Tag: CEO

Insights with Y&R CEO David Sable: Why You Don’t Need the Corner Office

Insights with Y&R CEO David Sable: Why You Don’t Need the Corner Office

David Sable is a world traveler, a gamer, a die-hard Doors fan, and a self-proclaimed hippie at heart. I had a lot of fun talking with David – who is also the Global CEO of Y&R, one of the world’s leading global marketing communications companies. David was an early digital entrepreneur, and he is still tapped for marketing and digital expertise around the world.

David is a distinguished leader in several realms – business, marketing, digital, and philanthropy (he serves as Chair of UNICEF’s New York Board and was named one of the 10 Most Generous Marketing Geniuses by Fast Company in 2013). Here’s what he says it takes to become a leader of leaders.

 

Leadership isn’t inherited – it’s learned from great mentors. David discovered that learnings could come from unexpected mentors, and he found how much there is to gain from keeping yourself open to every side of an argument. The most important lesson he learned – you don’t need the corner office to get big things done. Here’s why:

 

Leadership is also forged from adversity. David talks about the most important trait a leader must possess in order to learn from a difficult situation.

 

For more of my conversation with David Sable, check out DaveCarvajal.com/videos. You’ll also find other insights from some of my favorite leaders on the planet. And, David has an active presence in the blogosphere – you can read his blog at www.weeklyramble.com.

How CEOs and Board Members Can Make the Best Hire Together

How CEOs and Board Members Can Make the Best Hire Together

Often times, performance improvement hinges on making an important executive hire that is necessary to fill a key gap in your team. When teams begin to consistently miss their KPIs, MBOs and other metrics, the consequences of low performance fall squarely on the shoulders of the CEO.

Achieving high-growth at a startup is difficult, and it can be an even bigger feat to sustain the same level of growth as a company matures. Series B funding comes with greater expectations for founders and CEOs. Boards can easily decide that in this pivotal moment, given the performance metrics or lack thereof, it may also be time for that dreaded conversation about a succession plan or an immediate replacement plan.

So what can you do as a CEO when you’re in the midst of a turnaround plan or have already launched an executive search and the board is worried about continued deterioration in performance?

First, understand that when any board expresses this concern to the CEO, what they really mean is, ‘You better make something happen fast.’ The hard truth is that they’re not talking about your team’s failure to perform, they’re talking about your failure in leadership performance. And if you’re incapable of solving this problem as a leader, you might have reached the end of your tenure.

Making the right or wrong executive hire in this situation can be your saving grace, or give the board more reason to give you the boot.

The weight of this pressure on a CEO can unfortunately make a hiring process all the more difficult. Board members might want to step into operating roles, make introductions and suggest potential candidates to fill the role. This is well-intentioned, and occasionally seems like a promising idea. As a CEO, you feel obligated to meet those candidates and the feeling is awfully similar to being set up on a blind date by a friend who means well but doesn’t fully understand what your wants and needs are.

These kind of referrals still limit you to Level 2 Recruiting—a blunt, passive recruiting strategy based on referrals, networking and candidates that are leftover from other searches or unemployed (often with good reason). If you end up hiring the person the board recommended and it doesn’t work out—as CEO, you’re still the one responsible for the whole mess.

The biggest factor determining the success or failure of any CEO is his or her ability to recruit and hire well. And when something as important as an executive search—and potentially your own position in an organization—is on the line, you want to make sure that the job is done with mastery.

Rather than you or your board members dabbling in recruiting and using up the precious time and energy you need to drive your team’s performance, bring in the right expert—not just someone referred by the board. Partner with someone who has built companies like yours before, who understands core competencies and culture fit and can elevate your search to Level 3 Recruiting™. Level 3 Recruiting™ is about precision extraction and a refined selection process that secures the top 1{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} A+ executive leaders.

This collaborative process is the best way CEOs and boards, especially in the midst of intense pressure or even in a crisis situation, can make sure they make the best hire.

What CEOs get wrong about recruiting & how to break out of the box

What CEOs get wrong about recruiting & how to break out of the box

CEOs often set out to make an executive hire because they’re in some kind of pain. They might be missing a key player on the team or a person doing the role right now is failing–and it’s affecting everything from performance metrics to relationships with board members. Recruiting the right leader can put an end to that pain or add to it, depending on the quality of the hire. All this pressure can lead an employer to feeling trapped. When you don’t have options, it’s easy to get into a scarcity mindset–a mindset that actually limits your ability to recruit and hire the best candidates.

