Choosing people - the ultimate talent?

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Is choosing the right senior people more important than managing them? What are the skills involved in the process? Have head-hunters served private, public and not-for-profit sectors effectively over the years, and how could their services be improved? How important is teambuilding rather than collecting talented individuals, and how are effective and motivated teams created? Why do appointments and teams fail so often? Should regular personnel changes be a compulsory part of good management?

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Choosing people - The ultimate talent?

Professor Daniel Hodson




I have noticed in my occasional dealings with captains of industry that the most successful are those who appear to have the most time. It hasn't gone un-remarked by students of the Virgin empire that, wherever the switchback fortunes of the latter may be, Sir Richard Branson, whilst not neglecting his business affairs, is still power boating and ballooning and holidaying in the West Indies and generally appearing in the newspapers in antics very unrelated to his general business interests. At my own anecdotal level, once you get past the lady who guards the hallowed door, it is surprising how many great men of business seem to be just sitting there in their offices waiting for your call, or to receive your visit; and are happy to chat for you for as long as your particular mission takes. Of course it's not that way at all, but the real conclusion to be drawn is that while business success may lie in strategic vision leading to the identification of specific objectives and having the will and determination to carry them out, the execution of those objectives may well be best delegated to others whose talents are more suited to that task.

And so tonight, in exploring in and around the attributes of success in business, I focus specifically on the art of choosing people, with the principal thesis that this is one of the primary attributes of a good manager and business leader. In so doing I also touch on the governance issues associated with choosing people - who ought to be responsible at the top of an organisation and how the choice should be made. I examine the role of teams in that choice, how they should be cultivated and managed, how they can fail; and I conclude that in so many ways the choice of team members is at least as important as the choice of members of those teams. Finally I detail the mechanics of choice, how they could be improved and why they occasionally end in failure, in the particular context of the role of the executive search or headhunting profession.

The role of the Board and its members

Who is in overall charge of the process of building an organisation? At the end of the day, of course, the shareholders hold the Board responsible, since they are, rather more than technically, the elected representatives of those shareholders. Furthermore, as I argued in my last series of lectures on Governance, the Board, whilst recognising that shareholders are sovereign, ultimately also has responsibility for a number of so-called stakeholders, of which employees are critical; and not just in terms of welfare, training and rewards, but also organisationally and with regard to career paths. In my experience, Boards do not pay enough attention to this key latter area, pausing, if you like, on a regular basis to review the organisation structure, now and in the light of future requirements, and also to examine the individuals concerned, their performance, and relevant succession plans, the process sometimes known as management audit. In my view this should go down at least to one hierarchical level below the Board, although the principal burden for choice below direct reports to the CEO should rest with senior managers in accordance with their line responsibilities. All Board members, executive and non-executive, should make it their business to get to know these individuals, their roles and the related teams. It can be timely, and difficult to achieve in the case of busy NEDs with demanding full time jobs elsewhere, but it is difficult to see how, given the presumed importance of such executives to the company or group, they can really be said to be discharging their duties without so doing. And of course this knowledge and understanding can pay immense dividends in times of stress or significant change.

And what of Board level choice? The two key appointments are of course the Chairman and the Chief Executive, and arguably both, for differing reasons, are as important as each other. Whilst the selection of CEO is a matter which Boards take immensely seriously, the matter of Chairmanship is often neglected, at least in terms of preparation for the appointment and setting out the job and personal requirements. One complicating factor, to which I referred in an earlier lecture on the relationship between Chairman and CEO, is that the two roles are not only complementary, but tend to be shaped by the individuals who hold them. In other words, if the Chairmanship is or is likely to become vacant, the character and modus operandi of the existing CEO in performing his or her duties must be a strong governing factor in the choice of Chairman; and the same is true in reverse. Most successful businesses will have a Chairman/CEO duo working together in a complementary and usually harmonious way - although a tad of creative tension never did any harm. I'm glad however that it's rare to see public corporate love-ins, along the lines of the current Tony / Gordon soap opera.

Likewise it is important that these two do not tread on each other's toes, so that the zones of responsibility are properly defined and areas of overlap agreed, normally on the basis of the Chairman's role being largely strategic in scope, with the parallel responsibility for managing the Board, and that of the CEO more operating and executive. And Boards should see that this occurs before any external hiring.

