Whether I am talking to headhunters in the UK, US or the rest of Europe, the same question continues to arise. For the search community in Asia, there is no doubt at all in their minds that these good times are here to stay. However, the views are not the same on the other side of the pond.
My best barometer is usually that small and elite band focused on the Chief Financial Officer sector but even they tell me that when they ask the CFOs of the Fortune 500 or the FTSE 200 they get the same answer: “I couldn’t call it just now”.
So are we on a roll? I believe we are – not just because my workload is as high as it has ever been, but because of the key element to success in our business. Deep personal relationships don’t just mean ‘picking up a search’ but offering the board real advice on their people and business challenges and this has become an everyday tool for the best of our industry.
So what are you doing in your firm to answer the question: “is it going to last?” Don’t look at the FTSE – only 18% of the firms are British and 70% of its value comes from overseas revenues. Talk to your clients and make it a regular topic of discussion. I can’t imagine the question doesn’t feature at every board meeting they have so it’s a mutual concern and one in which it is our duty to offer what help we can as part of our “value add”.
Chairmen, CEOs, CFOs and NEDs will always take a call from a headhunter. In fact they will take our calls before they take one from the Managing Partner of a major consulting, audit or law firm. So show them you care just as much about the future of their business, their industry and our economy as they do and that you are prepared to go to battle with them to make their ventures a success. Then you can both work out the answer and it will last.
Lilley & Co
“delivering leadership to the global executive search industry”