There are two sides of the table in every hiring process. Masterful recruiting requires understanding the mindset on each side of the table. As a CEO, recognizing and understanding the mindset with which you are approaching the hiring process is crucial if you want to optimize results and find candidates who are uniquely qualified to succeed at your organization.

Much of the pain that a CEO or employer experiences prior to making an important hire has to do with the need for someone to step in and execute the functional role. As the CEO, you might have had to step into the role yourself, on top of running a hiring process and putting out the day-to-day fires that come with running a business in high-growth mode.

And when the need for someone to come in and help you execute functionally is the most palpable thorn in your foot, you’re prone to committing one of the worst hiring mistakes a CEO can make. Because what you’re feeling most intensely is the need for someone who can get things done in the functional role, you might find yourself placing the highest priority on technical chops in the search process.

Technical chops are undeniably important. Keep in mind that candidates with extraordinary skills must be able to perform those skills within a team so that the organization–not just the individual–soars.

To break out of the typical employer’s scarcity mindset, pay close attention to the other defining characteristics that are of huge importance in a hiring decision–core values, unique proven experience, leadership gravitas, agility, biases and critical thinking.

Organizational culture and the human aspect of work are undervalued, even though they are major determinants of your team’s ability to realize the company’s greater purpose. Its impact might not be as glaring as an empty desk in the office, but an organization’s culture is like a strong immune system and it will squeeze out those that are harmful to the greater body.

In reality, the biggest factor determining the success or failure of a leader at any company is a core values match between his or her personal DNA and the cultural DNA of the organization. Culture fit accounts for 60{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} of a candidate’s ability to build enterprise value within a company. Core competencies, hard skills and technical acumen, are responsible for just 20{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} of success. Core competencies ensure that a candidate can excel within a role; a core values match ensures that candidates can help you achieve your mission and the vision for the organization.

CEO Spotlight: What To Do When Performance Numbers Suck

CEO Spotlight: What To Do When Performance Numbers Suck

CEOs are responsible for driving the highest possible performance results. Of course, this task is much easier said than done. Teams miss their KPIs and MBOs for any number of reasons. Sometimes, despite the strength of your leadership, you know your own expertise in making it better is limited.

So how do you get performance back on track fast? Skillful leaders are able to achieve results through their team the same way a good coach builds team performance by leveraging individual talents and filling the gaps. Sometimes CEOs and coaches feel torn about what to do when it comes to making tough calls on talent. Here are your options:

  1. Train: You can send someone to get the training they need to improve individual and team performance. It’s a good idea to develop the skills in your team, but this option takes a significant investment in time. In the months that it takes for this person to learn new skills, he or she might have the theoretical or academic understanding of how to solve a problem – but the person will still lack the the years it takes to develop mastery. If your business is in high growth mode, any individual’s capacity to learn – no matter how strong a team member he or she might be – will likely be outpaced by the needs of your company.
  2. Outsource: You could outsource a problem area to a consulting firm. This might be a good plan for skills that are not strategic to your vision and goals. Keep in mind that this option is expensive and you are not guaranteed quality. If you need to increase performance in an area that is strategic to your mission and vision, then you need to build the capacity internally.
  3. Recruit: That leaves a CEO with the best option for developing capacity in a high-growth company. Recruit and hire a world champion to fill the gap your team is missing. And remember that hiring must be done with mastery. Dabbling in recruiting and making the wrong hire will only add to whatever problems you’re already facing.
  4. Nothing: The last option is to do nothing. CEOs do this all the time by choosing not to hire an expert. Sometimes it’s worse and they take on yet another set of responsibilities for themselves to prove their personal significance. This is the most painful option that often causes the kind of skull-crushing brain damage that creates suffering for everyone involved.

Theodore Roosevelt said, “In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.”

Make the right executive decision and remember that the best utilization of venture capital is to acquire the right human capital.

Are You Guilty of Committing the 7 Deadly Sins of Leadership?

Are You Guilty of Committing the 7 Deadly Sins of Leadership?

These are not the traditional ABCs of deadly sins (i.e., avarice, greed, lust). As humans and leaders, we know success and its opposite are complex parts of life, not cut-and-dried results of moral failure.

Exhibiting the following traits doesn’t make you a bad person. The fact that you are reading this means that you are a person who is actively working to become a better leader. Through a few silent behaviors, however, you may be contributing to an environment that stunts your organization’s promise.

