recruiting leadership for change…..

now-hiringI am going to focus on this so critical but so less debated topic.

People are the most important part of the transformation process. In times of change, strong senior leadership is crucial to steer an organisation through the inevitable upheavals it will encounter. Organisations cannot be changed without the support of key leaders.

The impact that leadership has on business outcomes as well as on organisational culture makes it almost a must to ensure a successful hiring and induction. Such recruitment is meant to deliver transformation while maintaining business continuity. Leaders need to have the ability to make employees see value in carrying out the alterations that must take place.

Often a key question is – should the hiring fix the here and now issues or should it lead to creation of a lasting value over the mid to long term. There are no obvious easy answers here and the complexities of business demand that both the imperatives be addressed in a balanced manner.

People come with great resumes and tremendous work history/experience base. Tough to argue with the document. But we all have seen too many instances of perfect resumes not being effective. So the need is to really understand them as individuals.  What needs exploring are the intangibles of leadership, communication style and change agility.

The HOW of this assessment is the difficult part. The discussion has to shift from profession and work to the individual. More open ended topics like their impression of a situation, what they enjoyed about a book they read, how do they relate to people. A lot of what we become is ingrained during the initial formative years. Hence an understanding of the family background, where they grew up, the school they went to, what the parents do – are all significant. It gives a really good perspective about who they were as people. In a way it is an attempt to go beyond the obvious and explore the education, experience and the human factor.

So much time is spent with colleagues in the office that you need to make sure of the cultural fit. Look for people with a strong set of values, good work ethic and great communication skills. Leaders who can be a part of the team and motivate people, who are adaptable to change and have emotional intelligence. A critical requirement is the ability to be a talent magnet – amazing how a capable leader proliferates capable people all through the organisation.

At the recently concluded ET Awards for Corporate Excellence last Sunday, the most sought after management guru Ram Charan was asked on the traits to look for while selecting CEO’s. He responded so crisply :

– a person who has continually increased his or her sphere of work and bandwidth. Can the person handle complexity and sort/sift out and select properly the key issues

–  does the person know how to make money – P&L understanding/management

– can they build internal and external relationships

– can they select the right people

Leadership can inspire and motivate an organisation to move in the targeted direction. Strong leaders who understand this necessity can engender a culture of empowering employees to move forward and keep the needed change on track.

2 possible actions to ponder :

– what qualities are dear to you when you seek to recruit and how do you assess people on those

– if your career objective is to become a CEO, determine the course you should chart to satisfy the Ram Charan criteria


best wishes


4 thoughts on “recruiting leadership for change…..

  1. Undoubtedly, the list of attributes for leadership is endless but encapsulated very well in your post.I cannot resist the temptation of adding two more. One, to borrow a phrase, leader should be a dreamer and a doer. Dreamer in the sense that he is able to create a powerful vision around which he rallies his organisation and a doer in the sense that he is able to weave an organisational culture of meritocracy so as to have the right people in right leadership spots which in turn craft strategies that balances the short term with long and execute them very effectively.Second, if leaders want to create lasting & sustainable business masterpieces in the emerging socio- economic contexts of domestic and global economic landscapes,they should have the moral compass to continually seek objectives that are larger than themselves. And the list keeps evolving…..

  2. On ability to select the right people

    Folks a very important aspect to deeply evaluate. I believe in doing it a few ways
    1. Focus on the task- what type of person does it need. This actually establishes the soft JD- sometimes the ones you cannot write in a JD but think deeply about when you want a person to take on the task
    2. Think how the role / job will evolve- just like it was said, not for here and now for the longer term

    A small story- Its not necessarily a trait that is must have, but energizes me when I see it.

    Being ambitious- from the discipline I am in Sales- I believe this is a great to have quality. We need people who have a Dream, it could be to provide for their families, to live well and to go see the world etc., etc., while these do sound material and probably not all the way up the heirarchy, this desire when chanelled effectively ensuring the person displays integrity is a super quality

    Another- Discipline, while I am not much of a sportsperson my self, a well turned out individual, appearing healthy, exuding energy works very well.
    Most (if not all) things in life I realized (maybe a bit late) need a high degree of discipline, the gym- wake up and turn up, the child needs to go learn the guitar- wake him up and turn up, practice after class….you want to do well at work, seek out your goal, go after with tenacity and discipline- A great thing to assess is this quality- nothing prescriptive here but to seek

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