As very topical example as the endgame is now upon us, it became recognised during my time at LIFFE that a major lacuna in the exchange's governance structure was the nature of the Chairmanship, then very non executive, and until recently unpaid. I should add that this was not the fault of any previous Chairman who had fulfilled the role professionally and to the best of their abilities. The requirement however was for a full time Chairman who would in effect take on the onerous role of managing the Board and exchange members (both more than a handful), and also being the guardian and communicator of the exchange's strategy; leaving the CEO with the complex task of running the exchange, and not getting bogged down in the personally vulnerable area of strategy and articulation thereof. I have a few scars to illustrate that very point. Before the previous Chairman, Jack Wigglesworth and I left, and as part of package which included an agreement on demutualisation and the acceptance of electronic trading as the way forward (made possible by the rollout, subject to final member testing, of our state of the art electronic trading system LIFFEConnect), it was determined that the Chairman should be fulltime with that very brief. The result has been a highly successful partnership between the incoming Chairman, Sir Brian Williamson, and the new CEO, Hugh Friedburg; a good example of a board's responsibility in defining the job before selecting the man, and then of course getting the latter choice right. Brian managed the external affairs, the strategy and the top level member issues, while Hugh - who came afterwards and is a very different personality to Brian - pulled the levers to make the resultant strategic and operating objectives happen.

I should perhaps record that I am not so sure that the London Stock Exchange has so successfully divided the roles. Clara Furse is the fourth LSE CEO to have received public criticism for 'her' strategy and its apparent failure; in her case the Exchange's seeming inability so far to produce a viable merger or strategic alliance or merger (following the failure of LSE to buy LIFFE). But surely the responsibility for strategy is first with the Board itself, and then for its communication is with the Board's guardian of that strategy. The CEO will have a key hand, but on balance the responsibilities so often lie elsewhere. Peter Rawlins, Michael Lawrence (in part) and most recently Gavin Casey each lost their jobs principally on account of a perceived failure of strategy. Is it unfair to ask whether the fault in reality lay elsewhere, and in particular with the Board for not ensuring that relative responsibilities of Chairman and CEO roles (and bear in mind that the LSE Chairman is more than just part-time) were not appropriately defined? But in all three cases the relevant Board and Chairman escaped most of the criticism. It is for Clara to ponder is whether it is wise for any CEO, let alone that of an exchange so much in the goldfish bowl, to let his or her employer's strategy - and its communication - be so clearly pinned on him or her, particularly in the context of a fulltime Chairman and/ or a strong willed board. It is a lesson that I learnt the hard way.

I should perhaps add that it is often said that the Chairman's role is virtually completed if he chooses the right CEO. There is a significant element of truth in that, and in its more than occasional concomitant; the Chairman's usually pivotal role in letting a floundering CEO go. One should not however forget that ultimately it is for the Board to decide on both these roles.

The Board indeed has crucial responsibilities in choosing its own members, both executive and non-executive. So far as the latter is concerned, as with Chairman and CEO, it is important to define the role in advance, having regard to balance and required talents and experience.

There are of course exceptions. I had the honour of sitting on the Unigate board with an extremely distinguished former public servant, the late Sir Con O'Neill. Con had the ability to get to the heart of any issue, and he was the inspiration for our guiding principle for technical board papers, known fondly as the Con O'Neill test: they must be capable of being understood by a highly experienced former diplomat. Yet, characteristically, when Con retired from the Board, he only remarked: 'I filled a place and caused no trouble'. But, boy did he save us a lot of that commodity.

The importance of subsequent management

A board of directors will be therefore be principally concerned with choice, and, apart from the Chairman, less with subsequent management of executives in place. The interrelationship of that critical duo, the Chairman and the CEO, becomes a classic example of 360 degree management (that is upwards for the CEO, down for the Chairman) and the role of the Chairman as mentor, adviser and friend to the CEO in particular requires particularly sensitive interpersonal skills. It is of course the principal example of how choosing successfully is only the beginning of the process, and how subsequent management is absolutely key. This is particularly true in the critical early months of the appointment when the individual is still learning the ropes, settling in and building relationships with all about him, and vice versa. Certainly it is probably the time of highest risk, even though it is (often totally erroneously in my view) referred to as the honeymoon period. In this regard I well remember the comforting words of one of my early bosses who said, as I struggled to come to terms with a new and demanding role: 'Don't worry, Dan, I never had a clue what I was doing for the first year of any of my jobs'. And he was a mighty industrialist, but I couldn't help thinking that he had been, as I was at that time, very lucky with his immediate superior.