As a C-suite executive leader, your colleagues take their cues from you. If you are mired in bad habits, you are closing yourself off to reality, misguiding your team, missing opportunities, and overall not enjoying your work. So use the following list as a checkpoint. If you commit these “sins” regularly, heed the words of Ice Cube himself and “check yourself before you wreck yourself.” It could be time to start shifting your perspective.

1. SELF- DOUBT

We grow up with a distorted sense of confidence: either we have too much or too little. In leadership, confidence is essential. Let’s compare the effects of confidence and doubt.

Confidence creates committed action, curiosity, creativity, cooperation and communication—all things CEOs must stand upon as the company’s rock. Confidence makes this possible because you have a healthy sense of your skills and experience, as well as your place among your team.

Doubt is distortion from which flows fear, anxiety, negativity, and isolation from the team. A company with ailing roots will never thrive.

Luckily, confidence can be inborn, and as discussed in my post on the fixed vs. growth mindset, it can be built. It is also your job to instill it in your employees. That’s what great leaders do—create certainty by putting aside nagging self-doubt in order to express positive clarity.

I don’t mean shooting positivity beams wildly in all directions. I mean setting achievable and challenging goals, praising what is going right, and giving honest feedback about what is not working. To remove self-doubt, remove the focus from yourself and tell your team how and why they are essential to the achievement of strategic outcomes.

2. AFFECTATION

Affectation is pretending to be someone you’re not. Masks are easy to see through because it’s obvious the person is focusing on the wrong things, like their appearance, over the team’s needs.

True leaders are genuine because they bring their own experience to the table. They meet experiences head-on, drawing conclusions and learning lessons they can share.

There will always be others who seem bigger, more successful, and with more presence than you. It’s great to take notes from highly successful executives, and put them into practice. If you’re copying verbatim from the big-name leadership gurus, you’re not leading…you’re following.

Nothing good comes from envy. Resources and inspiration are plentiful, and stillyou must be the one to interpret, to apply, to inspire, and to lead your unique organization.

3. ARROGANCE

Those dealing with self-doubt may think this isn’t their issue. And it is quite easy to swing to the extreme, especially when money, public image, and status are at stake. The key word to checking arrogance is respect—respect for other people’s tempo, boundaries, and knowledge.

Arrogance can lead you to believe you know better than the rest of the team, that you know better than everyone. If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room. And if you’re talking more than you’re listening, you are blocking out valuable insights. Why even head an organization if you know how to do it all yourself? Leaders make work cohesive—not make work a vehicle for their egos.

4. MICROMANAGING

Micromanaging comes from a whole host of issues: arrogance of thinking that you can run an operation all by yourself, greed to flex your brain power and do every task yourself, and doubt in your team rolled into one. If you think you may be micro-managing, ask yourself about the last time you checked in with your employees. If you don’t ask them to define their own challenges and strategies for meeting them, you may want to give more trust.

5. ANGER

Anger should be rightful, not righteous. It is authentic to let yourself feel upset when things go awry. Blind, overwhelming anger is just emotion—pure force that controls you. Left unchecked, it wreaks havoc on your health and relationships. If your stress levels are through the roof, consider taking a step back and examining: Are you overly attached to winning at all costs? Is your self worth tied to some egocentric victory? Perhaps you fear criticism? The next time you feel gripped to take it out on your employees, go outside and take a few breaths. Take a vacation. Or consider yoga, meditation, coaching, and even therapy if your negative interactions at work outweigh the positive.

6. INDECISION

Leaders call the final shots on the best course of action for their organization. When you waffle between courses of action for too long, you may fall behind competition who is willing to take risks and roll with the consequences or miss out on market opportunity. Indecision and procrastination also waste the company’s time, lowering morale and progress—perhaps even revenue. You won’t grow if you’re not making some kind of progress every day.

7. SHORT-SIGHTEDNESS

Being a workaholic is a badge of commitment—long hours are often important to a company’s success, and executives should be the most passionate employees. But focusing too much on one thing, whether it’s immediate profits over culture, or hours rather than productivity, can lead to short-sightedness.

Conversely, taking time to learn about colleagues personal lives, celebrating progress, achievements, and recognizing the road ahead all contribute to loyalty, contentment, and working towards a common purpose. An enjoyable process focused on performance excellence makes results so much sweeter.

This is the greatest time in the history of the world to be a corporate leader. We’re all looking to conquer the world with what we are doing. We need good people to help us do it. People who want to achieve success for themselves and can help us do it as a team. Investing in our people, making culture our strategic advantage is the way to victory in our businesses and in our lives.

