John Rose, Vered Consulting’s experienced CEO, provides insight into how to make it a little less lonely as a CEO or MD.
Running a recruitment company, whatever the size, is a tough job. The current business environment is characterised by a highly competitive global economy, accelerating innovation in IT, candidate short markets and increasing demands from clients. Coupled with that, recruitment is fast becoming heavily regulated.
The decisions anyone at the top of a recruitment company make are becoming bigger, and the cost of failure is turning out to be more extreme than ever. With very few people to turn to, being at the top of a recruitment business can be a lonely place. These feelings of seclusion can also obstruct any CEO or MD in doing their job successfully.
With the UK economy more benign than for a while and the challenges facing businesses being entirely different to those experienced in the past, many leaders find themselves in new territory.
Within recruitment, the vast majority of MDs and CEOs have worked their way up through the ranks. They are characterised by being highly talented, very successful, hugely motivated and hard working recruiters. In addition, they have ordinarily had the answers to all of the questions posed to them up to now. It can therefore be difficult for them to recognise and admit that they need additional support.
This is where hands-on executive support for recruitment businesses and their leaders can play an invaluable role. This kind of support can provide a secure channel for a recruitment leader to express anxieties, as well as honest and constructive feedback, completely free of the sugar coated advice others within, or associated to, the organisation would give.
But whilst the benefits are undeniable, it is sometimes less apparent to recruitment leaders who sit at the top and who may have become frozen by isolation. Therefore it sometimes takes a real challenge to strike or the board to make the first contact before someone realises they need support.
With mentors, executive coaches and consultants vying for work, Vered Consulting takes a more pragmatic approach, straddling all three. Traditionally, a mentor is an expert in their field, someone who has been there, done it and got the t-shirt, yet a coach is able to guide on behaviours whilst a consultant is the expert on the technical requirements of the role. John Rose is all three. As he himself says “I am a strategic hands-on operating partner providing executive level services, coaching and mentoring to recruitment leaders. I want to work on the sales floor and not just in the board room. I am extremely open about sharing my knowledge and experience, and enjoy coaching and mentoring others and seeing them thrive. Straight talking, open-minded, solutions-focused and innovative would be some key characteristics that I believe sum up my approach.”
Increasingly there is more for the MD/CEO to consider than ever before; from diversification, and growth strategies through to developing management teams and an appropriate infrastructure, no challenge is ever quite the same. Yet finding someone to support you who has done it all before can be invaluable.
Size of organisation is no barrier to the challenges faced. From organic SMEs to international businesses, the loneliness at the top can be the same. It’s therefore important in this current economy that someone is there to remove the jargon and translate it so that honest, pragmatic and challenging advice can be given. Yet equally important is the need for someone who is prepared to roll up their sleeves and tackle a problem head on with the incumbent CEO/MD. It can be lonely at the top, but with proper executive support, it doesn’t have to be isolating, in fact it can be liberating.