Executive search is often shrouded in secrecy; for those outside the industry, its inner workings are left to much supposition. Working behind the scenes, executive search consultants are the movers and shakers of recruitment. Although arguably as interesting, diverse, challenging and lucrative as consulting in any other domain – executive search is a career path rarely publicized or promoted in mainstream avenues.
The simplest rules are the most effective ones. I endorse the rule of the 3 “C’s” from a Corporate Director who I was fortunate enough to work with on a Board and who has unfortunately left us far too early. You know the type of person who is sensible and who always channels you into using the facts and good judgment.
One of the social relationships which deserves our attention is without a doubt the one that we have with work, its content, and its issues. To illustrate this, and to trace a parallel with today, let’s take a look at the Renaissance era, and talk about the Intendant Vatel.
Diversity is a matter in fashion. It has even become an issue in our organizations who are appointing “Diversity Managers” within Human Resources departments. Their role is often to ensure that gender equality is respected by promoting the emergence of women leaders while encouraging cultural and ethnic diversity and of sexual orientation. Some companies are therefore declaring themselves “pro-woman” or “pro-gay” or “pro-ethnic”. Of course we applaud and want more. But beyond good intentions, what is the actual strategy of diversification in viewpoints and perspectives? After all, shouldn’t all diversity mainly serve this?
2020 is not far off. 2020 is still to be defined. Although it has less to be fantasized about than its famous predecessor “Y2K” for the year 2000, 2020 is still a source of anxiety and uncertainty. However, there is a good chance that everything will stay the same as it is now, but more refined. So here is a little exercise in HR futurology based on emerging trends in the business world and society.
They’re called Sarah, Bill or Mike, and they are your regulars and the biggest consumers of human resources. You know them off by heart and their stories as well. Incompetent candidates, employees with bad attitudes, the younger generations are lazy, baby boomers are beyond it - to hear them say it, without them the department would collapse. Until one day ... Bill has a skiing accident which leaves him in bed flat on his back for 8 weeks (this is a true story but any resemblance to people in your organization is purely coincidental and will be denied by the author).
We are not in a Steven Spielberg film but indeed in buildings in downtown Toronto and Montreal. These are “out of the ordinary” scenes of some professional “headhunters” in the executive recruitment firm for which I work. Today, there are thirty young students, in their final year of a Bachelor’s degree in administration, marketing or engineering, who are competing for access to the CEO for a Day program. This is a program to recruit a student to be “matched” with a CEO who will spend a full day with him or her.