 

The Ultimate Truth About Big Bad Search Firms

The Ultimate Truth About Big Bad Search Firms

There was a saying, “No one ever got fired for buying IBM,” that you might have applied to choosing a big brand search firm. You now realize that these search firms have no clue what you need. Worse, they don’t care.

Too many leaders choose a big brand search firm because of the false sense of security that this brings. The most important thing in choosing an executive search partner is the person who’s actually doing the work, not the brand of the company.

Is your business in high growth mode? Do you want to meet the best candidates? Do you want to meet them fast? Do you want the expert advice of someone who can close the deal? If you work with a big search firm, you’ll be disappointed. Big firms are used to working with companies growing at a slower rate than yours. Their sense of urgency is much more relaxed. Since they’re used to working with big companies, the importance of your search may not be as high as if you were a Fortune 500 company. They might take 9 months to conduct a search. An elite, special forces boutique firm can do it in a fraction of that time.

Remember, the best tech is not at IBM or any of the big tech firms. It’s usually at the smaller, ankle-biter firms that are completely disrupting and re-inventing the category. This is true of boutique executive search firms as well.

To achieve the greatest potential you have as a leader and to realize your entrepreneurial dreams, you’ll need to have the courage to step outside the box of big brand thinking. Rather than rely on flashy names and referrals from other people who have no idea what you need, apply your best critical thinking and executive decision making to choose the search partner that’s right for you.

 

CEO Spotlight: How to Damage Control A Bad Hire Disaster

CEO Spotlight: How to Damage Control A Bad Hire Disaster

Powering through an executive search can feel even more daunting the second time around when you need to replace a bad hire. The stakes are much higher and there’s no more room for error. Ironically, this pressure can increase your chance of making a bad situation worse.

The more severe an accident, the more attention it attracts. Rubbernecking is a leading cause of car accidents. When there’s already a pileup on the road, the chance of another accident taking place increases as drivers become distracted with the initial crash. Likewise, working through a failed executive search is visible both internally and externally and attracts gawkers. This adds distractions and complications to your new search.

Studies show that work-related stress releases adrenaline and cortisol, kicking us into fight, flight or freeze mode. If you feel as if you’ve been backed into a corner because of a bad hire, it’s best to have professional first responders come to your rescue and save the day. These are the responses you might have:

Freeze

It’s the insane thing to do, but many of us continue to do the same thing over while expecting different results. There was already a failure in the process, partnership and/or decision. You might choose to stick with the same hiring process and hiring partner that got you stuck with a bad hire in the first place – especially if it’s a big name firm, the kind that cares the least about your results. Failure can make us want to cling to the familiar. Unfortunately, choosing this route keeps you in a cycle of poor results.

Flight

You might decide to take action fast. Something, anything has to be done right away. While the courage to take action is laudable, it can also be risky. Everyone is pressuring you to make the problem go away. Your search partner might be sending you recycled candidates from other searches – candidates who don’t pass the airport test or don’t have the culture fit necessary to succeed at your organization. Maybe your board members are sending over referrals from their networks. Be wary of settling for these candidates just for the sake of making a new hire fast. Remember that there is an A+ player for every role in every company and every CEO should know this. Settling for anything less will only rob you of your entrepreneurial dreams.

Fight

If you’ve already made one bad hire, the thing that is required in order for you to make a better decision is to take a strategic risk and secure the win. You’ll need to choose a different plan than what you’ve already been doing. Step out of your comfort zone. Choose courage over security. Execute a different process to achieve a greater result.

The best utilization of venture capital is to acquire the right human capital. Exercise your abundance mindset and the bold confidence you need to achieve your mission. Choose a search partner with proven experience in Level 3 Recruiting™ who can run a proper Core Fit Process™ and shares your courage and mindset. A good recruiter has a keen interest in recruiting and knows all the rules. A great recruiter knows how to go beyond the rules and is just as invested in your success as you are.

How to Secure the Team Win Without its Captain

How to Secure the Team Win Without its Captain

You’re missing a key player on your leadership team and it’s affecting your entire operation. Morale is down. People are kicking the dirt on the ground. It’s been months since anyone on that functional team has felt a tinge of success. The void has created hesitation, doubt and fear. Impending functional doom seems imminent as other staff members contemplate jumping ship and resigning.

The pressure from your team, the company and the board is unrelenting. You can feel the apprehension in the air, and you’re not quite sure what to do about it. It’s easy in this moment to begin to question your own plan and leadership capacity.

So what do you do?

