Is the top job up for grabs? You better have a succession plan

By Olive Keogh; originally published in The Irish Times on November 9, 2018.  

Earlier this year Renault Nissan Mitsubishi Alliance chief executive Carlos Ghosn had his contract renewed for another four years. But rather than continuing to run the business day to day, Ghosn (64) has a new job: succession planning.

Ghosn runs a tight ship and has been the public face of the alliance for almost 20 years. He’s a tough act to follow but it’s interesting to see that his focus at this point is on identifying potential leaders from within his own organisation.

There are good reasons to promote from within. It costs less, it retains staff, it keeps expertise in-house, it protects the corporate culture and it sends a positive message about career opportunities. However, it’s also potentially risky. If someone unexpected gets the job, it can really upset the status quo as those who thought they were a shoo-in are disappointed.

Internal candidates assume they already know what a job involves and often have strong opinions about the competencies required to do it. If the successful candidate doesn’t appear to have them – at least as far as rivals are concerned – it can generate great dissatisfaction with a potentially toxic side order of backbiting and a drop in morale.

The key to ruffling as few feathers as possible is high-visibility succession planning. This is a process that emphasises opportunity and makes it clear that, if someone misses out on one job, there will be other opportunities within an approximate timeframe.

In addition, if potential candidates need to upskill to apply for these positions, they will be helped to do so. This helps avoid internal competitions turning hostile.

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Don’t Let a Race for a Promotion Get Awkward

By Sue Shellenbarger.  Originally published in The Wall Street Journal on October 17, 2018. 

If career planning at your office is starting to resemble an episode of “Survivor,” you’re not alone.

More employers are sparking internal competitions by posting job openings online and encouraging interested employees to apply. The internal horse races that ensue open up new career opportunities for many, but also risk leaving angry, dispirited runners-up in their wake.

“It’s a really great thing” if these rivalries give employees fairer, faster access to new opportunities, says Minneapolis executive coach Kevin Cashman. “But they create a bit of a monster” if employers fail to provide career-planning help and support for those who lose out, says Mr. Cashman, global head of Korn Ferry’s CEO development practice.

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Pathways to Becoming the CEO: Chief Engagement Officer

By Kevin Cashman, originally posted on his Forbes blog, Pause Point on September 14, 2018. 

In our work with CEOs and senior leaders, there is one enduring tenant: Engage or die! A 2016 Korn Ferry research study found that the most highly engaged organization achieved 4.5 times greater revenue growth than the lowest engaged firms do. The world belongs to the most engaged. Human energy fuels drive and human engagement harnesses that drive.

But how can you and your team elevate engagement to a higher level? We suggest a few key pathways …

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The Leadership Lift

By Susanne Blazek, Lalitha Urs, and Evelyn Orr; originally posted to Korn Ferry Institute on October 7, 2015. 

When presidents, royalty, and CEOs seek to optimize their health, they turn to elite medical centers’ executive health programs, where internists, cardiologists, dietitians, and others help them elevate every aspect of their fitness. The expert teams not only prescribe a regimen but also ask—is it effective over the course of months and years?

For alumni of Korn Ferry’s Chief Executive Institute™ (CEI) and Executive to Leader Institute™ (ELI) the value of the 12-month experience—even as much as 25 years later—is sustained and powerful.

To assess the enduring impact of CEI and ELI, intensive programs that Fast Company magazine called the “Mayo Clinic of leadership development,” researchers from the Korn Ferry Institute interviewed 39 people who completed CEI or ELI between 1989 and 2013.1 The executives were asked what the experience was like for them, what they had learned about themselves, how they applied those insights to their work, and what impact on their careers they attributed to the program.

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8 Behaviors That Distinguish Effective Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship may be the purest form of leadership.  If leadership adds value by going beyond what is, then entrepreneurs express this tendency at the most essential level.  What makes an entrepreneur an effective one?  And what do these most effective entrepreneurs have to teach corporate leaders?

While we work with mainly corporate CEOs and senior leaders for the world’s largest companies, I have a soft spot and admiration for these enterprising, risk-stimulated types.  Granted, I was an entrepreneur for 25 years, so my bias and appreciation for business creators is no accident.

A massive growth in entrepreneurship is taking place across the U.S. with more than 500,000 becoming business owners every month, according to Vishal Agarwal.  Vishal should know, as a venture capitalist he is constantly interacting and advising young founders on the challenges of startup leadership.  In addition, Vishal was a former GE executive who can see the distinction between entrepreneurial and corporate leadership.

