Talent Poaching Rampant

Tips to proactively retain talentA Just-Released Report On Talent Raiding Reveals Surprising Lack of Defensive People Strategies at U.S. Companies. Nearly 400 Leading CHROs and Talent Acquisition Leaders Have Weighed In. Let’s See What They’ve Got to Say

October 18, 2016 –

A full quarter of U.S. businesses are experiencing a marked increase in talent raids at the C-suite level. Yet most are woefully unprepared to combat the problem head on. This is among the key findings of a talent retention survey of nearly 400 human resource professionals conducted recently by Marlin Hawk, a global leadership advisory firm focused on next-generation talent, and Greenwich, Conn-based Hunt Scanlon Media.

Specifically, 54 percent of all responding HR experts indicated that their company either has no plan to ward off poachers or, if it does, they’re unaware of it. But of those talent acquisition professionals whose companies had a strategy in place, only 39 percent were satisfied with it.

Defending Talent

“What our survey demonstrates is a disconcerting lack of attentiveness on the part of many businesses to what is a growing problem,” said Marlin Hawk chief commercial & innovation officer Mark Oppenheimer. “No organization would let an intruder stroll in uncontested and walk off with its financial assets or intellectual property,” he added. “But when it comes to defending talent, the figurative gates seem to be wide open. It’s a huge mistake that can have an adverse impact on readiness to compete, growth targets, and share price.”

Recent headlines indicate that companies like Goldman Sachs, Netflix, Audi, Fox, and Tesla all have been victimized by a competitor plucking away some of their most talented leaders. Typically, there’s an initial approach, followed by an enticing offer, and then a crucial executive is whisked away. It happens everywhere, in all manner of businesses.  (…read more)


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Interim Executive

TCHG Stacked 1.5 x 2.6After a turnover event an Interim Executive is worth considering.

A turnover event represents a transitional turning point for a healthcare (or any) organization. The turnover generally occurs when the organization recognizes that the situation with the incumbent is no longer working and a change is necessary. This is rarely due to lack of competency of the incumbent. More than likely, the reasons include loss of credibility, increasing lack of fit with the rest of the administrative team or organization. Other reasons include the failure of a significant strategy or program, unacceptable operating results or perceived incorrect strategic direction. My own dissertation research revealed that in 36% of the cases, the turnover is related to the organization growing beyond the capability of the incumbent or termination for cause.

Once the necessity of a turnover event is recognized, the organization should take several steps. The organization should consider outplacement assistance for the departing executive. If the executive has little recent experience in the job market, outplacement support will be invaluable in easing their transition. The next step in the process for many organizations is the engagement of a retained search consultant. During the search that can take four months or more, the organization should consider its transition plan. Ideally, the organization would have a formal succession plan in place but my research showed that 57% of the surveyed organizations have a succession plan that addresses the process for handling the transition.

[TCHG comment:  Contemplating an Interim solution..? Utilizing our network of “C” level executives across the US, we are capable and experienced at assisting companies to identify the skills set and level of experience necessary to keep stakeholders at bay and ensure a smooth transition. For more information, contact us at (210-960-5800).]

If the organization does not have extensive depth for the role that is being replaced, it should consider interim executive services. An experienced interim executive can reduce the probability of the organization suffering a setback during the transition. The interim can also provide a thorough assessment of the current situation. This assessment can aid the recruitment process by better defining the skills and experiences that will be the best for the organization going forward. Retained search consultants conduct a site survey visit and interview a number of executives in an effort to better understand the organization’s needs. (…read more)

Raymond A. Snead, Jr., D.Sc., FHFMA, FACHE…a practicing Interim Chief Financial Officer with a Doctorate degree in Health Services Administration. 

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Mistakes and Bad E-mail Etiquette Can Help

Mistakes and Bad E-mail Etiquette Can Help – Imagine that you’re the 22-year-old co-founder of a small but growing tech start-up. One day, you get an unexpected e-mail from Mark Zuckerberg, the billionaire founder of Facebook. In a short e-mail sent to your personal address, Zuckerberg praises your company, calls himself a “big fan,” and says he’d love to meet with you one-on-one at Facebook’s headquarters.

How do you respond? Most experienced professionals would probably advise you to calm down, take a deep breath, and write a courteous e-mail back, perhaps one that starts “Dear Mr. Zuckerberg,” and praises the CEO (he is, after all, one of your heroes) before saying that yes, you’d absolutely love to meet with him at his earliest opportunity, and sure, you’ll hop the next flight to San Francisco if he wants to meet today.