The subject of effective style and management substance is probably suitable for a lifetime of lectures, and I will only re emphasise the point that choice is just the first phase of the process of ensuring that an individual is successful in a post. It is certainly true that talented individuals have more than occasionally failed in their roles, for which they may in so many ways have been well suited, because of subsequent lack of or plain bad management. And as often as not this management problem has been as much associated with difficulties within the team to which they belong, than to their own actions.

The requirement for teambuilding

It is hard to think of many circumstances in which executives should not be organised in teams in some form or other. At every level there are peer interrelationships and dependencies which generally make it very important to ensure that the teams of people which result from these groupings are recognised and treated as such. I have often found, in many years as an NED, that, when things go wrong on a board and a CEO in particular appears to be malfunctioning, part of the problem is usually that his reports are acting largely on their own and with little interaction with their peers, and that absolutely no effort has been put into team building, usually exemplified by a lack of team meetings and team purpose.

Applying sporting experiences to business practice is a dangerous activity, although there are a number of superannuated sports people who have set up consultancy companies to bring their team building approaches to the attention of the business world. Nonetheless it is worth noting that a bunch of talented individuals without a sense of shared team objectives, and a high degree of joint motivation and coordination, will usually make a poor team. Anyone who looks at soccer or rugby at the highest level will know that this is true, although in my mind the prime example is that of rowing eights where quite simply the team is all.

The proposition is therefore that, if teams are important, choosing members is not just about finding the person to fill the role who has the best qualifications, regardless, but is also about the team environment and how that affects the specification for the jobholder. It is not that often that a manager has to build a team from scratch, unless it as part of a start up operation; indeed he is more likely to inherit an almost complete group of people. There are four phases to team building in these circumstances: assess the overall objectives of the team and the balance of skills required; measure those skills against those that already exist in the team; look at the chemistry and team-working of those in the team; and decide what changes have to made. The latter will range at one extreme to a decision to keep a key member but to give him or her training in one area of deficit where his performance might be affected; through the need to select people to fill identified or existing gaps; to, at the other extreme, the need to move people out of the team to other jobs within the organisation, or indeed to find their career with another employer.

The skill is to identify the needs of the team and to set about filling them with determination and the minimum of compromise. The process needs a high degree of judgement, not least in the business of picking people, who could of course come from within or without the organisation. In that regard I have always found that the most satisfactory management decisions that I have made have been in placing people of clear and established ability in positions which might have been thought to have been marginally beyond their current capabilities - and very often when the alternative might have been to go outside the organisation. Without exception they have risen to the occasion, and gone onwards and upwards to make successful careers. At the bottom line, team people need the basic skills for their roles but also the culture, personality, commitment and approach to the job which will ensure that the team functions as efficiently as possible, by getting the best out of them and vice versa.

Why do teams fail?

Nor is the job done when the team is selected for, in addition to the one on one aspects of man management, of mentoring, training, advising, criticising, motivating etc, there are similar tasks to undertaken with teams. Teams, being no more than the sum of the human parts, have organic characteristics. They may start off extremely well, in harmony of action and purpose, and but circumstances and/or the actions of individuals may unbalance them. Often it has to do with the interaction with the manager responsible for a team, or with relationships within it. It arises from a wide variety of causes: jealousy, political behaviour, personal animosities, and incompetence. A capable manager may be able to identify the problem, perhaps with a specific person, perhaps in the way he is asking the team to function; or he may seek outside help. Hence has grown up a significant industry associated with building and mending teams, from wading up to one's armpits in Welsh mud, to playing mock war games with guns which splatter the opposition with paint, to, at a somewhat more cerebral level, the use of a consultant to treat the ailments of the unit. I have found the latter profession particularly useful in some difficult team management circumstances; the usual approach is to talk at some length members on a one to one basis, and watch the team in action, or to make them go through an exercise. A diagnosis is then made and remedial action taken, and, again in my experience and clearly with the right consultant (and most importantly the will of the unit members) the team can be revived. The skill is to identify not just that there is a problem, but how to deal with it, and when to bring in outside help. What is certain is that well chosen teams may fail, at least to the extent of not firing on all cylinders, if weaknesses and other debilitating factors are not quickly and decisively dealt with.

