Cocky or confident? Telling the difference in your CEO

When it comes time to assess the qualities that a CEO candidate might have to offer, and the elements of their executive experience that might come across, you'll need to look at not just the most obvious elements of their resume, but also correctly interpret what you're seeing. This can come down to a moment in which what may seem like a strong personality might simply be arrogance.

While your CEO most likely won't be a recently graduated student, it's interesting to see that Inside Higher Ed has a new study showing students' own estimation of their worth in relation to the reality of their worth, with students identified as being more than 20 percentage points below as ready as they thought they were.

That can be something that you encounter in the working world, especially if a person goes through their life without encountering much criticism or resistance. Rather, it might be more likely for interested candidates to take their advice from Converse's CEO Jim Calhoun, who recently outlined his executive philosophy in an interview for Forbes.

Describing the sort of person that he prefers not to hire when confronted with such a moment, Calhoun unsurprisingly singles out selfishness as a trait to avoid.

"I think people who don't do well or who leave by their own choice are fixated on what's in it for them," Calhoun says. "Somebody who puts their aspirations above the business."

A high drive is something that can be a positive in certain situations, so a global executive recruitment firm should be called in to help your business find the best match in a saturated market.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

Choosing the right things to ask your future CEO

In some senses, many companies will want to know the same things about their possible future CEO that any company would want to know during any interview process.

Just as it's important to avoid clichés and meaningless buzzphrases when seeking out lower-level workers, the things you ask your executives will stick with them and make a difference. It's important to remember that just as you are judging future applicants, the people you interview are getting a glimpse of you in the way that you approach them.

This seems to be a topic of much discussion on the internet, and there are inevitably going to be differences as to the best way to go about this problem. Beauty CEO Jane Park, for example, writes in Inc. that there's "one question" interviewers need to ask: "How would you solve our biggest business challenge?"

Park's reasoning behind this is that this question will challenge the applicant and give the interviewer a real time demonstration of their thought processes in problematic situations. A point she doesn't mention is that this also reveals how seriously the candidate has done the research on your company to skillfully address whatever "your biggest challenge" may be.

But let's be practical about this: there's no magic question that will single out the right person. Rather, each company will have their own series of questions, priorities, and overall strategy necessary to sort through all those possible executives for the right one. An executive recruiter like YES Partners brings with them not a magic wand, but expertly honed knowledge that can be put to good use in your favor.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

How a CEO can help break a sense of bureaucracy

No CEO tenure is like any other, and the business history of the person you will employ will have all of its own unique circumstances. More than that, it can come with its chances to challenge the unfair preconceptions you may not have known you have.

Take a famously shunned word: bureaucracy. The Harvard Business Review rightly pinpoints it as a "bogeyman," a pejorative term that conjur​es up nightmare visions of Kafka, "Office Space," and countless other fictional worlds where sanity is replaced by structure.

However, perhaps a truly visionary CEO will be able to dig a little deeper and reveal exactly what this word really means when applied to their company. The author of this HBR article, Julian Birkinshaw, draws from personal experience to describe the damage a lack of specificity can cause when assessing a business.

"Bureaucracy is a convenient bogeyman, as it can mean anything that is bad about big companies," Birkinshaw writes."But if these executives are going to make their companies suffer less from it, they had better figure out how to identify the precise problems it causes, and focus directly on them."

So, what is it really that is wrong with your company and what can an incoming CEO do to fix it? The answer will be different for each case, but the contemplative CEO will be able to break down this "bogeyman" into a workable situation that reveals what is and isn't wrong with it. YES Partners can help you find the person with that kind of lack of prejudice and inherent insight.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

The wisdom to know the difference: Strong CEOs who can let go

The famous "serenity prayer" by Rienhold Neibuhr features an invocation for the wisdom to be able to tell what things one can change and what things are beyond one's control. The latter might be a notorious blind spot for your CEO, even if they exhibit other positive qualities.

After all, "perfectionism" is one of those nebulous words that seems to be a good and not usefully vague fit whenever a job interviewer asks the dreaded question "What's your biggest fault?" 

