Qualités managériales recherchées par les conseils d’administration | Entrevue avec le PCD de Korn/Ferry

Voici un article qui met en exergue les qualités que les conseils d’administration veulent voir chez les futurs membres de la haute direction.

L’article, écrit par Lauren Weber dans les pages du The Wall Street Journal, relate un extrait de l’entrevue avec Gary Burnison, PCD de Korn/Ferry International, à propos de la recherche de talents en management à l’échelle internationale.

Le marché de la recherche des meilleurs talents de gestionnaires est en pleine expansion; il représente un marché d’environ 20 Milliards.

Toutes les grandes firmes font affaires avec des entreprises spécialisées dans la recherche des meilleurs talents, dans l’évaluation de ces derniers ainsi que dans leur rétention. De grandes firmes comme Korn/Ferry International possèdent des banques de données très à jour sur les carrières des hauts dirigeants ainsi que des outils de recherche à la fine pointe.

On est donc intéressé à connaître le point de vue du président et chef de la direction de la plus grande entreprise (1 Milliard par année) sur la croissance du marché et sur les qualités des candidatures recherchées.

On y apprend que les C.A. sont préoccupés par la plus grande diversité possible, par des candidats qui sont constamment en processus d’apprentissage, qui possèdent plusieurs réseaux d’affaires, qui savent bien s’entourer et qui ont fait leurs preuves dans des situations de gestion similaires. Le partenaire stratégique du PCD doit être le V-P Ressources humaines … et non le V-P Finance.

Je vous invite à lire l’extrait ci-dessous. Bonne lecture !

Korn/Ferry’s CEO: What Boards Want in Exécutives


WSJ: Your executive-search business was up in the first quarter by 9%. Are companies investing in growth, or are they mostly replacing people who leave?

Mr. Burnison: Industries like health care, technology and energy are going through massive change, and it’s going to continue for the foreseeable future. That creates a need for new positions, whether it’s about delivering health care remotely or finding new ways to tap people instantaneously through social media. Those needs didn’t exist a decade ago.


WSJ: Executive search seems like an old-fashioned, Rolodex business. Are LinkedIn and other social-networking tools going to make it obsolete?

Mr. Burnison: CEOs are in this mad fight for growth and relevancy, so they’re paying us not for finding people, but for finding out who people are. You can go lots of places to find people. But you’re going to want somebody to answer, “Okay, but what is this person really like? What do others really say about them?”

WSJ: How do you answer those questions?

Mr. Burnison: For the boardroom or the C-suite, the technical competencies are a starting point. What we’ve seen through our research is that the No. 1 predictor of executive success is learning agility. So we want to get a real line of sight into a person’s thinking style and leadership style. Right now, you’re seeing me how I want you to see me. What you really want to know is “How does Gary make decisions under pressure?”

WSJ: What is learning agility?

Mr. Burnison: It comes down to people’s willingness to grow, to learn, to have insatiable curiosity. Think about the levers of growth that a CEO has. You can consolidate, or tap [new markets], or innovate. When it comes down to the last two, particularly innovation, you want a workforce that is incredibly curious.

WSJ: What are companies getting wrong today about managing their employees?

Mr. Burnison: There’s this gap between what [executives] say and how they invest in people’s careers. They spend an enormous amount on development and performance management, but it’s not well spent.

WSJ: Where are they investing poorly in talent?

Mr. Burnison: They should be asking, how do you develop people in their careers? How do you extend the life of an employee? This is not an environment where you work for an organization for 20 years. But if you can extend it from three years to six years; that has enormous impact. [Turnover] is a huge hidden cost in a profit-and-loss statement that nobody ever focuses on. If there was a line item that showed that, I guarantee you’d have the attention of a CEO.

WSJ: Why aren’t CEOs focused on turnover?

Mr. Burnison: A CEO only has an average tenure today of five years. You have 20 quarters to show that you have a winning team. There is a trade-off between knowing in your heart that you’ve got to empower people, you’ve got to develop them. But then there’s the other side, that says, “Oh, my gosh. I’ve got to win this next game.”

WSJ: How should leaders look beyond the short-term horizon?

Mr. Burnison: The strategic partner to the CEO should be the CHRO [chief human-resources officer] in almost any organization. It shouldn’t be the CFO. The person that is responsible for people should be the biggest lever that a CEO can pull. Too often, it’s not.

WSJ: You’ve been CEO for seven years. Is the clock ticking?

Mr. Burnison: We’re all by definition “on the clock.” However, that ticking clock should never impede the journey. I am having a lot of fun and there is still an enormous amount of work to be done.

WSJ: You’re pushing to create more management products for companies. Why, and what are they?

Mr. Burnison: People are hard to scale. [Products are] very easy to scale. It’s going to be based on predictors of success. By culture, by industry, by function, around the world. It could be a program for how we assess and develop people. It could be licensing a piece of content around onboarding or hiring. Candidates could take an online assessment. You would get feedback and you could license our interviewing technology to say, “With this person, you may want to probe this area and this area when you’re interviewing them.”

WSJ: What do your search clients ask for most often?

Mr. Burnison: The No. 1 request we get in the search business is diversity. Diversity in thought. Diversity in backgrounds. Diversity, yes, in gender. Diversity yes, in race. Diversity, yes in terms of cultural upbringing. That’s got serious legs.

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