The AESC recently caught up with No Fear of Failure author, Gary Burnison, CEO of executive search firm Korn/Ferry, to learn about his inspiration for the book and to delve further into the key qualities needed for successful leadership. No Fear of Failure: Real Stories of How Leaders Deal with Risk and Change profiles twelve distinctive leaders who, in one-on-one interviews, revealed their thoughts on leadership.

What was it, in your experience of dealing with senior management, that prompted you to write this book?

We all know the importance of teamwork. Effective teams can produce exceptional results but they can also produce not so exceptional results. As Richard Hackman discusses when it comes to teamwork managers and organizations don’t always make the right choices, mostly based on some of these common misconceptions.
Whether organizations are building a talent pipeline for the global HQ or employing local talent in regions worldwide, all executives need a global outlook in order to effectively interact across borders and cultures. But how do organizations develop ‘global executives’?

This important dilemma crossed the minds of Morgan McCall and George Hollenbeck, and resulted in the comprehensive book published by Harvard Business School Press, The Lessons of International Experience: Developing Global Executives.

When entering new markets you have to start with a clearly defined strategy and an honest assessment of your organization's capabilities. Without this, any path forward is flawed.

I have seen too many businesses say they are expanding into international markets, without clearly defined objectives and processes to achieve success, 'well these are big emerging markets, with a lot of people, and there is not much growth in our home market...' Hardly a strategy.


“If things are intangible ... well!
There is no reason to not want them...
How sad would the journey be, if it wasn't for
the magical presence of the stars!”
- Mario Quintana

It is very common to hear career coaches, hiring managers or executive recruiters advising candidates to use the CAR interview technique – in fact, I first heard about it from an AESC member search consultant at Russell Reynolds. But why is this particular interview technique so popular?

Australian health foundation, VicHealth, recently published a report stating that the Australian economy is losing $730 million per year due to overworked and overstressed employees. The report found that 13.2% of men and 17.2% of women were depressed as a result of job strain, directly impacting employee productivity and ROI, and costing employers an average of 8,000AUD per person, per year.

According to Russell Reynolds in a recent article in the FT, ‘Little Change For Board Gender Imbalance’, European organisations are making slow progress in adding women to their boards, ‘Women account for 11.7 per cent of board seats at the top 300 European companies, up from 8.5 per cent in 2008...But only seven women hold chief executive or executive chairwoman positions and one in five companies still has an all-male board.’

Profit and Loss (P & L) responsibility is one of the most important responsibilities of any executive position. Having P & L responsibility involves monitoring the net income after expenses for a department or entire organization, with direct influence on how company resources are allocated. Those with P & L responsibility often give final approval for new projects and are required to find ways to cut budget expenditure and ensure every program is generating a positive ROI.

The global economic crisis has led to customers downgrading their purchases in terms of both quantity and quality, and are asking harder questions about how your product or service is truly differentiated from others. In ordinary business situations, and especially during economic downturns, the power of a brand can truly never be underestimated in answering this basic consumer need.