The Executive Leadership Gene: Do You Possess It?

The Executive Leadership Gene: Do You Possess It?

Is executive leadership a matter of nature, nurture, or both? Probably the latter but nature likely plays a much larger role than anyone had imagined.  Have you heard of rs4950? No, it is not a new Star Wars character but is “the leadership gene,” an inherited DNA sequence associated with natural leadership.  Its discovery created quite a stir when Jan-Emmanuel De Neve, PhD, University College London & Centre for Economic Performance (LSE) and his team identified the heritability of leadership skills.  Their findings revealed “genes might affect the development of individual attributes affecting the predisposition to occupy a leadership position.”

Regardless of genetics, my executive clients are—undeniably—leaders in their industries.  When I work with executives to craft their individual career narratives, the focus of our discussion is on uncovering their “unique leadership DNA”: the skills, knowledge, attributes, and career accomplishments that make them different than every other leader who does what they do at their level and in their space.

In order to convey key points of executive leadership distinction and unique business value, it is crucial to identify your common experience and success threads, including the ways in which you’ve influenced the business, the operation, the organization, the culture, process, technology, people, and relationships.  Equally important to demonstrate are the specific types of business problems you can help a company solve and how this aligns to your past experience.

If you are looking for a partner to help identify and convey your unique executive leadership DNA, contact me to learn more about how we can work together.

Executive Hiring Looks Promising in 2014

bigstock-Executive-search-concept-in-wo-38538091The executive hiring outlook for 2014 appears to be on an uptick as companies across the globe are preparing to develop and invest in their human capital. If you’ve been considering a career move, now may be an ideal time.

According to the quarterly Boyden Executive Outlook report published by the top-ranked search firm Boyden Global Executive Search, companies are once again investing in executive talent as economies have stabilized and to ensure they succeed in this intensely competitive global market.

“Until recently, companies were limiting hiring to C-level and critical senior roles and remained skittish making long-term plans to expand management teams due to economic uncertainties,” said Trina Gordon, President & CEO of Boyden World Corporation. She says companies particularly in the U.S. and Europe are focusing on their hiring efforts to gain a competitive edge in the market.

Growth forecasted in Consumer/Retail sector

Retailers are looking for leaders with broad experience, as the growth projections for e-commerce and mobile business sectors are significant. We’re also seeing a ‘health halo,’ where the focus on health and wellness is driving new product development and sales as well as hiring.

According to Doug Ehrenkranz, a Managing Partner at Boyden Houston, many consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies are developing innovative products for baby boomers focused on health and anti-aging, so they are looking for food technology and marketing executives with experience creating products for this group. The sporting goods, apparel and footwear industries are seeking leaders with blended finance, sales and marketing capabilities and experience working for larger companies earlier in their careers—especially those with backgrounds in data analytics, says Amanda Worthington, a Chicago-based Boyden principal.

Expect more senior HR roles, too

Lisa Gerhardt, Boyden Global HR Practice Leader, says we can expect growth in the human resources field in 2014 as well.

“Whenever there is change at the CEO level, we often see a change in the HR Director, as CEOs put a lot of emphasis on personal relationships and trust in that position,” she said. She mentioned that there’s a big need to consolidate and shift to a “shared services” or global business services model, and companies will want to bring people on board to help with the transition.

“CEOs and Boards across all industry sectors are looking for experienced and highly strategic HR leaders who can help transform their organizations into more flexible global enterprises and drive bottom-line results,” said Greg Coleman, a Managing Partner at Boyden New York. Coleman said these businesses are creating wellness programs and putting more emphasis on staff development programs—plus, they’re using online platforms to instruct employees across the world.

Chief Digital Officer role is on the rise

As technology and marketing roles increasingly overlap, we’re seeing a merging of CIO and CMO roles. In fact, you’ll start to see the merged role commonly referred to as Chief Digital Officer (CDO). Mobile technology and data analytics are reshaping the business landscape, making digital development a priority. Traditional organizations will need to rely on a transformational CDO to replace legacy systems and processes. According to research by Gartner, 25% of businesses will have a CDO by 2015.

It’s clear that we can expect hiring growth in 2014.Companies realize the importance of bringing on experienced leaders who are adept at managing and embracing change to capitalize on opportunities to remain globally competitive. Hiring strong talent will be a top priority—and necessity—for the long haul.

Do you plan on making a career move in 2014? If so, you’ll need a strong executive resume to set you apart from the competition. Contact me today to get started.