The Morgan Samuels Perspective

Angela Wynn & The National Museum of African American History & Culture

Posted by Joy Brunson and Kimberly Lewis on Wed, Mar 1, 2017

In honor of Black History Month, Morgan Samuels team member Angela Wynn shares her experience being on the front lines of launching this historic cultural monument.


 

The National Museum of African American History & Culture (NMAAHC) opened on September 24, 2016.  The significant contributions of Founding Director Lonnie G. Bunch, III, Advisory Council Member Oprah Winfrey and many others are public knowledge. What you may not know is that Morgan Samuels’ own Angela Wynn played a very important role in the creation of the museum.

Angela WynnAngela, who now serves as Executive Assistant to Morgan Samuels Chairman and CEO Bert Hensley, previously served as the Executive Assistant for NMAAHC Council Member, James A. Johnson.

Among many notable accomplishments, James A. Johnson is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and serves as Chairman Emeritus of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts and The Brookings Institution. He was previously Chairman of the Executive Committee of Fannie Mae, as well as Executive Assistant to then-Vice President Walter F. Mondale, advising the Vice President on domestic and foreign policy and political matters. 

Prior to working for Johnson, Angela had been a longtime legal secretary and was looking for a new challenge. When she was initially contacted by a recruiter for the position as Johnson’s EA, she was not told at first who she would be supporting. Once she found out, she knew she “had” to get the job.

“There was a lot of preparation that went into [getting the job].” Angela said. “In the end, I think it came down to my personal ‘Thank you’ note, and the camaraderie we had when I interviewed with Jim.” Johnson was impressed not only by their shared alma mater, Howard University, but also connected with Angela as both were former Midwest “kids” now in the big city. As a member of the Council of the NMAAHC, it was Johnson’s job to solicit funds for the building of the museum, and to help make decisions about what exactly would go into the museum and what the layout of the building would be.  

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The National Museum of African American History and Culture (photo courtesy of NMAAHC)

Angela shared that one of the biggest challenges the Council faced was trying to solicit funds for the museum that currently holds a collection of close to 37,000 historical installments.  Through perseverance (and more than a little Oprah magic), the museum is currently thriving and in the midst of a year long celebration.  As Johnson’s EA, Angela was privy to early layouts and sneak peeks of the museum’s proposed contents.  “To know that it was coming together was great,” she said. 

One of Angela’s favorite moments actually came after she had left the position, having moved from Washington, DC to Nashville:  “They made the formal announcement that the museum was opening and they televised the opening ceremony. I watched the whole thing and was so amazed.  I immediately emailed Jim, and told him how proud I was to know that he helped build this for us, especially because of my sons. I told Jim, ‘I couldn’t be prouder to know you.’”

"They really wanted to provide a well rounded view of what African American – not just history – but culture, is about… And for it to be represented in the way that it is, in this huge, beautiful building in one of the most important places in our country – on the National Mall – is amazing.”

The museum currently has a wait list about two months long. When asked what she hopes others will take away from visiting the museum Angela states, “I want people to understand that our history is not limited to slavery and civil rights. People always want to put us in a subset and not really emphasize the major contributions that African Americans have made…  It was really important to [the Council] to encompass everything . They really wanted to provide a well rounded view of what African American – not just history – but culture, is about… And for it to be represented in the way that it is, in this huge, beautiful building in one of the most important places in our country – on the National Mall – is amazing.”

Angela is planning to take her boys – aged 14, 9 and 7, to the museum this summer.

Morgan Samuels celebrates the contributions of all African American trailblazers this, and every, month.

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One of the Museum's many exhibits (photo courtesy of NMAAHC)


The National Museum of African American History and Culture is the only national museum devoted exclusively to the documentation of African American life, history, and culture. It was established by Act of Congress in 2003, following decades of efforts to promote and highlight the contributions of African Americans. To date, the Museum has collected more than 36,000 artifacts and nearly 100,000 individuals have become charter members. The Museum opened to the public on September 24, 2016, as the 19th and newest museum of the Smithsonian Institution.