But it may take more draconian measures. I have always tried as a senior manager to build balanced teams out of my directly reporting managers. As a result some of my most difficult decisions have been associated with the need to change that grouping by moving individuals out, particularly when the people concerned have had great business gifts, but have either simply not been team players, at least in that environment, or have had difficulties within that particular team. The most satisfactory result is to move them to another more appropriate slot in the organisation, but sometimes they have ended up outside. People do

not leave organisations involuntarily simply because they are incompetent or are genuinely redundant. It can, and often is, as result of their inability to fit into or to playas part of a team.

On the other hand, one of the commonest ailments is individual members getting stale on the job. As I argued in an earlier lecture about the appropriate service time for CEOs and Chairman to stay in their posts, senior managers in general should not be allowed or even desire to stay too long in one position - in the case of CEOs (as I put it) over five years and you're in extra time. Certainly three to five years is, in my experience, about the ideal time, dependent on the person and the demands of the job. Staying too long in one position is not fair or appropriate for the individual, his employer or the team in which he works. The impact on teams is that in reality, as with sporting units, they are not just a permanent inflexible entity, but in a constant state of inevitable change. This too is a test of a manager's abilities of perception and choice: to identify the moment to move a member on, decide on the requirements for his successor within the team, choose that individual, and manage the newly rebalanced team.

Boards as teams

As a final word on teams, many people think of Boards as a happenstantial group of individuals whom fate, individual corporate promotions, and the shareholders have shoved together. In fact Boards more and more see themselves as specialist forms of teams, behaving and interacting accordingly. Led by the Chairman they will identify the breadth and type of requirements in all members, non-exec and exec, and will choose accordingly. They potentially have the same internal and particularly external mentoring needs as more lowly corporate teams, and certainly the same unbalancing factors. And they too should be

in a constant state of change - by definition if a board members average term is 5 years and

there are ten members, there should statistically be two changes a year. And yet they are probably the most guilty, as I have argued in an earlier lecture, when it comes to individuals – mainly NEDs - staying aboard too long.

The process of choice and the role of the headhunter

I now turn to the process of choice itself, and it is important, at the outset, to emphasize the potential danger in settling, in the context of a senior job, for an internal candidate, when the decision is not absolutely clear cut. The opportunity to compare with external possibilities may provide an even better candidate, or it may underline the claims of the insider. The fee of the consultant who undertakes such a search - and, yes, those fees can be substantial- must be justified on the basis of an insurance premium, particularly if the successful applicant is the inside person. But my broad assumption for the purpose of this lecture will be that the decision has been made to look outside the organisation.

The role of these consultant usually consists, for senior positions, in a search based person hunt, where the employer takes a look at a proposed long list of individuals who have shown an interest in the job provided by the consultant, often as many as 20, and decides those whom on paper he wishes to see in the form of a short list for interview; interviews them in whatever way is appropriate, makes a choice, and the remainder of the consultant's role consists of keeping the process going and all parties engaged, reference taking and negotiating the employment and remuneration details as an intermediary. These people are of course usually known, even with a touch of affection, as headhunters.

But the first important task, to be undertaken jointly with the head-hunter, is to draw up an appropriate job specification, recognising both the requirements of the job, and the demands of the team into which the job will slot, as well as the personality of the jobholders boss, but giving sufficient flexibility to attract a range of candidates, in some cases quite lateral to the generally expected source. So far as the latter is concerned, the nature of professional, managerial and industrial experience may be important, but not to the exclusion of one-off candidates, who may add a new insight in the first instance to the search, and then to the job itself. Speaking for myself, I have had many job changes in a wide ranging career. Thank heavens for lateral thinkers say I.

It is important too that the specification is agreed with all interested parties. The process of recruitment is far from one sided, and many a fine candidate has been put off a job for which he or she was otherwise perfectly suited because of fog over the position, and perhaps as a consequence of the resultant suspicion of political infighting amongst the existing managers involved. It should be realised also that the spec is part of the honey trap for the candidate. It should be honest, but appetising, complete but not boring and the input of the consultant will be vital, a skill which should be second nature to him. It will in particular require some painstaking research and analysis, leading to a full grasp of the employer's business, the people structure and the personalities and teams involved, and the background to the position itself

The next critical process is the creation of first a longlist and then a shortlist to be interviewed. Although this will be done in conjunction with the client, it represents the heart of the external consultant's value added to the project, and the principal reason why he can claim to earn his corn. The shortlist, probably not more than five, should be balanced, to the specification, and provide the interviewers with comparisons and alternatives. There should be nobody on the shortlist who, in the consultants opinion (for he is the only person wholly engaged in the process who has yet met any candidates), who is not capable of doing the job. And where it is clear that there are qualified internal candidates their names should go into the ring at this point.

