2015 was generally been a good year for the consumer and FMCG segments. As with most other business segments, we saw some geographies or regions where there were concerns or fears about investments and economic growth. However, overall 2015 has been positive for our Consumer customers. If we look at what our clients are searching for in the way of executive talent, anything connected to online and digital business is generating demand. Also the Consumer segment is currently experiencing a significant amount of technological disruption that creates new work for us thanks to demand for new executive and leadership skills. These sought-after, new skills are also generating work for us in other ways: mainly through requests from clients to assess their corporate culture and examine how it works.
As companies bring in new talent with different (in some cases completely new) skill sets, they have to think about how to keep these executives happy and how to support them in their roles.
In 2015 we saw a shift in the content of client service demand. Much more of what clients want from us, with regard to my previous comments on helping client-businesses redefine and develop their corporate culture, revolves around cultivating leadership skills and forming corporate meritocracies. Companies are looking for candidates who are values-focused. This is the type of candidates they want to find to fill vacant leadership positions. Companies are working more to tailor jobs to a specific candidate type or profile that matches a corporate vision or values-oriented philosophy for the company moving forward. We now see this values-based executive search often coupled with overall efforts to modernize and make businesses more efficient. This is exemplified in a project we did for a partner representing a handful of globally-known companies pursuing such projects include 3G, Berkshire Hathaway, Heinz, AB Inbev and Burger King among others. A lot of our work during 2015 focused on developing strategies for values-based executive talent search. We expect this trend to continue in 2016.
Change or disruption (perhaps evolution is a better word) has also boosted demand for a cross-offering of SpenglerFox services in the Consumer segment via our Human Capital Solutions (HCS) counselling. Consultancy in this area recently generated a call for a dedicated consultant at our offices in Germany as clients look at how they need to adapt and modernize.
Since I mentioned how specific markets are doing, I believe it’s worth pointing out that our Consumer practice is growing fastest in what I call Europe-adjacent markets. We see interesting growth in the number of projects we have in Middle Eastern countries; however, South Africa is an interesting market as well. Growth in Europe has slowed down somewhat.
Central and Eastern Europe is a smaller market for us than it used to be, but growth in Germany and Western Europe is generally positive. I think the factors of greatest concern for us at the close of 2015 relate to how geopolitics impacts economies in different regions as we move forward. For example, the Russian market is now smaller and is growing slower than it used to: due to political uncertainties.
This situation, however, has helped us to rethink our business; both in assessing strategy for the markets where we operate as well as developing our skills in helping clients make placements in roles at much higher levels. These include, for example, searches for a region-wide president for EMEA or a corporate president for the US market. In a nutshell, 2015 for SpenglerFox’s Consumer practice group has been about keeping pace with our clients and making sure our services evolve as their needs evolve. Our key focus is to keep a step ahead of our clients.
The Governance Revolution: What Every Board Member Needs to Know, Now! SpenglerFox CEO, Jens Friedrich, invites Deborah Hicks Midanek to discuss her recently published book 'The Governance Revolution: What Every Board Member Needs to Know, Now!' Deborah is a veteran independent director, a pioneer in the corporate restructuring industry, and a serial entrepreneur. Widely respected for her turnaround skills, she has diagnosed and remedied problems for over 60 corporations and facilitated the growth of nearly 30 other ventures, including her own. Described by the late Fletcher Byrom, CEO of a Fortune 25 company, as a “pure thinker” – quickly gaining a deep understanding of complex problems and demonstrating an extraordinary ability to assimilate information and craft resilient solutions. More_on_Deborah_Hcks_Midnek.pdf Size: 161 KB Deborah_Hicks_Midanek_Slide Deck.pdf Size: 920 KB
A White Paper/Conversation with Industry Leaders What GlobalBusiness Leaders Have to Say about Successful Product Roll-outs and Meeting KPIs. The following paper includes insights from executives representing a handful of global companies. These individuals serve in roles such as general manager, business unit head, regional marketing leader and supply chain manager. They have experience working all over the world and represent markets such as Asia, the Middle East and Africa, North America and Western Europe. When speaking with them, the team at SpenglerFox sought to map the current environment for acquiring new leadership and managerial talent. Our discussions also focused on how this talent helps their organizations ensure the success of launching new products on the markets where these businesses operate and how these manager-leaders set KPIs to evaluate and measure the success of said launches. WhitePaper_TheEssentialsOfTalent.pdf Size: 1.07 MB