There are four pillars upon which the NMAAHC stands: 

  1. It provides an opportunity for those who are interested in African American culture to explore and revel in this history through interactive exhibitions
     
  2. It helps all Americans see how their stories, their histories, and their cultures are shaped and informed by global influences
     
  3. It explores what it means to be an American and share how American values like resiliency, optimism, and spirituality are reflected in African American history and culture
     
  4. It serves as a place of collaboration that reaches beyond Washington, D.C. to engage new audiences and to work with the myriad of museums and educational institutions that have explored and preserved this important history well before this museum was created.

 To learn more about Morgan Samuels, visit us here today.  

For career guidance as well as Morgan Samuels’ candidate tools and resources, click here.

 

Topics: executive recruiters, morgan samuels, executive search firms, executive search, executive search consultants, Philanthropy, board of directors, talent

Should I Take an Executive Recruiter's Call?

Posted by Morgan Samuels on Mon, Oct 31, 2016

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The short answer, YES! As Lynn Wu, Principal at Morgan Samuels, acknowledges, when you are happy with your current job, you might feel reluctant to take an executive recruiter’s call—but you shouldn’t be.  Recruiters are incredible assets to professionals.  In fact, executive recruiters provide potential candidates with tangible benefits that go far beyond the actual role being discussed during a recruiting call.  So, if you are a professional who is not actively looking, why should you take a call from an executive search firm?

  1. It’s the Best Time to Consider Opportunities.  The time to consider new opportunities is not when you are hunting for a job. Instead, as a professional, you should evaluate your career opportunities when you have been doing well in your current organization.  It is at this time that you are the most marketable, and an outside opportunity may provide you the opportunity to leverage your current success for a career-defining position that will take you to the next level.  Being happy in your current role allows you to evaluate opportunities objectively.  The pressure is off.  And oftentimes, the fact that you are not looking for a new role makes you an even more attractive candidate. If the opportunity you are evaluating is not an attractive next step for you, you're not obligated to move forward.
  2. It’s a Great Networking Opportunity.  Networking at the executive level is vital for future career success.  When you go through the recruiting process with an elite executive search firm like Morgan Samuels, we take the time to interview you in depth and to understand what’s truly important to you.  Even if you aren’t the right fit for the current role being discussed, you may be the perfect fit for a future search.  In addition, as you learn more about the opportunity through interviewing with the client, that also represents a valuable networking opportunity with one or more senior executives at another firm.  In the Engineering & Construction industry, for example, it is not uncommon to see joint ventures and other partnerships come out of what was initially an interview.  In other cases, a candidate might end up being considered for a different opportunity within the same organization.  We have even seen a client company create a position for a candidate who doesn't quite fit the open role, but whose skills, talents, experience and cultural fit are too valuable to pass up. Even if you decide that the open position isn’t the right fit for you or the client moves forward with another candidate instead, it is still time well spent to have met top executives in your industry.   
  3. It’s the Perfect Time to Pay It Forward and Provide a Referral.  Another reason to take a search firm's call, even if you are satisfied in your current position, is that recruiters are always sincerely appreciative of referrals.  This starts a relationship between you and the recruiter (see #5 below for why that is important). At Morgan Samuels, we genuinely value and foster our relationships with candidates and sources as much as with clients. The people being referred -- your colleagues -- will also be grateful.  This fosters mutually beneficial business relationships, and well… it’s just good karma.
  4. Recruiters Are Subject Matter Experts.  Executive recruiters are excellent resources and subject matter experts about the industries they recruit for.  They have a good understanding of current compensation rates, market trends, key insights, etc.  They are industry experts in their chosen specialty.  You should take advantage of this fact.  Even if you aren’t actively seeking a new position, perhaps taking the call from that recruiter will provide you with important information on growing business trends in your area of specialty.  Recruiters are goodcontacts to have and can also provide valuable insights to help further your career.  In addition to career guidance, they can provide interview and resume feedback, and generally help you understand how you are being perceived in the marketplace.
  5. In This Economy, It’s Important to Know Recruiters.  While the economy has improved substantially, it is not what it used to be - especially for job seekers.  Now more than ever, it is critical for an executive to be on a first-name basis with a competent and knowledgeable recruiter.  You should always be building your network, in any case.  Indeed, you should know recruiters before you have to use them.  Morgan Samuels keeps in touch with our candidates over decades and we truly value the long-term relationships we’re able to establish and maintain with our candidates over the years. 

