Authentic Influence

By Kevin Cashman

This article was originally published in Caring Magazine; volume 22, no. 04, Winter 2016/2017. 

What is authentic influence?  It is the true voice of the leader, and when we speak it from our character, it creates trust, synergy, and connection with everyone around us.  Authentic influence is not simply refining our presentation style; it’s deeper than that.  Some of the most authentic leaders I know stumble around a bit in their delivery, but their words come right from their hearts and experiences.  You feel their conviction and the integral connection of who they are and what they say.  As Benjamin Franklin wrote, “Think innocently and justly, and, if you speak, speak accordingly.”

Authentic influence is about straight talk that creates value.  It’s not about hurting people with bluntness or insensitivity.  Expressing yourself authentically is sharing your real thoughts and feelings in a manner that opens up possibilities, and sometimes it’s the most difficult messages that can open up the most possibilities if shared in a thoughtful, compassionate manner.  Influencing authentically is what one CEO I know calls “caring confrontation”– the unique blend of straight talk with genuine concern for people.  Like many leaders, my CEO friend had been uncomfortable with such interaction for years.  As his career progressed, he realized, “Real caring involves giving people the tough feedback they need to grow.”

Carl Jung said it this way:  “To confront a person in his shadow is to show him the light.”

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Purpose-Powered Success

By Korn Ferry Contributors, originally posted on the Korn Ferry Institute on December 6, 2016. 

It turns out in a growing number of industries, purpose has a purpose.

According to a new Korn Ferry study, consumer companies that focused their employees on the organization’s purpose boasted annual growth rates that were nearly triple the annual rate for the whole sector. And the benefits go beyond financial. The study also found that having an authentic purpose can help create and retain talent, win over customers, and have positive impacts on broader society.

The study, called “People on a Mission,” examined a broad set of purpose-driven organizations, including interviews with 30 founders, CEOs, and senior executives at consumer companies with visible and authentic purposes, engaged employees, customer-oriented cultures, and strong financial results. “We have found that organizations that take the challenging steps to define their core purpose and values, and integrate these throughout their operations—beyond slogans or advertising gimmicks—see not only strong bottom-line results, they also find this approach transforms all aspects of their business,” said Elaine Dinos, principal of Korn Ferry’s Global Consumer Market practice. “When an organization has a clear purpose, it unleashes the power and drive of the entire workforce, harnessing and focusing that combined effort in one aligned direction.” Indeed, the study found that companies with the proper focus posted compounded annual growth rates of 9.85% compared to a 2.4% for the whole S&P 500 Consumer Sector.

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Follow these links to download the People on a Mission study, as well as the Consumer Market Study Summary of this report.

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KF_Summary Report_People on a mission_Dec2016

The trillion-dollar difference

By Korn Ferry Contributors, originally posted on the Korn Ferry Institute on December 1, 2016. 

Although organizations put technology in the spotlight in the future of work, it is, in fact, human capital that holds the greatest value for organizations now and in future, new Korn Ferry Hay Group research finds.

An economic analysis commissioned by the firm and conducted by the Centre for Economics and Business Research finds that human capital represents to the global economy a potential value of $1,215 trillion. It is 2.33 times that of physical capital, which includes tangible assets like technology, real estate, and inventory. Physical capital, the analysis performed for Korn Ferry indicates, should be valued at $521 trillion today. Nothing can match the greatest asset of any organization: its people, says Gary Burnison, CEO of Korn Ferry (read “People Are No Longer The CEO’s Most Important Asset” for more of Burnison’s insights).

“Leaders are placing a high emphasis on technical skills, technological prowess, and the ability to drive innovation in their new senior recruits–elements critical for modern organizations,” says Korn Ferry’s Alan Guarino, vice chairman CEO services. “However, the financial reality proven by this study–that the value of people outstrips that of machines by a considerable distance–must give CEOs pause for thought. So-called ‘soft skills,’ such as the ability to lead and manage culture, will become critical factors of success for companies in the future of work as they seek to maximize their value through their people.”

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Cashman Consults: On Leaders

Cashman Consults: On Growth

Cashman Consults: On Leadership

8 Steps For Helping Your Employees Accept Change

Article by Brent Gleeson, originally posted to on October 17, 2016.

Organizations of all sizes are in a constant state of change now more than ever. External and internal factors include but aren’t limited to growth, lack of growth, economic cycles, emerging technologies, shifts in the competitive landscape, figuring out how to best lead this generational workforce, cultural gaps and communication challenges.

One of the most important roles a leader has is to drive necessary change and evangelize its importance. Obtaining buy-in and protecting the company culture are critical and this can only be done with clear and consistent communication and follow-through.

I’ve taken my companies through periods of change and it isn’t easy. I have definitely made mistakes along the way and applied those lessons in order to do it right the next time.

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What Now? Diversity and Inclusion in an Age of Trump — Post #3: Corporations have a Unique Opportunity to Provide Spaces for Dialogue and Healing

By Andrés Tapia, Senior Partner with Korn Ferry’s Diversity, Inclusion & Workforce Performance Practice.

Originally posted on on November 15, 2016.

CEOs have been calling me since the bombshell results of the US presidential election. They seek a sounding board for how best to respond as leaders of their organizations. They know that inside their corporate, store, plant, and factory walls flow the full crosscurrents of a polarized citizenry stoked up by poisonous rhetoric.

But they are unsure of how best to lead in these dangerous times. Do they just hope that employees will keep their thoughts and feelings to themselves while they are at work? They quickly recognize this head-in-the-sand approach will not be sustainable nor helpful but they hesitate to encourage the alternative of inviting expression from people across a wide political spectrum for understandable fear that this would only devolve into mirroring the rancor on the streets, cable news, and social media.

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Playbook for Success


This article originally posted on Korn Ferry Institute website on November 10, 2016.
Contributed by: Jed Hughes, Korn Ferry Vice Chairman, Global Sector Leader, Sports

For the average sports fan, it sounds like the dream job: ascending to be the new general manager or new coach of a professional franchise or to be in a similar top role at a collegiate powerhouse. But for elite sports leaders, the first year on the job is filled with significant risks, as well as potential, new Korn Ferry Hay Group research finds.

The firm’s study looks at top sports leaders and finds, for example, that in the last five years, National Hockey League head coaches averaged 2.4 years in their jobs. That’s slightly better than the 2.3 years for national Basketball Association coaches but less than the 3.6 years for National Football League head coaches and 3.8 years for Major League Baseball managers.

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Strategic Self-Awareness

By Carol Patton
This article originally appeared on Human Resource Executive Online on November 10, 2016.

Back in July 2015, healthcare giant Baxter International spun off its biopharmaceutical division into a new company called Baxalta, which was based in Bannockburn, Ill. Roughly one year later, Shire, a global biotechnology company headquartered in Dublin, Ireland, purchased Baxalta.

The combined company makes products for people with rare diseases and conditions. But with approximately 22,000 employees in more than 100 countries, not all senior staff members were accustomed to leading in a more global, complex environment. To make matters worse, Baxalta and Shire supported very different cultures, purposes and organizational dynamics, says Anne-Marie Law, chief human resource officer for Chicago-based Hyatt Hotels Corp., who served as Baxalta’s CHRO for about 18 months until the $32-billion merger was completed.

In spinning out from a medical-device company and going to a biotech company, says Law, “we needed people who could be re-engineered to be the kind of leaders needed in biotech — much more entrepreneurial and innovative.”

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