This part of the project can have its amusing side for interviews normally takes place on the consultant's premises, which are of course, in the politest way, something of a cattle market for people coming in for preliminary interviews for jobs of all shapes and sizes. The situation can resemble a Feydeau farce with people sitting in waiting rooms as others (candidates in one world/ lovers in the other) depart, whilst PA s (maids, in French comedy) shuffle them around, through all manner of doors and rooms (meeting/bed). Multiple ways in and out are an essential prerequisite of all successful headhunters offices. I well recall a splendid story of a keen young financial person who was headhunted and went for a preliminary interview, but was alarmed, in one of those Feydeauesque waiting rooms, to bump into his bos;s going out as he came in. Slightly abashed and nonplussed he decided to make a joke of it, so he said: 'Going for another job, are you, guv'nor?' To which his boss replied: 'No, but I'm delighted to see that you are, Fred'.

The interview process is a fascinating part of the selection project. The interviewers will be focussed on finding the right person for the job, but the interviewees will, at any rate if external, have a much more complexset of motives. The latter will need to be convinced that the job is in their career interests and that their potential colleagues, superiors, and employers are a congenial lot with whom to throw in their lot - put bluntly they need to be 'sold' on the position. The greatest mistake an externally recruiting organisation can make is to assume that the job on offer is the best thing since sliced bread, and that all candidates have only its achievement in mind. The interview is a key part of the mating ritual associated with recruitment, and like all such stately, or at least purposeful dances, both parties need to keep in step and sympathy. It is an open conversation between buyer and seller.

The next critical decision is who should interview, and how many. I have always felt that the minimum consonant with successful choice was essential; too many indicate a lack of confidence in the individual or indecision in the organisation, whilst too few may result in insufficient understanding of and lines of bearing on the candidate. In my mind, therefore, there should certainly be more than one, and probably not more than four actual interviews, although there may be more than one person attending each one.

Multi-interviewing can have its downsides. I well recall being interviewed for a main board appointment at one of the world's leading banks. I was told at the outset that I would be interviewed by two directors, one of whom was a trifle delayed at the group's pensioners Christmas lunch. The interview was going swimmingly until the latecomer appeared, wreathed in bonhomie, shook my hand, sat down opposite, and went guilelessly, but noisily to sleep. We went on, and by tacit assent left him to slumber where he was at the end. Did I get the job? It's a little more complicated than that, but I certainly got through that round. Perhaps more importantly, the slumberer and I are still friends and neighbours, and we still chuckle about the incident. Inhis apocryphal view, I was doing quite OK without his intervention!

On the other hand, interview technique is essential. In one job, I had two interviews, the gist of which was as follows. No 1 (the would-be boss): interviewer talks at me for 3/4 hour gives me a warm handshake and says goodbye. Feeling unappreciated, on to No 2, whose sole testing question was, if I had been married (unsuccessfully) twice, did this make me a playboy? In the eleven years that we worked harmoniously together, I began to understand that there was a vicarious something lurking in the back of this thought provoking question.

The whole point of an interview from the would-be employer’s viewpoint is to assess character, professional skills, experience and suitability for the role, and fit with the team and the firm as a whole. However even the keenest of appraisals from highly skilled and congenial interviewers will almost certainly raise lingering doubts about even the most qualified of candidates.

The final part of the jigsaw therefore lies in the taking of references. These can be formal, of the 'to whom it may concern' variety, or they be detailed, probing and follow specific lines of questioning. They follow on from the interview process, at a point when the choice has narrowed to one, two or three candidates, and where, to help the selection, references will not only help to establish basic suitability, but also to check out points for which interviewers would like independent confirmation. This is another crucial role for the consultant, and one which requires skill, tact, persistence and perception.

Let me put these observations in context. As in most human relationships, there is an element of instinct involved in choice of people. I have found the hairs on the back of my neck as good a guide to people as excellent CVs, charm, interview technique and slick answers to questions. But nagging doubts and questions will often arise, many stimulated by those neck hairs, and it is those that should be put to rest by the reference process. Furthermore, there are relatively few people who, when asked for references about some-body with whom they have worked and perhaps even liked, but who has to some degree feet of clay, will not be a little economical with the truth. It is for the consultant to probe behind any code and evasion.

Why do appointments fail so often?