But that’s not what Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel did when Zuckerberg e-mailed him in November of 2012. Instead of flattering the Facebook CEO or expressing his eagerness to meet, Spiegel (whose disappearing-photo app hadn’t yet become a household word) tapped out a shockingly casual e-mail on his iPhone:

“Thanks 🙂 would be happy to meet – I’ll let you know when I make it up to the Bay Area”

That’s it – no “Dear” or “Sincerely,” no effusive praise, just a smiley-face emoticon, a sentence fragment, and a vague, unpunctuated offer to meet at some indeterminate point in the future. It’s the kind of e-mail you’d write to an annoying high school classmate, not a billionaire tech mogul who could acquire your company and make you rich.

Spiegel’s e-mail, which he released earlier this week after a Forbes profile characterized the exchange in a way he didn’t appreciate, has been called cocky and arrogant. And it was. But it was also brilliant. By one-upping Zuckerberg’s breezy, informal style in his reply, Spiegel positioned himself as the CEO’s equal. Most people in Spiegel’s position would have conveyed shock and breathless excitement over being approached by someone like Zuckerberg. And I’d bet that Facebook’s subsequent pursuit of Snapchat – the social network offered $3 billion for the app last year, an offer Snapchat refused – is partially related to the fact that Spiegel played hard to get, and dialed down his enthusiasm from the start.

In most business situations, it’s helpful to abide by the time-tested rules of communication – proper spelling and grammar, courtesy and professionalism, and all of that. But, as Siegel’s e-mail shows, there’s another approach that can be even better when you’re trying to impress someone.

Call it “strategic sloppiness.” We’ve known for years that the higher you are on the food chain, the more license you’re allowed to take with the rules of professional communication. It’s why Michael Bloomberg can reply to e-mails with “tx” instead of spelling out “thanks,” and why many of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos’s e-mails to his subordinates consist of only a single question mark, appended to the top of a customer’s e-mail. As the boss, you can make as many mistakes as you want. Cutting corners is a time-saving mechanism that doubles as a display of dominance.

But in certain, very rare instances, non-CEOs can also benefit from bending the rules.

For example: Like every blogger who writes about tech start-ups, I get barraged by press releases and pitches from PR firms touting the latest apps and gadgets. And 90 percent of the time, I delete these e-mails without looking. But the 10 percent I respond to are often the ones that depart from the formula. I can still remember the PR guy who introduced himself with an e-mail that read “what things can i send you that you’ll actually give a crap about.” It was direct, puzzlingly sparse, and shockingly informal. I loved it, and e-mailed him back.

For another example: Here’s a cover letter that got passed around Wall Street last year. In it, the writer, a kid applying for an internship at an investment bank, took a brutally honest turn halfway through: “I won’t waste your time inflating my credentials, throwing around exaggerated job titles, or feeding you a line of crapp [sic],” he wrote. “The truth is I have no unbelievably special skills or genius eccentricities, but I do have a near perfect GPA and will work hard for you.” The blunt, unpolished letter was a huge gamble, but it paid off – by breaking the rules, the kid stood out from every other applicant with a “To Whom It May Concern” form letter. He got several interviews.

Now, some caveats:

  • Strategic sloppiness isn’t right for every situation. In my experience, the ultra-casual approach works best when the person you’re e-mailing is already familiar with you and your work, and interested in you for a job or a new project. It’s risky with strangers, whose communication styles you don’t know, and riskier yet with bosses, who tend to be older and more conservative, and might take your casual tone as a sign of disrespect.
  • It’s probably best not to try sloppiness in formal job applications (especially if you’re applying to be a copy editor).
  • Don’t be sloppy in a way that will cast doubt on your intelligence and/or language skills. Typing “tx” instead of “thanks” is much different than mixing up “your” and “you’re.”
  • Strategic sloppiness doesn’t work at every organization. The brash, misspelled cover letter that might get you noticed on a Wall Street trading floor might get you laughed out of an arts non-profit or a law firm.
  • Don’t go overboard. The goal here is to appear important, not incompetent. One grammar mistake says “I’m too busy to proofread every e-mail I send.” Twelve grammar mistakes says “I did not pass remedial English.”