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Final Words of Advice: 

  1. Return the recruiter’s call promptly.
  2. Be up front with the recruiter about your capabilities, credentials, and current compensation package.
  3. Be open to sending your resume to the recruiter for consideration for future opportunities even if the role being discussed is not a fit.  Having your resume on file enables you to be more quickly considered for new searches that launch in the future, since search firms will check their internal database and networks first.  You may also want to keep abreast of current open searches at a firm you have connected with.  That way, when you see a role that interests you, you can reach out to the recruiter you know to get the scoop and throw your hat into the ring. Morgan Samuels' list of active engagements can be viewed by clicking here.
  4. Be open-minded to exploring an opportunity even if the location is not ideal.  There are so few senior-level positions the higher up you go in your career, that to take your career to the next level, it is important to be flexible when it comes to location.
  5. Keep in mind that, even if you don't end up taking the position, going through the recruiting and interviewing process in and of itself is valuable, from the standpoint of deepening yourrelationship with the executive search firm, and networking with the client company, as well as sharpening your interviewing skills and refining your resume.

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Lynn Wu, Principal

To learn how you can work with Lynn or any of our recruiting professionals 

on finding your next great recruit, visit us here today. 

 

For career guidance as well as Morgan Samuels’ candidate tools and resources, click here.

 

Topics: executive recruiters, morgan samuels, executive search firms, compensation, executive search, executive search consultants, resume tips, interview tips, talent

Not Sure You Want the Job? Do Your Homework Anyway!

Posted by Morgan Samuels on Wed, Jul 20, 2016

It’s common advice that the key to nailing an interview for a job you want is preparation.  But what about an interview for a job you don’t necessarily want?

stocksnap_homework.jpg“Even if you’re not interested -- prepare,” says Bert Hensley, Morgan Samuels’ Chairman and CEO. After all, there may be
 an upcoming opening that is more appealing – either at this company or at another client company through the executive search firm.  “If you get good feedback from a client, then search firms will think of you again.  You have an audience beyond who’s in the room.”  

Executive search firms place candidates in two broad categories: active and passive.  Active candidates are actively seeking new employment, while passive candidates are generally happy in their current roles. 

“Passive candidates sometimes don’t prepare like they should.  There’s a perception among executives that they benefit from being coy or playing hard to get in the interview process,” Mr. Hensley says.  “In my experience, that’s not the case.”

 “Go in prepared, or you’re better off not doing it,” he advises. 

 

How to Prepare: 

  • Know Your Numbers. Be able to quantify your own performance, but also understand the performance of the company.  If the company is public, read their annual reports online. 
  • Know Their Story, and Yours. Be able to describe your career as a narrative and a journey.  How did you get where you are? What have you learned?  Also know the hiring company’s story.  Know its history and read through recent press releases to learn recent developments.  Research the professional background of the interviewer. 
  • Know the Industry. Research what trends are impacting the company, both positively and negatively.
  •  Ask Pointed Questions. Why is the position available?  What are their expectations?  What roadblocks would you face?  Are there opportunities for growth for someone in this position?  Both parties need to understand whether the placement is a good fit or it won’t last long, if you do decide you want it.

 Remember: interviewing for a job is always great practice, even if you’re not sure you’re interested in it. Look at it as an opportunity to shake the rust off your interviewing skills. That way, when you get to interview for your dream job, you’re ready to nail it.

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Click here for more career guidance and tools

Topics: executive recruiters, morgan samuels, leadership, human capital consultants, executive search firms, retained search firms, interview tips, talent

What Makes a Great Private Equity CFO?

Posted by Todd Wyles on Mon, Nov 16, 2015

For private equity investors, ensuring they have the right CFO is widely thought to be the most critical decision they will make from a talent standpoint, second only to installing a top CEO.  

unsplash_businessman_suit2.jpgOver the past three years, nearly forty percent of all the PE-backed searches Morgan Samuels has conducted have been CFO searches.  Why is this search such a common one throughout the investment cycle?  Is there a common profile for the best CFOs?  And if there is, what are the specific attributes that are most often observed?

