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Links to Leadership – January 2016

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Links to Recent Articles On Executive Leadership For Builder Leaders & their Investors
JANUARY 2016

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The Chef Recommends

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.
ToddHandChef

A few months ago, my wife and I had dinner at Farm & Table in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The restaurant adheres to the “slow food” philosophy as it sources much of its products locally, uses seasonal ingredients, and even boasts its own farm, which is located right behind the restaurant. My wife is not a picky eater. However, the dish she desired contained garbanzo beans, which she doesn’t like. She asked the waiter if the dish could be served without the beans. The waiter said that he’d ask the chef to see if this was possible. Much to our surprise, the waiter came back to tell us that the chef said the dish would not be worth it without the beans, and encouraged my wife to take a chance and order the dish as it was meant to be cooked. The waiter told us that the chef insisted that she would enjoy it, beans and all. So, my wife took a leap of faith and ordered the dish the way the chef had envisioned serving it. And, the chef was right, he knew what he was creating, and knew that it would be satisfying, and my wife truly enjoyed it.

You might be thinking right now, ‘What does a farm to table meal have to do with executive search?’ The answer to this question is not complicated. The experience at the restaurant resonated with what I do when I work with my clients. When an organization engages me to help them search for the right talent for their team, I need to act like a chef, even if the organization is used to dealing with waiters. There’s nothing wrong with being a waiter, especially those who listen and bring customers exactly what they are asking for, however, a chef knows his dishes best, and knows that serving them as designed will give his customers the most delicious experience they can have.

When I begin the search process with a client, I ask them to provide me with a job description and a list of criteria they are looking for the candidates to have. But finding a great fit is not an ala carte endeavor. Each search requires that I deeply understand the organization’s needs and culture, as well as the hiring team’s communication style. My team and I at BSG have a tried and true process for doing this, and the information we gather helps us definitively find the right candidates for the positions. Often, our work and expertise will significantly change the search requirements that were initially submitted with the “order.”

My wife is not the only person who’s good at taking suggestions; my experience has shown me the C-Suite leaders are as well, especially where interviewing techniques are concerned.

On more than one occasion I have worked with a CEO that was great at asking candidates qualifying questions. The CEOs would come away from these interviews having a complete sense that they understood what each candidate might bring to their respective organization. Interviews like these are only one-sided; organizations benefit from a holistic interview process, and must embrace the reality that they are being interviewed and need to put their best foot forward as much as the candidate. All businesses want A-player talent, so they need to conduct themselves as A-player companies. To find the right fit for your organization this is what I recommend to CEO’s:

  • Change your mindset, don’t look at the interview as a means of extracting information, looking at it as a buying and selling exchange.
  • Remember that every exchange someone has with your organization is their experience with your brand, and your interview process is a definitive extension of this.
  • If you present your most professional, organized self during the interview process; from first communication, to phone calls, to live meetings, to follows-ups, and continue to set and meet clear communication schedules your candidates will understand that this is the way you run your whole business.

Here is what you can expect in return for using this interview approach:

  • With a back and forth conversation style you’ll be able to see if you connect and easily communicate with the candidate and if they’d make a genuinely good fit.
  • Sometimes a candidate is not a right fit, you feel it, or they feel it, or due to some outside circumstances, it’s just not the right time to work together. If the interview process is clear and enjoyable, the candidate will become your advocate and a resource to recommend someone they know to your organization.
  • Once a candidate is chosen, contract negotiations and terms are agreed upon more quickly.

So, like my wife’s experience taking the chef’s expert approach to making a dish, consider my expert approach to finding the right A-player for your team.

Successful Search Starts with Strong Relationships

This article was originally published on LinkedIn.
Toddlogo

A few weeks ago I was talking to a friend of mine who works in publishing, and I was telling her that in my 20+ years of working I’ve seen a lot and learned even more and that I probably have enough anecdotes and proven professional advice to write a book. She quickly recommended writing a blog instead. So here we are.

You’re reading this post right now because a notification came up on your LinkedIn dashboard or it came up through your feed, or someone thought you’d like it and sent it to you. At some point, we met, connected, and perhaps worked together. Some of you know me quite well and have known me for a long time. Others don’t know me that well, and over the next few months I’m going to share more about my experience as an executive search professional.

Check out my LI profile and you’ll see that I’ve been working in executive search for twenty years, primarily with private equity, venture capital, and technology companies. Some of you might refer to me as a headhunter. Those of you who’ve worked with me and my organization know that finding the right candidate for a position is a far cry from someone looking to poach talent or accumulate the heads of enemies. Talent search goes beyond identifying possible candidates for leadership positions. Search begins with my relationship with the organizations looking for talent—it is this relationship that determines a successful placement.

Over the next few months, you can expect to hear from me on a regular basis, remember, I think I have a book’s worth of expertise and stories to share. My articles will focus on the main points of the process of finding the right person for your team. I explain how to identify what exactly a team needs and how a team needs to communicate through the search. I’ve worked with some amazing people and can tell what makes great C-­Suite players. I’ve learned a lot from my clients and will share profiles of what they do, and how they create and lead their teams.