And it is as much at this end of the process that headhunters earn their com. Over the years I have been both victim and paymaster of headhunters, and, in the time honoured phrase, some of my best friends are in the profession. They are for the most part highly professional, diligent and energetic people, who are capable of earning great sums of money at the top level for an important job well done. If they find the right person, it is possible, and they certainly would argue, that the fees are justified many times over. But why is it that so many appointments fail, and often quickly? There are no wholly reliable statistics, but some say up to 40%.

I firmly believe that the reference stage is the critical moment in the selection process, and the one where mistakes are so often made. This can occur because the job was not done properly, the right people or questions asked, or it may be because the search had reached such an unstoppable momentum with a favoured candidate that nobody, not perhaps even the headhunter, was listening carefully to the words being spoken by the referees and was taken them fully into account. I have lost count of the times where an individual has publicly failed in a job, and I have talked to a friend who has either said: 'I was rung by the headhunter and told him that so and so would be no good in the job, for the following reasons, but he ignored my advice'; or has remarked 'I was so surprised that they didn't call me after all those years he worked in my team. I would have put them right at the outset'.

Most headhunters would argue that the production of the shortlist is at the centre of their activity, and that inferior shortlists can indeed lead to the wrong choice. It tests their skills to the outmost, from research to final production. Inevitably things can go wrong, and usually associated with lack rather than luxury of choice. This can be exacerbated in the case of the larger firms, for one of the profession's fundamental rules is not to poach candidates from their clients. Inevitably this means that a successful player may have off-limits exactly those firms where successful candidates are most likely to be found. Wise employers should therefore always pause before appointing a major firm and consider looking at a smaller perhaps more specialised entity in order to attain the widest possible field. They should certainly enquire what the larger consultant's conflicts might be as part of that final decision process.

So headhunters still carry a huge responsibility, not just for references and providing an excellent shortlist, but at the other critical stages which I have discussed, notably in understanding the background to the position and the employer, in ensuring that the job and person specification is exactly what is needed, as well as in constant coordination with the parties and eventually negotiating with and often gently (or perhaps not) cajoling the favoured candidate. Failure or lack of attention to detail at any point may cause an inappropriate candidate to be hired, and headhunters must undoubtedly share their part of the blame for that putative 40% failure rate.

That is not to say that over the years headhunters have not had an immense impact on the British industrial, financial and now more recently many parts of the public and not for profit sectors. In the latter case their ability to improve the quality of candidates and therefore management has been of huge importance in an area where there had been old fashioned methods and a high degree of the Buggins turn mentality. I have in particular mind, the charity and educational sectors, where many excellent external appointments have radically improved the effectiveness and prospects of the institutions involved

Finally, the choice itself

But nobody can deny that at the end of the day the buck stops with the employer client who is in the end responsible for the choice. At the very least it is for him to ensure that he manages the headhunter to get the best out of him. Job specification, team issues, interviews, references, and alternatives, all must be brought into account and given credence. The process would make a suitable subject for another lecture, but I would only add one time honoured phrase, which has in the past contributed significantly to that failure statistic: 'If in doubt, don't'. Take a deep breath and start again.


Time to cede the floor; my main points again:

Ultimately it is a board responsibility to ensure that the right senior management team is in place and to supervise its choice. In particular a critical role is played by Chairman and CEO. It is important that the respective roles are clear and that the personalities fit. Choosing the right CEO is a significant part of the Chairman's job. In this context I challenge whether the perceived failings of all recent CEOs of the LSE were misplaced, and were not a matter for the Board and Chairman. Subsequent management of appointees is critical. It is no good just making the selection and sitting back. Managing and choosing teams is potentially as important as the specific appointment of individuals, and the nature of the team certainly needs to be taken into account in the process. The performance of headhunters in external selection is obviously critical. A significant percentage of appointments seem to fail, and not simply because the wrong candidate has been chosen from the shortlist. Other areas where things go wrong are in the production of the job specification, the initial shortlist, and, importantly, in the subsequent taking of references.

I conclude that the title of this lecture should really have read: 'Choosing and managing people and teams - the ultimate talent?'

© Daniel Hodson, Gresham College , 6 December 01

This event was on Thu, 06 Dec 2001

daniel hodson

Professor Daniel Hodson

Mercers’ School Memorial Professor of Business

Daniel Hodson was the Mercers' School Memorial Professor of Commerce between 1999 and 2002, lecturing widely on governance.

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