In an attempt to answer these questions, Morgan Samuels has captured and analyzed extensive quantitative and qualitative data from CFO searches we have conducted for PE-backed businesses ranging in size from $8M - $75M EBITDA, across multiple industries.  By culling the data collected from assessing hundreds of chief financial officers for these searches, we have identified three critical attributes of great CFOs for PE-backed companies:

  1. They all have the desire and ability to be a true partner to the CEO, both internally and externally.
  2. They have command of the levers and metrics that drive value in the business, and they play a major role in executing the strategy.
  3. They are hands on, decisive, and they have a very high sense of urgency.

Let’s look at each of these characteristics in more detail:

True Partner to the CEO

This may appear to be a relatively soft attribute and difficult to measure, but based on our experience a CFO must not only fit the culture of the portfolio company, but also the style and vision of the CEO.  And they must simultaneously focus on both the internal and external aspects of their position.

One of the reasons the CFO role is so critical to get right at a PE-backed company is that they must have the skills and ability to advance the vision and strategy of the CEO, across multiple functions. They need to be able to translate the financial impact / projected outcomes of the strategy across the organization.  This is the internal aspect of becoming a partner to the CEO. 

Additionally, they must be focused externally.  They need to manage banking relationships and ensure covenants are not broken.  They often own multiple professional service provider relationships.  Perhaps most importantly, they have to be comfortable serving two masters – both their CEO and also the Board which will typically include at least one senior member of the GP.  And when it comes time to exit, the CFO plays a major role in interfacing with potential buyers, which requires both strong presentation skills and the ability to influence buyers.

Metrics Driven

Cash is King is a trite anecdote.  But for many middle market private equity-owned companies, it is still a very relevant mindset.  Most control investments are levered such that the management team has to be extraordinarily thoughtful about how they manage cash to ensure growth (whether that be organic, or via acquisition) and liquidity.  The CFO is at the tip of the spear regarding cash management.

One CFO we recently placed at a $150M business services company recognized within about 30 days on the job that the company was going to run out of cash 60 days later!  The CEO and the Board were not as aware of this, and so the very first order of business for this CFO was to create a set of metrics/KPIs that provided visibility for cash management on a daily basis.  That is how critical managing cash can be for a midsized business, and CFOs who install systems to ensure this happens are the most successful.

Hands on and Decisive

One of the most striking differences we have observed in successful CFOs for middle market companies with private equity owners is that they truly appreciate (and accept) that resources are at a premium, and that time is of the essence. Very few CFOs in private equity enjoy the resources (both from a staff and budget perspective) that their counterparts in the marketplace have.  Similarly, they do not have nearly as much time to create value for the PE-backed business, with an exit often only a few years away.  Being willing to get their hands dirty—and do it quickly by making great decisions (often without as much information as they would like) are hallmarks of the most effective private equity CFOs.

Private Equity Practice Leader Todd WylesA private equity firm’s greatest asset lies in its people and their capabilities to deliver across a myriad of stakeholders’ expectations. Top talent that is a great fit for private equity is extraordinarily scarce across the board, and finding the right CFO is especially critical to success. We have conducted dozens of successful CFO searches for PE-backed companies over the past few years, and we have found that candidates who possess the criteria described above thrive within the unique demands of private equity.

Click here to find out more about Morgan Samuels’ Private Equity Practice.

 

Topics: executive recruiters, morgan samuels, lean six sigma, human capital consultants, executive search firms, retained search firms, retained executive search firm, top executive search firms, Private Equity, PE, executive search, executive search consultants, Todd Wyles, CFO, executive search private equity

A New Front in the War for Talent?

Posted by Morgan Samuels on Thu, May 23, 2013

Todd Wyles Morgan SamuelsThe May issue of PE Manager includes a piece by our firm's own Todd Wyles on how private equity firms approach talent management across their portfolios. Increasingly, PE firms are adopting an Operating Partner in charge of Talent or Human Capital to help facilitate executive hiring at their portfolio companies. Todd interviewed several Heads of Talent, including leaders at Genstar Capital and Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe to learn how they create value.

Todd is the Private Equity Practice Leader at Morgan Samuels. As a human capital consulting firm, we are always enthusiastic about putting a focus on talent issues. We think the emergence of the Head of Talent role at PE firms is a positive development in the private equity space for reasons outlined in Todd’s commentary.