Vishal Agarwal is the bestselling author of Give to Get: A Senior Leader’s Guide to Navigating Corporate Life, and has studied the dynamics of why some startups succeed and others fail.  Interestingly, he sees the most successful entrepreneurs as “servant leaders,” those who serve the enterprise vs. self-serve.  He has discerned several key principles that distinguish successful startup leaders.

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Seven Ways To Spot A Bully

By Kevin Cashman; originally posted on his Forbes blog, Pause Point on July 10, 2018. 

Bullies have always been around.  From schoolyard brutes to world leaders, they are unfortunately a fact of life.  However, there is an increasing amount of research available to detect and deal with these dominant, self-focused types.  In his new book, Negotiating with a Bully:  Take Charge and Turn the Tables on People Trying to Push You Around, Greg Williams provides some thoughtful counsel on understanding and dealing with this aggressive, anti-social breed.  Here are seven things we need to pay attention to in order to spot a bully …

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Profit vs Purpose: The Duel Begins

By Russell Pearlman, originally published in issue 35 of Briefings Magazine, and posted on KornFerry.com on May 15, 2018. 

Kurt Graves had just heard from multiple investors in Intarcia Therapeutics, the pharmaceutical firm he runs, asking him a single question: Why wasn’t he putting Intarcia up for sale?

Intarcia is one of those “unicorns,” a firm with a multi-billion-dollar valuation. Its big product is a pushpin-sized pump that, when placed under a patient’s skin, will deliver medicine without trouble for a year. It’s a potential life changer for diabetes patients, many of whom have trouble keeping up with all the injections and pills to keep their disease at bay.

But the treatment, while succeeding in many clinical trials, was still facing months of regulatory review. Selling now, or taking the company public, the investors argued, would let the owners earn some quick short-term profits.

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The Salary Surge

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Following the launch of The Global Talent Crunch, Korn Ferry is pleased to share The Salary Surge. This latest report in our future of work series outlines the potential costs that organizations may need to pay to secure skilled talent amidst severe global skilled talent shortages.

In The Salary Surge, we project the impact that talent shortages will have on salary bills by mapping Korn Ferry’s proprietary global pay data against the skilled labor shortage estimates across 20 economies at three future milestones of 2020, 2025 and 2030.

Got a minute?  View the Infographic

Got three?  View the Executive Summary

Got 30?  Read the Report

For many high-octane professionals, retirement is not an option

By Robert Weisman; originally published in the Boston Globe on May 2, 2018. 

Jim Roosevelt stepped down as Tufts Health Plan’s chief executive when he was 70, about five years beyond what people used to think of as the traditional retirement age. Two-and-a-half years later, his schedule looks nothing like that of an easygoing retiree.

Roosevelt, now 72, has resumed practicing law, as a health care attorney for Verrill Dana.

He consults for Tufts on strategy and public affairs.

All told, he logs 40-hour weeks — a breeze in comparison with the 80 that he regularly clocked during his CEO days.

Roosevelt says his wife, Ann, who works 30 hours a week as a volunteer for environmental groups and as president of the Cambridge Water Board, did the math. “She said, ‘You’re a quarter-time with Tufts, a third with the law firm, and the rest with the Democrats, so you’re back to 100 percent,’ ” he recounted. “I said, ‘Yeah, but before it was 200 percent.’ ”

For many high-octane professionals like Roosevelt, retirement is a dirty word. While their hair may be thinning and they’re carving out time for one or more of the three Gs — golf, gardening, and grandchildren — they’re aiming to downshift rather than to hit the brakes, continuing to work, but at a somewhat less feverish pace. Losing the professional identity that they spent a lifetime creating is unimaginable.

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Future of Work: The Global Talent Crunch

By 2030, business will have different needs. But will there be the talent to meet them? By 2030 we can expect a talent deficit of 85.2 million workers – greater than the population of Germany. The talent crunch is coming. Are you ready? 

Korn Ferry’s latest study – The Global Talent Crunch – forecasts the gap between talent supply and demand at three critical milestones of 2020, 2025 and 2030, and across 20 developed and developing economies. This major initiative, which seeks to assist organizations with their planning and execution – helps leaders understand how talent shortages are impacting their sectors and regions where they operate so they can immediately begin to address the talent crunch, before they fall behind and suffer the economic consequences.

Download the whitepaper from Korn Ferry’s website here.