One such organization, Achieve3000, a rapidly growing ed tech company that leads the field with its online differentiated literacy instruction and currently serves over 2 million students. Last year, Achieve 3000 was acquired by private equity firm Insight Venture Partners, and my team at BSGTV and I were asked to help search for Achieve3000’s new CFO. Along with Insight Venture Partners, my team and I partnered with Saki Dodelson, Achieve3000’s CEO, to find the best candidates for the position. Though the search was national, Achieve3000 is headquartered in Lakewood, NJ, so we focused on the NY metro area. We looked at people in many sectors; however the candidate ultimately placed did come from the education sector. Scott August brought the right mix of financial sophistication and showed a strong cultural and chemistry fit with the leadership team. It is incredibly rewarding when all the stars align on a search.

Speaking of great teams, BSG Team Ventures has been very busy:

BSG infographic

Next week I will delve deeper into search relationship building. In the meantime, please follow me here and on twitter @handtodd.

Happy New Year!

Executive Search | Chief Revenue Officer| Texas Teachers

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TexasTeachersLogoBlog

Chief Revenue Officer

REPORTS TO: CEO

Location: Houston, Texas

WEBSITE: http://www.texasteachers.org/

POSITION OVERVIEW

Texas Teachers seeks a seasoned business development executive to lead double-digit growth within the organization. Reporting to the CEO, the CRO will lead Texas Teachers’ national expansion initiative and be responsible for setting expansion strategy, negotiating state approvals, leading market entry and building market leadership. Initial focus will be on working state by state to negotiate accreditation for Texas Teachers’ Alternative Certification Program (“ACP”).

Does this sound like the opportunity for you? Read on… here!

INTERNAL SEARCH | BSG Team Ventures | Biotech Partner

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As you know…

We’re a twenty-year-old boutique retained executive search firm based in Boston, with multiple partners spanning the ecosystem of innovation — that’s technologies ranging from software to semiconductor; medical device & healthcare IT; cleanteach; edtech; fintech; and broad-spectrum private equity- and venture-backed businesses. Although we are binodal, with one foot planted in the Northeast in Boston and New York City and the other foot firm in the West Coast Bay Area, our principals are situated throughout the United States — as are our clients and engagements.

Our mission —

To ring in 2016, we are launching the biotech/life sciences practice for the firm. We have a history of launching and building new practice specialties, from edtech to cleanech; from VC to PE.

Our objective —

We’re seeking…

  • A peer. A colleague. A partner.
  • More…

BSG recruits CEO for RAMP

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BSG Team Ventures is pleased to announce the recruitment of Tom Racca, as Chief Executive Officer for RAMP Mr. Racca is a highly-recognized entrepreneur in the high technology industry with broad-based experience in marketing, sales, engineering, operations and finance for early-stage firms.

More…

BSG recruits CFO for Achieve3000, Inc.

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BSG Team Ventures is pleased to announce the recruitment of Scott August, as Chief Financial Officer for Achieve3000, Inc. Mr. August has over 30 years of finance, accounting, and mergers and acquisitions experience, as well as more than 15 years in the education industry.

More…

EXECUTIVE SEARCH | Chief Technology Officer | TriLumina

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TriluminaLogo

THE COMPANY

Laser Light Engines ® for advanced sensors

TriLumina, Corp is a semiconductor laser technology company which develops, manufactures and integrates among the fastest and most powerful semiconductor laser solutions in the world. TriLumina infrared emitters are capable of high power illumination for laser radar (LiDAR) depth sensing.

Developed from technology pioneered at Sandia National Labs in New Mexico, and with a patent portfolio of 8+ issued and numerous more pending, TriLumina’s innovations are anchored in VCSEL technology (ian acronym for Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers).

Founded in 2010, TriLumina is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Does this sound like the opportunity for you? Read on… here!

EXECUTIVE SEARCH | Chief Commercial Officer | TriLumina

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TriluminaLogo

THE COMPANY

Laser Light Engines ® for advanced sensors

TriLumina, Corp is a semiconductor laser technology company which develops, manufactures and integrates among the fastest and most powerful semiconductor laser solutions in the world. TriLumina infrared emitters are capable of high power illumination for laser radar (LiDAR) depth sensing.

Developed from technology pioneered at Sandia National Labs in New Mexico, and with a patent portfolio of 8+ issued and numerous more pending, TriLumina’s innovations are anchored in VCSEL technology (an acronym for Vertical Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers).

Founded in 2010, TriLumina is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Does this sound like the opportunity for you? Read on… here!

EXECUTIVE SEARCH | VP Learning Products | Human Capital Institute

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HGI


Reports To: CEO
Location: Cincinnati OR New York City
Website: http://www.hci.org/

POSITION OVERVIEW

Reporting directly to the CEO, and as a member of the senior management team, the VP of Learning Products will lead HCI in all facets of a well-developed and innovative education program. The VP will find cutting edge talent management strategies and distribute the content through educational programs. This VP will push the boundaries of learning modalities while leading HCI into a wider reaching international market. The VP will be responsible for running and scaling all aspects of educational product offerings, directly contributing to company growth.

Does this sound like the opportunity for you? Read on… here!

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