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Topics: executive recruiters, top executive search firm, morgan samuels, lean six sigma, human capital consultants, executive search firms, retained search firms, retained executive search firm, top executive search firms, Private Equity, PE, executive search, executive search consultants, executive employment agency, Private Equity International, Magazine, Head of Talent, CHRO, Todd Wyles

Be Prepared

Posted by Morgan Samuels on Fri, Feb 22, 2013

It’s common advice that the key to nailing an interview for a job you want is preparation.  But what about an interview for a job you don’t necessarily want?

“Even if you’re not interested -- prepare,” said Bert Hensley, Chairman and CEO of Morgan Samuels, a leading human capital consulting firm with a focus on retained executive search.  That is because there may be an upcoming opening that is more appealing.  “If you get good feedback from a client, then search firms will think of you again.  You have an audience beyond who’s in the room.”

Search firms place candidates in two broad categories: active and passive.  Active candidates are actively seeking new employment, while passive candidates are generally happy in their current roles.

“Passive candidates sometimes don’t prepare like they should.  There’s a perception among executives that they benefit from being coy or playing hard to get in the interview process,” Mr. Hensley said.  “In my experience, that’s not the case.”

“Go in prepared, or you’re better off not doing it,” he said.

Article Quote

-Know Your Numbers.  Be able to quantify your own performance, but also understand the performance of the company.  If the company is public, read their annual reports online.

-Know Their Story, and Yours.  Be able to describe your career as a narrative and a journey.  How did you get where you are? What have you learned?  Also know company’s story.  Know its history and read through recent press releases to learn recent developments.  Research the professional background of the interviewer.

-Know the Industry.  Research what trends are impacting the company, both positively and negatively.

-Ask Pointed Questions.  Why is the position available?  What are their expectations?  What roadblocks would you face?  Are there opportunities for growth for someone in this position?  Both parties need to understand whether the placement is a good fit or it won’t last long.

Topics: morgan samuels, human capital consultants, executive search firms, retained search firms

Retained Executive Search vs. In-House Recruiting

Posted by Morgan Samuels on Wed, Jan 30, 2013

A recent article in Bloomberg Businessweek is creating quite a buzz around the human capital industry.  The piece, “Executive Headhunters Squeezed by In-House Recruiters,” uses a patchwork of anecdotes and piecemeal data to make the case that retained search firms are facing new difficulties.

With all due respect to Bloomberg, the realities they outline are neither new, nor are they really difficulties in providing value added retained executive search services.

First, let’s briefly discuss the problems with their data, which the Association of Executive Search Consultants already questioned.  Businessweek appears to have chosen arbitrary data points which happen to paint a picture that retained executive search firms are suffering.  Sure, a 33 percent decline in industry revenue in 2009 looks ominous; if you omit that the decline was from an all-time high; and if you omit that revenue is already re-approaching that all-time high.  (There was also a minor world-wide economic event in 2008 that Businessweek may recall.)

As the AESC states:

“Although in-house search is inevitably eating into the lower end of the market by taking work that previously might have gone to some executive search firms, nevertheless, the overall market for executive search services is holding firm.  Once global economic conditions stabilize, we expect to see even greater demand in response to the worldwide talent shortage—a shortage being driven by underlying demographic shifts in the developed economies and huge potential demand for executive talent from the emerging markets.”

Or, in summary, “The impression given in the article that the retained executive search profession is in decline is not substantiated by the facts.”

Businessweek seems mostly concerned with the impact of in-housing on the short-term bottom lines of both hiring companies and retained search firms.  To evaluate the merits of retained search services, and not just the costs, one would have to complete a true return on investment calculation, which includes critical factors such as the impact on bringing the best talent in the market to the organization in the shortest time period possible, while minimizing the time and energy of key existing client executives.  In addition, the extent by which true executive recruiting is done in-house is not put into context.  There has been and always will be organizations which maintain and build internal executive recruiting teams.  However, most of these limited numbers of organizations also continue to use some level of external support.

Article Quote

If they had contacted us and asked the right questions - or had done the same with any of our brethren in the retained search industry - they would have heard a polite and convincing case for hiring an executive search firm and not diverting internal resources.

