In the same way the entire economy is nothing that we knew before, and as a consequence of the profound changes that recent years brought for each and every industry, the executive search industry is also undergoing profound transformations. Moreover, the arrival of the internet did not bring us only benefits, but also a lot of confusion as well, mainly due to polluted information, along with a lot of illusions and misperceptions.
In this general context, with the experience of 20 years of work that we have in our field, we felt a responsibility to promote and strengthen a system of values that ensures the durability and sustainability of the economic activity in the future – starting with the way we see our role related to our clients and our candidates and ending with the way we were used to do our work. We wanted to assert in front of all professionals that still create value in this country – both individuals and companies – that they are not alone, which is why we have designed and developed the first platform for leadership development in Romania. The foundation of The Leadership Alliance is the fact that it represents a model specially designed to cover the three major participants to the business environment: the business organization, the professional environment and the individual executive, which is the core entity for the other two.
Why a model that puts at its heart the values of the leadership? In the recruitment process, a company can either look by itself, through advertisements or direct contacts, or hire an external recruitment agency, which has expertise and complex databases. We say, however, that there is also a third way, in which the “meeting” of the best must occur: in such situations, the clients cannot afford to hire but the very best candidate, which has the best possible fit with the role to be filled. But in this area, in which clients seek the very best people, the corporation no longer has the control: when trying to recruit the best specialist, it is not about the desire of the corporation to choose from a range of alternatives anymore, but about the ability of the corporation to convince a candidate that he / she should join their team and spend the next years together. Moreover, the best people are not necessarily visible. When talking about the best, they are good because they focus on what they do; they are dedicated to their work, most often at the expense of their private life, because they want to achieve long-term professional success. In this area of what we call the best professionals and the best corporations, it is all about balance.
Leadership is only possible when this balance exists and a system of values is practiced by both the organization and by the individual. Transforming this common set of values in a rule can only be done in the context of a community, and that is why we have identified the need to create a platform that recognizes the needs of both individuals and corporations, in this way making the development of sustainable leadership possible. This is difficult to achieve, because of a confused understanding of leadership. In the Romanian professional environment, there is a big problem which we certainly need to address: there is an inability to distinguish between the following three essential terms: administration, management and leadership. The three terms are mostly confused and used in an interchangeable manner. Russel Aykoff, a very well-known transformational leadership thinker, has pointed my attention to this problem. Making the distinction between these three terms is at the heart of understanding what true leadership is. This is the foundation on which we built Leadership Alliance.
Starting from these premises, the need to have both a company that focuses on the individual’s development needs and a company that is focused on the leadership development needs of the corporation ‘fell’ in place naturally. But none of these two can, on their own, define the norms of good practice, as well as the meaning of fundamental terms, like leadership. Which is why we have established Leadership.RO (www. leadership.ro). It is our pro-bono service offered to our business community. It aims to promote a better understanding of the meaning of leadership in our business environment, but also to create a very transparent and effective picture of the act of leadership in our contemporary business environment. We do this through programs like the foundation of the first Institute of Directors in Romania and the establishment of the first ever Romanian Code of Professional Conduct through our long-term projects.
Our new model is based on the principle that modern executive search must have access to premium quality information about the talent market prior to opening an assignment. In order to achieve this goal, we designed a new way of structuring the information about executives’ careers and build the technology which can manage the resulting, “clean” information, securely and effectively. We called this new concept “talent discovery”, because we are continuously “scanning” the talent market. Usually, in the recruitment industry, people are searched for when there is a project: the client opens a project, hires an agency and that agency starts searching for the right people. The classical search models are not always the most effective, because there is a lot of “noise” in this industry and the information that you can obtain by conventional methods is not always the most accurate. What we propose in our new model is to “map” the talent continuously, rather than opportunistically. We structure the information obtained with the help of a system that goes into a person’s past and “classifies” the information about all the jobs that he had according to three dimensions: management, function, industry. Thus, we can create very precise virtual communities of people who share the same type of professional features.
The model we propose is structured around values and around the belief that the best career is the one which contains the best results. To get to that person, you need to establish a long-term relation, prior to any project you might have, to study his achievements and compare them with those of other people who have the same kind of background. On the other side, it is also a system for individuals. The best people are, by far, the strongest, because their results speak for themselves. They never have to look for a job, because the jobs are “looking” for them. But, in order to get there, one must take action towards one’s own professional development. Therefore, another dimension that we had to include in BrainBank is the one related to career advisory, i.e. helping people gain control over their own future, provided that they respect some things that we recommend.
Through their interactions and their reciprocal support, Leadership Alliance partnerships create, in this way, synergies which have never been possible before. Such synergies are at the very heart of the reason why this model was created, because they produce truly unique benefits for our clients and partners, as well as for our business community.