Professional communication is extremely dicey territory with high stakes. So if you don’t feel comfortable using strategic sloppiness at your job, forget it. (If you’re uncomfortable, your e-mails will come off as forced anyway, which kind of defeats the purpose.)

But if you, like Snapchat’s Evan Siegel, want to show a powerful person that you’re important enough to be feared and respected, you might want to try playing fast and loose with your communication from time to time. If pulled off correctly, strategic sloppiness can be a great playing-field leveler. Just, please, no winky emoticons.

*** (Via Linked-In) Kevin Roose is a writer for New York magazine and nymag.com. His new book, Young Money, about the world of young Wall Street bankers, comes out next month.

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Developing Humility as a Leader

Developing Humility as a Leader – Whether we’re looking at business or politics, sports or entertainment, it’s clear we live in an era of self-celebration. Fame is equated with success, and being self-referential has become the norm. As a result we are encouraged to pump ourselves full of alarming self-confidence. Bluster and the alpha instinct, contends Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, professor of business psychology, often get mistaken for ability and effectiveness (at least for a while). It may well be why so many (incompetent) men rise ahead of women to leadership positions, as Chamorro-Premuzic argued in a recent HBR post.

Yes, we have scores of books, articles, and studies that warn us of the perils of hubris. The word comes from the Greek and means extreme pride and arrogance, generally indicating a loss of connection to reality brought about when those in power vastly overestimate their capabilities. And yes, many of us have also seen evidence that its opposite, humility, inspires loyalty, helps to build and sustain cohesive, productive team work, and decreases staff turnover. Jim Collins had a lot to say about CEOs he saw demonstrating modesty and leading quietly, not charismatically, in his 2001 bestseller Good to Great.

Yet the attribute of humility seems to be neglected in leadership development programs. And to the extent it is considered by managers rising through the ranks, it is often misunderstood. How can we change this?

First, let’s get a few things straight. Humility is not hospitality, courtesy, or a kind and friendly demeanor. Humility has nothing to do with being meek, weak, or indecisive. Perhaps more surprising, it does not entail shunning publicity. Organizations need people who get marketing, including self-marketing, to flourish and prosper. (read more…)

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Executives in Transition

Hey, CFO’s and all Executives in Transition: Don’t Be ‘That Guy’

Are you the type who communicates with recruiters only when you’re looking for a job? Take note: It may harm your career. An executive search professional, my role is to help client companies fill open positions. But I also get many calls and emails from senior financial officers who are looking for jobs. On rare occasions, serendipity intervenes and the person is actually a good fit for a current assignment. Otherwise, I try to help them as I can, usually with advice or networking support. I reserve Friday mornings for these job-seekers. It’s the right thing to do. (read more…)

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Convince Best Employees to Stay

Many of finance’s top performers plan to leave their jobs this year. Here’s how to buck the trend and convince best employees to stay

Half of all finance employees lack commitment to their current jobs, and the ones who are most likely to leave are the ones already meeting or exceeding expectations, including nearly one in three rated as high performers. At the same time, the vast majority of CFOs whom CEB surveyed as part of our Finance Talent research are already unhappy with the mix of finance talent at their disposal. They need to start doing a lot more to retain their best employees. (…read more)

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Made in the USA

Made in the USA

After years of offshore production, General Electric is moving much of its far-flung appliance-manufacturing operations back home. It is not alone. An exploration of the startling, sustainable, just-getting-started return of industry to the United States.

The Insourcing Boom – The Atlantic.

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CEO Influence

CEO Influence on Employees

CEO Influence. You may have heard that it’s unwise, when in public venues like parties or bars, to discuss sex, religion, or politics with anyone other than close friends. If anything, those topics should be avoided even more carefully at work, where strong emotions can interfere with productivity.
CFO.com (http://s.tt/1pPSq)

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Small Business CFO

Small Business CFO – When is the best time to hire

NY Times  – When to hire a small business CFO? A reliable financial officer can free a chief executive to focus on other parts of the firm once a company’s revenue reaches a certain point, some C.E.O.’s say.   (more…)
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The Mighty Middle Market

The Mighty Middle market companies, or those with between $10 million and $1 billion in revenues in this case, are “a key driving force behind the U.S. economy,” according to the research report released today jointly with Ohio State University’s Fisher College of Business, but “virtually ignored” by the media and policy-makers. The group comprises some 200,000 companies with more than $9 trillion in combined annual revenues, according to the study’s analysis of U.S. census data. (…more)

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