A key point of added value we bring to executive search over in-house recruiters is, simply, that we’re not in-house.  We’re impartial and data-driven.  We come to the hiring process with fresh eyes and perspective.

Secondly, this is what we do.  This is all we do and we’re focused on it.  We have in-depth research capabilities and access to a wealth of human capital across dozens of industries.  We have a broader view of the marketplace and a wide reach.  The Businessweek article says that Coca-Cola does 95 percent of their searches in-house.  We’re willing to bet the other 5 percent are their high-level and/or most specific searches.  They’re not going to try to find their own CEO for the same reason we don’t try to make our own Diet Coke - the result would leave a bad taste.

After all, when it comes to something vital, you want to hire an expert.

In a similar vein, the article also states that GE’s in-house executive search team was able to beat the retained search industry standard of 170 days to staff positions in 73 days.  That’s impressive.  That’s also about our average here at Morgan Samuels.

And conceptually, the article seems to argue against itself.  It’s difficult to make the case that the services provided by firms like Morgan Samuels are superfluous in an article that outlines how major corporations are hiring away our very-talented professionals in an effort to improve their performance and bottom line.  That is, after all, our specialty.  It’s the whole idea.  And imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.

Lastly, a firm such as Morgan Samuels that truly provides highly differentiated services within the retained search category is facing a robust market. There will always be a market for a firm that can be a strategic partner to clients, without being an insider, appropriately assesses leadership acumen and cultural fit, all the while scouring the marketplace for the best talent to meet our client’s key business objectives.  All of this is done with an average cycle time of 76 days, a 34% diversity placement ratio, and an average candidate review before offer of four.  Oh, and by the way, of the 4, 20% of our clients will try to hire two of the four.  So value like this is hard to duplicate and, frankly, from an economic standpoint, why would you?

Topics: top executive search firm, morgan samuels, human capital consultants, executive search firms

The Benefits of Leveraging an Executive Search Partner

Posted by Morgan Samuels on Tue, Nov 13, 2012

Jerry FongJerry K. Fong, an Executive Recruiter in the Los Angeles office of Morgan Samuels, discusses his perspective on the benefits of leveraging an executive search partner.  Jerry drives value for his Fortune 500 clients by helping them build high performing teams one key executive at a time.

In today’s competitive landscape, top-performing companies understand when to tap into the robust capabilities of talent acquisition firms.  When you have an important position to fill in your company, it’s natural that your first instinct may be to turn to your internal Human Resources department.  In many cases, however, an executive search firm is better equipped to successfully identify and recruit the best possible candidate for the job.

What are the benefits of leveraging an executive search partner?
Clients value our services because they need to hire transformation talent in a very short period of time.  Additionally, clients need to optimize the valuable time of their own key leadership team by only having them meet with candidates who meet and exceed their very specific requirements.  Let’s examine these value drivers in greater detail.

Access to the Best Talent: Executive search firms like Morgan Samuels increase your probability of identifying and attracting the very best talent in the marketplace.  The quality of the placement is the ultimate litmus test to the success or failure of an executive search.  As most Hiring Managers understand, the most qualified person is likely to be treated well by their current employer, and correspondingly is reluctant to pursue a change.  High potential candidates often stay “off the radar” simply because they are more focused on driving value for their companies.  Executive search firms utilize sophisticated tools to canvas the entire marketplace to uncover these prospects which increases the size and more importantly the potential quality of the talent pool.

Oftentimes, clients seek our assistance to identify talent outside of their industry.  As an example, a manufacturer may want to find a phenomenal Customer Relationship Manager or a Chief Information Security Officer from the realm of internet retailers.  That is where highly diversified executive search firms can also drive value - we have reach and visibility into industries, companies, and individuals where your Human Resources team might have limited access.

Speed to Hire: Executive search firms are built to quickly execute complex assignments to identify and recruit top talent in less time.  We understand that your desire is to bring the senior leader onboard as quickly as possible to start driving value right away.  An executive search firm has the ability to provide instant scale to an overloaded Human Resources organization.

As an industry leader, Morgan Samuels demonstrates an average cycle time of just 76 calendar days!  This is critical because the earlier you bring on board this missing piece of your leadership team, the faster you can begin to realize value - whether it is through top line growth, driving down costs or mitigating risks through the implementation of best practices and methodologies.

