparalleled access to talent. An example of these relationships is the one we have with The Flippen Group.

Have you relied on results from your personality test or ‘played to your strengths’, only to find yourself treading water? Strengths don’t single-handedly define our success. Even with a laundry list of strengths on our side, we are held back by behaviors that limit our performance or are the reasons for our failure. Personal ConstraintsTM set the boundary for level of success. You can identify your constraints and make a plan to overcome them, resulting in a dramatic surge in success, productivity, and happiness. In short, you’ll discover who you were born to be.  As we head into the new year, and you look to strengthen your performance and that of your team, find out more from this Flippen Group blog:

Happy New Year!

15 in ’16: Chapter 1

Category : 2015

2016 will mark a significant occasion…our 15th year in business. We want to take the opportunity to thank you and share how we got here, our current state, and where we are going. We will tell the story over three separate installments.

So, consider this Chapter 1, “How We Got Here”. From very humble beginnings, we began to invest in relationships, frankly without the laser-like focus most “experts” would recommend when you start a new venture. But, you know, we were onto something. The same focus on relationships that made sense in 2001 remains the bedrock of our business philosophy today (more on this later).

As a small, underfunded, entrepreneurial venture in those first five years, cash flow was an important consideration. In sometimes miraculous fashion, we managed to generate enough business activity to make it to the next day, leading to one of our favorite lines: “Survival precedes success!” As we moved into the following ten years we were blessed as talented individuals joined our team. Our retention has been outstanding and our talent philosophy is simple…we engage great people!

As a team, we gained valuable experience and intellectual capital as we built internal systems and processes. Along the way, we have had the privilege of working with numerous large companies whose brands are easily recognizable, smaller and mid-sized organizations – a number of which have been venture capital backed, and some small companies that are unrecognizable to most …they all matter!

Hard work and determination…grit! Executive Search can appear glamorous and at times even look easy. The truth is that our success has been driven by an unrelenting desire to succeed and the satisfaction of a job well done. Our clients who achieve their talent objectives and our candidates who land meaningful and rewarding roles have provided incredible momentum allowing us to strive for more.

Bookending “grit” is the aforementioned “relationship” component. We believe our success is founded in our desire to perform. In doing so, we have leaned on the words of Zig Ziglar, “If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want.” We have been privileged to be in relationship with tremendous people – like you – and that is the most fulfilling part of our work!

For now, that’s the tale of how we got the ball rolling. Look for Chapter 2 shortly after the first of the year.

We hope you have a wonderful Christmas season and a festive New Year!


Purpose Driven People

Category : 2015

Studies show that purpose-driven people are more satisfied and more productive than those motivated solely by money or prestige. The ranks of the purpose-driven include people who drop out of law school to pursue a passion for interpretive dance, but they also include individuals who excel in management positions because they find meaning and passion in leading others. So, who are purpose-driven people – and why does your company need them? Aaron Hurst, author and CEO of Imperative, explains more in this insightful article.


The Perception of Competence

Category : 2015

At the executive level, we are surrounded by individuals who are intelligent, well read, and who typically possess tremendous poise and executive presence theintegration of temperament, competencies, and skills that enable leaders to influence others and drive results.

While executive presence and measurable results ultimately reveal more about capability and potential long-term performance, the perception of competence carries a lot of weight in making first impressions and reaping the related opportunities.  In a world where first impressions can create a lasting “halo effect”, some individuals seem to benefit well beyond that initial impact.

Conversely, a less than stellar first impression can limit opportunities.  Most of us work hard to “package” ourselves as best we can relative to our personal presentation.  That is why it is puzzling to see so many people allowing the way they speak and write to atrophy at an alarming rate.    It creates not just a first impression but one that carries forward through force of habit, resulting in a significantly less positive or even negative first, and lasting, impression.

Sure, the decline of grammar and verbal skills are a result of our popular culture with music, social media, etc. leading the way, but the outcome is this…more and more often, really smart people with strong personal presence look great until they open their mouths or put something in writing.  This phenomenon can be easily be attributed to the younger generations of pre-teens, teens, and Millennials.  However, Gen Xers and beyond have also readily adopted these foibles.  Hearing that something “sucks”, confusing “there and their” or “your and you’re,” and a lack of some basic manners, will take the polish off of a good-looking apple.

Sadly, this has become acceptable in more and more arenas.  But wait, has it really?  Take a look around you at the HIPO’s (High Potentials), the cream of the crop, those who run or will run organizations.  Are these negative attributes regularly associated with the key leaders in your organization?  No, clearly they are not.

As a leader, what is your organizational tolerance for the lack of refinement these behaviors demonstrate?  Here are a few suggestions to help address the matter:

  • Bring the topic to the forefront and designate writing and speaking skills as desirable career attributes.
  • Counsel individuals to create an awareness of the need for improvement.
  • Encourage leaders to purposefully model the behaviors and language that communicate competence and executive presence.
  • Provide training to address the capability gaps hidden by the perception of competence.

Raising awareness of speaking and writing acumen as attributes of successful leaders is important.  When we fail to do so, we are doing a disservice to individuals who would otherwise contribute more substantially to the organization and to their careers.

Maintaining Momentum on Your #1 Priority

Category : 2015

We learned something new about trains over the holidays. When a train is operating at full speed, air pressure is maintained at a constant level in the lines.  When the brakes are applied the air pressure is lessened, thus slowing or stopping the train. With resulting reduction in the train’s air pressure, the train will lose momentum or grind to a halt. It’s not unlike when the wind goes out of the sails of a boat.
An internally run executive search has similarities to this scenario.  The desired outcome – an outstanding hire – while often listed on paper as an organization’s #1 priority, competes for time and energy with other ‘urgent’ but less strategic projects. Critical momentum is lost as mental focus gets unevenly applied.
That’s where partnering with a retained search firm can ensure that the #1 priority remains just that. Some questions to help determine if a retained search firm will ensure you maintain momentum on that strategic hire:

  • Time / Focus – it is important…but, is it your #1 priority every day?
  • Search Execution Expertise – will your process and resources help you hire optimal talent?
  • Market Awareness – do you know the specific talent marketplace?
  • External Perspective – are you too close to the situation?
  • Confidentiality – does the search need to be conducted on a confidential basis?

If the search can be completed at the highest possible levels using internal resources that should be the outcome.  But, if any of the factors listed above come into play, putting momentum at risk, consider engaging a retained search firm.