But there is such a thing as being too perfect. Overstepping the boundaries of one's position and attempting to control everything can be serious problems, as the Harvard Business Review writes, and an executive recruiter may be the middle man who can help your company figure out if a seemingly promising person might have this kind of obsession.

There are, of course, ways to cope with the desire to take charge of everything and focus their energy in more positive directions. In that piece for the Review, Elizabeth Grace Saunders mentions some of these possible strategies, the simplest of which might be to teach oneself acceptance and stop trying to overstretch their resources.

"If you find yourself taking on an increasing number of projects and/or people, the only way to regain a sense of control is to, paradoxically, let go of control: let other people help you," she writes. 

Some candidates will already know this, and may be able to provide examples from their executive experience of when collaboration beat out the ego. YES Partners prides itself on being able to find the right people for you, and give you the "wisdom to know" in those hours when you might need it most.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

Higher salaries for CEOs, says new ratings

When laying the groundwork for a new candidate to begin their CEO tenure at your company, it may be necessary for you to consider the greater trends of CEO payment and scale your incoming person's paycheck accordingly. It's also important to keep these statistics in mind so you can compare what their previous rates of pay were with the norms experienced nationwide.

According to information from GMI Ratings Pay Survey, rates of compensation have increased since last year by nearly 8.5 percent. The numbers are significantly high, with Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg topping the list with more than $2 billion raked in. The person under him has a billion less. 

Compared to that, Tim Cook of Apple only reported a (relatively) measly $143 million. The lowest on the list, Frank Coyne of Verisk Analytics, took home more than $100 million.

There may seem to be some big disparities here, but the author of the report, Greg Ruel, described the figures brought forth by this study as a historically significant collection of numbers.

"While the companies in this year's list have performed well over the past three and five year periods in terms of shareholder return, generally speaking, it's the sheer size and volume of equity awards granted to these top executives that catapults their total compensation to astronomical levels," he said.

Taking this information in and forming a workable plan off of it may seem like a lot of work, but an executive recruiter can look at your most likely candidates and pinpoint their previous pay rates as factors worth emphasizing.

Fundamental cultural differences and your CEO

We can afford less and less to disregard the beliefs and practices that other cultures might have, seeing as there are fewer barriers toward interacting with them in a business setting.

There's always time for businesses to learn and grow, but how familiar your incoming candidate is with the heads of businesses from other countries might be an important factor that keeps your company from seeming too isolated and out-of-touch in foreign relations.

For starters, there's no telling where the best CEO for an open position at your company will hail from, and using a global executive search firm might open up your mind to other possibilities you previously might not have considered. But there's also fundamental customs and practices that your partners or other related companies may partake in that your company should be aware of to maximize the chances of them working successfully.

The New York Times has reported on the supposed use of mediums and divination by one Korean businessman as an example of a practice that American companies may find strange. Because this is apparently not an uncommon habit for business chiefs in South Korea, the difference in executive experience between cultures should be acknowledged and respected. 

But aside from those situations, it is probably a pretty universal statement that a broad mind can be a useful thing in keeping your company active, engaged, and growing. With a global executive search firm like YES Partners contracted, your business can become more aware of things they might not have suspected were so important and build an image worth being proud of. 

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

What ‘close calls’ can your CEO boast?

It's not about how much success your candidate has had relative to failures during his or her CEO tenure: it's all in the attitude that he or she brings to each situation, good and bad alike. For example, pretending that significant negative events never happened might not be a good sign.

The more emotionally mature a potential executive might use these moments within his or her past constructively the better, and an executive recruiter can help a company be more sharp in noticing this specific attitude.

Stories about CEOs who seem to maintain this healthy kind of look at their lives show up in the news from time to time. USA Today has a piece about the head of online real estate firm Redfin named Glenn Kelman.

In the interview, Kelman described an experience in which he nearly got fired from another company he helped found early in his life. Though he didn't actually get dismissed, he now describes even the close call as "the best thing that ever happened to me."

"Everybody who's been fired has heard before about the problems they have," he told the source. "They just don't know it's that serious. Once you know what the stakes are, you become more serious."