Efficient Use of Time from Your Leadership Team: Yes, that’s right.  Executive search firms can actually save you time as well!  At Morgan Samuels, we partner with our clients to invest more time upfront to clearly identify the critical requirements and the expected outcomes the placement will spearhead once onboard.  That allows us to scour the marketplace accordingly and only present the four to five best candidates who exceed your expectations.  This enables our clients to concentrate on the core competencies of running the business rather than interviewing a parade of mediocre candidates that may or may not meet your needs.  When interviewing for a C-level position, clients typically spend a full day with each candidate.  If you are interviewing 12 candidates for the position, that is 12 full days allotted for interviews!  That is a tremendous allotment of time from the “difference makers” in your organization.

Attentively, executive search firms like Morgan Samuels focus on efficiency, narrowing down the candidate pool to only present the top four to five candidates.  We scour the marketplace and examine an average of 250 individuals who could be potential candidates for the position.  After substantially vetting the candidates, we present you the top four to five.  Additionally, we compile and provide such an extensive profile that when you actually meet these candidates, you feel that you know them more completely than you probably know your next door neighbors.

Most executive search firms present their clients with 10 to 12 candidates.  That is not an efficient use of your time.  At Morgan Samuels, we only present the absolute best of the best.  In fact, our slate of candidates is typically so strong that clients attempt to hire more than one of the candidates in 1 out of 5 assignments!

Jerry Fong's Quote

Strategic Thought Partnership: This is a strong differentiator for Morgan Samuels.  We truly partner with our clients to understand your strategic priorities and then collaborate with you to identify the human capital strategy to achieve your goals.  Whether this involves reshaping your organization, executive coaching and succession planning, or simply reframing a role that you already have in mind, we harness 43 years of human capital consulting experience to coauthor the go-forward strategy with you.  You cannot provide thought leadership without having the best talent, and our team is second to none.

Relationship Building Opportunities: Executive search firms like Morgan Samuels can absolutely help you build your business network.  It’s quite common for our clients to provide us with feedback that we unlocked the door to a new customer, shepherded the start of a new alliance partnership, or helped them understand a key supplier better.  We can foster potential business development relationships which can ultimately provide greater insight into the competitive landscape, increase sales, and impact the bottom-line for your company.

Specialization: Our clients are Fortune 500 companies that lead their respective industries by specializing in their core competencies and driving sustainability differentiation.  Along those same lines, we specialize in attracting the best and brightest talent in the world with speed!  Bringing top talent to the table is what executive search firms do best.  And we’re great at what we do here at Morgan Samuels.  It is our passion.

Sources for Market Intelligence: Executive search partners can also act as incredible sources for market intelligence.  During the course of a search, we amass substantial non-proprietary information regarding market trends, compensation and organizational structure.  A recruiter at Morgan Samuels is making dozens of calls a day to top executives in your industry.  We arm our clients with invaluable data points regarding the market’s perception of your brand positioning, your key differentiators and your reputation as an employer.

As Human Capital Consultants, Morgan Samuels can help you understand how the leading companies in your industry incentivize their top talent, how they have organized their leadership teams and laid out succession plans to enable sustainable growth.

Topics: morgan samuels, human capital consultants, executive search firms, retained executive search firm

The Difference Between Leadership and Management

Posted by Morgan Samuels on Wed, Oct 3, 2012

Kelly West, a Consultant in the Los Angeles office of Morgan Samuels, a leading human capital consulting and retained executive search firm, shares her views on the difference between leadership and management. Kelly joined Morgan Samuels in 2007, and has since successfully executed a number of retained search assignments across a wide variety of industries with a focus on healthcare, entertainment and new media, and information technology.

Kelly West's Quote

The differences between leadership and management has long been discussed – both in academic and casual settings. Yet, people continue to use the two terms as synonyms, and many individuals and corporations remain confused as to how to differentiate between the two concepts. Executive Consultants, like those at Morgan Samuels, must be familiar with the distinctions between these terms and be able to distinguish between them when speaking with executives. Here are a few key points to remember:

  1. The Difference Between Leaders and Managers:  People use the terms leaders and managers to generally describe individuals who are responsible for directing others. Though the two terms seem similar on the surface, in reality they are quite different. Leaders share a dream and direction that other people want to share and follow. Managers, on the other hand, establish the infrastructure, processes and boundaries that allow the team to reach that vision.

