We’ve all heard the above comment from our financial advisors and stockbrokers, but have you ever thought about those words in context of your business life?
Every company, CEO, or leadership team member has a reputation that is based largely on past performance. When asked, a reference will say “he or she does great work” or “the company is a good investment.” Sometimes that comment is based on limited experience or just perception. Maybe that person or company only did ONE thing right, and they are resting on their laurels. On the other hand, many executives have a track record that shows not only that they are reliable, but that they have had multiple “wins” in different positions at multiple companies. How can you discern the difference between a “one-hit-wonder” and a consistent performer when you are recruiting a new leader?
An executive who excels wherever they go has a diverse background that includes a perspective that others do not. Some of the attributes that promote these types of successes are:
They exhibit a curiosity to dig deeper and look beyond the obvious. They know the questions to ask and can see around the corner at what the future could be.
They know their “lane” – where they excel and where they do not. They are not afraid to surround themselves with smarter people who complement their skills and can be a potential successor.
Anyone can be successful at something once. An adaptable leader can take their own playbook and make it work in different environments with different levels of talent. They alter the strategy to fit the environment and talent levels but get the same peak performance. It’s not tough to perform well with all “A” players. The real star is someone who can get similar results by getting the most out of a less skilled and experienced team.
They know who they are and are comfortable in their own skin. This helps create a culture of openness and trust that removes roadblocks to success.
They are not afraid to say that they made a mistake or misspoke in a manner that created ambiguity. This shows their team who they really are and creates an environment where people are not afraid to share bad news.
These are over and above the standard attributes of being smart, competent, skilled, and having specific industry experience. Skilled leaders who can produce results consistently are valuable on many levels. They are also adept at producing the next group of successors both for themselves and their direct reports.
So, when someone says that the person you are considering hiring has achieved great things, take the time to look beyond the comment to find out how, why and if they did what was being described. The above list of attributes is not all inclusive, but is a good start at looking at how the next potential leader of your organization really conducts themselves. That’s how you can look to improve your odds of guaranteeing future results. Let us know if we can help.