On the other hand, there are those major situations that become an unavoidable part of a former executive's life, like serious crimes. Bloomberg has a piece about the denial of appeal of the former CEO of Tyco International in the wake of a major scandal that got him prison time.

It takes courage to not look away, and it takes keen eyes to figure out how a CEO is considering him or herself. Turn to executive recruiter YES Partners for information on the ways to approach this situation.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

Apple recruits Burberry CEO for head of online retail

Bringing the executive experience that one has gathered through his or her own role at another company could just be one part of the outside influences that company officials must consider during the selection process for an open leadership position.

Recently, it has been announced that the former CEO of the fashion company Burberry, Angela Ahrendts, will be joining Apple. According to NPR, her appointment comes with the implication that she might successfully help the brand focus on its online stores as senior vice president of this area. But this appears to be just part of her appeal to the company. When your business looks for a CEO, you might endeavor to consider all the elements of personality and experience that might be valuable

Both NPR and the New York Times allege that Ahrendts' connection to fashion might be important if Apple invests more seriously in its wearable products in the future. In addition, she has previous experience with a retail-based brand that has a strong presence online, and (perhaps more importantly) a sizable billion-plus profit this year alone.

Forbes also reports that, as a woman in a leading position within Apple, Ahrendts will be adding diversity to the company. While these sorts of factors shouldn't be the only reason for hiring, when coupled with all of her other traits it adds to the sense that hiring her will bring more positive change to the company.

Not everyone can look at a person and immediately see what qualities he or she might bring to a specific workplace. This "checklist" kind of thinking also isn't even necessarily that helpful to the inexperienced: what companies really need is a global executive search firm, like YES Partners, that can clearly detect the right possible applications for a person. 

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

‘Fitting in’ as a startup CEO

In business, a CEO's habits and traits are often viewed as the major indicators of his or her success. There's a lot to take in when going about this task of assessing a person's strengths, however, and a recent Entrepreneur article suggests that a person with the right attitudes for a startup CEO might display them in ways that appear to be negative.

Although there's no telling for sure what this means in regards to a specific person's behavior, this article does make an interesting point when it comes to the way we think about typically "negative" traits.

Particularly, it focuses on the types of behavior that might be connected with a "rebellious" streak: in some instances this might seem counterproductive to getting work done and furthering the mission of an organization.

But for the drive that leads to a healthy startup, a leader who seems "easily bored" might simply have stifled creativity and misplaced energy, as Grant Cardone, the article's author, points out.  And since being a startup CEO could mean sticking with a bold vision until it is successfully concluded, being an outcast or "not fitting the norm" could be seen as an early sign of that.

An executive recruitment firm is best for noticing when anti-social or eccentric tendencies are a sign of something deeper. While some executives simply won't be able to find a place at your company, there might be something in a candidate that could mean big gains and a dynamic vision if you approach the situation the right way.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

Perspectives about CEO compensation changing

When it comes to the way that the chief executive of your company is paid and what benefits they receive, differing opinions may exist within your company and among investors and shareholders. Bloomberg has reported that Oracle Corporation is struggling with this very issue as members decide what the proper compensation rates should be.

Disagreement seems to have emerged between an investment group that is arguing that the software management company should support a smaller salary and pay package for its CEO, who made more than $78 million in the previous year.

The company itself, on the other hand, seem to support CEO Larry Ellison's current rate of pay. This brings up the issue of which entities have the right to influence the decision on how this matter is handled within the business itself. CEO tenure can enter into the amount that a business values a certain performer and what they think the person deserves to receive.

It's a problem that can be made more pressing by other external factors, and many corporations large and small will have to ask themselves what their chief executive has or hasn't done to be worthy of a certain payment plan.

Through it all, the CEO does not have to remain passive, and can make sacrifices that say a lot about their approach to a situation. Jason Goldberg of Fab has said that he will ditch his salary entirely for the coming year, according to AllThingsD, in response to the drop in personnel the company is seeing.

In either case, the perspective of the CEO in question is important, and that can be determined by your business using the help of an executive recruitment firm early on like YES Partners.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

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