    • Leaders: Leaders are focused on bringing about innovation and change for the company. Their primary role is to inspire people and to motivate employees. They are focused on change. They create a sense of vision, hope, and alignment among employees.
    • Managers: Managers supervise employees. They make plans, delegate responsibilities, and coordinate activities. Their goal is to create something that is definable and repeatable.
  2. Distinguishing Between the Different Roles: Leaders ask what and why, while managers ask how and when.  A leader relies on trust, while a manager relies on control.  A manager is behind the scenes, while a leader’s role is front and center.  A manager handles the day-to-day tasks of the organization, while a leader’s role is more long-term and visionary.
  3. Both Roles are Important: While a leader often receives more accolades than a manager, both roles are important and necessary for an organization to succeed.  An organization cannot thrive without a manager, and it cannot thrive without a leader.  Leadership and management must go hand in hand to be successful - both in corporate and casual settings.  They are linked, and complimentary to one another.
  4. Executive Search Firms Help Companies Identify Which Profile Is Best Suited to Meet Their Business Objectives: Sometimes a company needs a brilliant leader.  Other times, a job is best suited for an incredible manager.  Occasionally, an executive needs to be skilled at both.  An executive search firm like Morgan Samuels can assist a company in identifying and selecting executives with the appropriate skill set - leadership or management - that will be most successful in realizing their specific business goals.

Topics: morgan samuels, leadership, executive search firms, retained executive search firm

With Assessments, Context Is King

Posted by Morgan Samuels on Wed, May 16, 2012

Bert C. Hensley, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer at Morgan Samuels

There’s no doubt about it: requests for executive assessments are on the rise.  Clients and executive recruiters alike are more confident in the value of assessments and are willing to pay a sometimes hefty price to avoid the higher cost of hiring the “wrong” candidate.  A good assessment tool can provide clarity and perspective that are just not possible with the standard interview process, and can even result in faster promotions and retention of executives over time.  But assessment tools are still just that – tools.  And Bert Hensley, chairman and CEO of Morgan Samuels, feels people overestimate their worth.

In Hensley’s experience, assessment results taken at face value have led to some pretty bad decisions.  “They’re a snapshot in time of where someone may be, but they’re not really reflective of who that person is in every circumstance or situation,” Hensley says.  In other words, without context the picture is incomplete.  A good executive recruiter uses common sense and intuition to catch missing information from assessment results.

Here’s just one example of an evaluation gone wrong: A client wanted to use a nationally known assessment tool for a COO candidate.  The results came back showing the candidate had very low contentment and coachability scores.  “Without context,” Hensley said, “one might look at those results and immediately disqualify him because no one wants to work with a fellow employee who’s unhappy in life, and no one wants to bring someone into a role like COO when they’re not coachable.”

Hensley understood a frame of reference was needed, so he convinced the client to let him dig a little deeper.  It turned out the candidate was, in fact, unhappy in his current environment.  Moreover, he had very little respect for his CEO or board (for valid reasons), and it’s a rare person who wants to be coached by someone they don’t respect.  Given those circumstances Hensley was able to persuade the client to reconsider the candidate; they granted him a second round of interviews, he impressed the board to the nth degree and was successfully recruited.  Better yet, in less than six months he was promoted to CEO and has been extremely successful in his new role.  Needless to say, that happy ending wouldn’t have been possible if the assessment results went unexamined.

So for Hensley, assessments are useful (especially in considering candidates for promotion), but only to a point.  He calls out Capital One as a company with a very effective assessment tool, because “it was highly tailored and highly contextual for that company and what they needed.  They invested a lot of time and energy to get it to that point.  As a result, I think they got a better perspective and clarity on whether someone was ultimately going to be the right fit.”

What’s the upshot, then?  Assessments are only as good as the people who make and use them.  Avoid empty exercises by making sure assessment tools are well-developed, tailored for the company and highly contextual.  And always remember results can be misleading.  If you have doubts, be sure to dig deep, ask questions and use the tools we all have at no cost: intuition and common sense.

Topics: morgan samuels, human capital consultants, executive search firms, top executive search firms