There are only a few things you need to remember:

  1. SNAP OUT OF IT! Remember – you are a total winner! Get your mojo back and activate your power, peace and prosperity muscles.
  2. Your greatest resource is your resourcefulness. Have an honest dialogue with your team. Ask for their support. Paint a picture of the greater vision that you have for the team, the future leader you want to bring in and for the organization as a whole. This is how you can rally the team and uplift morale. You need to protect, nurture and grow those team members in the absence of a chief functional officer until such time when you find the right A+ hire.
  3. There is an A+ player for every role in every company. Have you mapped out what success looks like for the functional leader you want to hire? Have you created a winning profile that includes both technical chops and the right culture fit? As you seek to fill the position, are you going beyond online search and networking? There is a better way of recruiting – an elite, special forces approach – that is Level 3 Recruiting™. Level 3 Recruiting™ is defined by a refined selection process, precision extraction and securing the top 1{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} of A+ executive leaders.
  4. Especially during a low point, it’s crucial to remember that victory is possible! Don’t settle for a mediocre candidate to fill the missing role quickly. Once you’ve hired your A+ player, your team will emerge a hundred times better and stronger than before.

Now go, attack, win!

How to Increase Value While Avoiding Costly Hiring Mistakes

How to Increase Value While Avoiding Costly Hiring Mistakes

CEOs tend to seriously underestimate the costs of making an executive hire. Aside from the costs of acquisition, the costs of replacing a top executive can run up to 500{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} of annual salary — or upwards of $1,750,000 to fill a leadership role with annual cash compensation of $350k.

What goes into these figures? It depends on the quality of your executive search:

Executive Search Recruiting Hiring Costs Dave Carvajal

When it comes to your important executive search, the costs add up to one conclusion: get it right the very first time, every time you seek to fill a key leadership role. Dabbling in recruiting without having the expertise to execute well is not worth the risk.

A master headhunter who understands the unique culture and goals of your firm can provide you with a structured methodology and concrete conceptual models to achieve 90{f7a32599756963b989bde631f1a44401cc789db6f847c3735c9e8f651be632a4} or better success rates. CEOs can create massive enterprise value while avoiding costly hiring mistakes. 

How to Know if You’re in the Right Leadership Role

How to Know if You’re in the Right Leadership Role

You are the architect of your life. The vision and grand purpose of your life must be decided and committed on by none other than yourself if you are to maximize your life’s meaning. If you’re in the wrong leadership role, you’re probably the first to sense it. Are you still learning, growing and moving closer to the greatest version of yourself?

Here are three signs that you’ve found the leadership role that is truly best for you.

1) It Keeps You on Your Toes

Great leaders love a challenge. Innovators have an insatiable urge to build and create. Ultimately, you’ll know you’ve found the right leadership role when you feel driven to solve problems, take strategic risks and push your business to greater performance. When you engage with your work out of obligation and fear of risk or challenge, you leave at the end of the day feeling exhausted or anxious. When you’ve found a role that dares you to level-up your own leadership capabilities, you’ll begin to anticipate activity that drives production. You’ll feel pride, fulfillment and a sense of invigoration. You’ll go home thinking about the mission, not because you’re worried, but because the work has tapped your skill set and engaged you at the core of who you want to become.

2) You Trust Your Team

When you take a leadership role, you should feel that your executive team is communicating and cooperating in all the right ways to bring the company’s vision into reality. Strong trust in your team is rooted in a performance-based culture of excellence. Some companies try to build a foundation of false harmony in order to achieve operational excellence. They fill their office space with ping pong tables, snack rooms and kegerators to appear competitive with Google-style employment perks and to lure top recruits. But no one works for Google because of the free food. When your team is driven by excellence in its craft, by excellence in the rigorous disciplines required for disintermediation of an entire industry then, and only then, can you have harmony from the top down and from the bottom up in professional life. Moreover, you’ll be working in culture of excellence where colleagues can trust and rely on each other to grow, expand, provide more value to your clients and become more. This is the way to prosperity.

3) You’re Working For Something Greater Than Yourself

Everyone wants happiness from their professional role. This includes a sense of security and appropriate compensation. A big paycheck, even if it’s from a big name, might provide partial fulfillment. The most fulfilling roles are those where you genuinely feel connected to a mission that’s larger than yourself and you are being pulled to grow and expand in your capabilities. Productivity drives progress and lifts humanity. A great company always has a vision for serving humanity at its core. Look for companies whose vision matches yours, and you’ll have an enduring source of energy and passion for the work. You might find value in doing the role even if it comes with a smaller paycheck than you’re used to.