Rex was hired as a Project Director for a multinational factory in China. He held a similar role with another multinational before accepting this new position. The recruitment process was rigorous and exhaustive with many rounds of interviews with various department heads at regional and global levels. Rex was offered the position and accepted, reporting to his new boss (The Global Head of Supply Chain) who was based half way around the world. In his new role, Rex did not directly manage a team, however, he was responsible for managing several department heads that did not report to him. Rex was also responsible for updating all key stakeholders at headquarters on a project’s status. Sadly, Rex only lasted one year in this role, since he was not able to match the performance expectations of multiple stakeholders. This is a situation where Rex would have benefited from executive coaching. Amidst the daily demands of his job and the expectations of his stakeholders, Rex needed to better manage his focus while making strategic decisions at every moment to achieve goals and make progress. Like Rex, every level of management can benefit from coaching. But the individuals who benefit the most from executive coaching are those who are motivated to pursue growth in their personal and professional lives. In most cases, new hires at every level do not receive enough support for grasping an organization’s culture. Michael D. Watkins, Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change at IMD and author of “The First 90 Days: Critical Success Strategies for New Leaders at All Levels,” explains that all new hires at every level must gain insights into the values, norms, and guiding assumptions of an organization. At the same time, they must navigate the very fine line between working within the existing culture framework and seeking to change it. Executive coaching is a natural next step in working with companies transform their businesses and aligns perfectly with my own life purpose and passion. I have been working as a retained executive search consultant for over 10 years, helping companies succeed by finding the right leaders as a search consultant, and then coaching these senior executives to reach their fullest potential. Transitions are always difficult for any organization. Whether through an internal promotion or an external hire, most senior executives receive only a basic orientation and onboarding. In a recent Harvard Business Review article, “Onboarding Isn’t Enough,” co-author Michael D. Watkins finds most companies are doing little to support the onboarding process. “Nearly all large companies are competent at the administrative basics of signing leaders up, but that level of onboarding does little to prevent the problems that can arise when working with new colleagues and grappling with unfamiliar cultural norms and expectations,” Watkins says. In my discussions with HR decision makers and business leaders about their biggest challenges, I have learned that many companies are trying to transform their organizations in a marketplace where disruption is constant. In this VUCA environment, some of their strongest business leaders were not performing as successfully as they once had and were having difficulty adapting to change, new market landscapes and new processes. These are very common themes and challenges that I consistently hear from companies in my travels. I realized that as an executive search consultant, my value in impacting a company positively stopped at the recruitment and hiring process. I knew that I wanted to continue helping clients and executives succeed beyond the appointment of a senior leader, and this is why I began executive coaching. Technology advances in the last several years have created a much faster and more complex world. According to the renowned mindfulness expert Rasmus Hougaard, our attention in the workplace is under siege. We are constantly under pressure, always on, overloaded with information and trying to work in distracting environments. Executives today face many more challenges in adapting to change and successfully keeping pace with these complex work environments, compared to ten years ago. Authors Thomas H. Davenport and John C. Beck in their book, “The Attention Economy: Understanding the New Currency of Business”, advocate that understanding and managing attention is now the single most important determinant of business success. Coaching positively impacts a company’s bottom line by helping executives remain present, be focused and make optimal moment-by-moment decisions that deliver optimal results. As I look back at my work as a search consultant, my most fulfilling moments were helping executives achieve their goals. Many senior executives in Asia, Europe and the US have reached out to me to explore job opportunities, but also seek career guidance. With every inquiry, I always tried to take the time to share my thoughts and advice. In doing so, I felt I was giving back to those who mentored me throughout my own corporate career. Many search firms like SpenglerFox offer executive coaching and HR consultancy services in addition to traditional retained executive search. To receive further information about the executive coaching services, please contact Mary Kramer at firstname.lastname@example.org. About the Author: Victor Filamor Victor Filamor was SpenglerFox’s Country Manager Hong Kong and Asia Consumer Practice Leader in 2007/8. He is currently a Partner and Certified Executive Coach with a retained executive search & leadership advisory firm in Hong Kong and Singapore specializing in the Consumer & Retail and Industrial sectors. Prior to his executive search career of over a decade, he had 25 years of P&L management, as well as marketing, sales and operations management experience with Consumer and Industrial Fortune 500 companies and Asian multinationals. He has lived in four countries across Asia Pacific.