Being an expat has taught me to develop an explorer adventurer mindset, but you don’t have to be an expat to develop such a mindset, and use it to your advantage. An explorer adventurer mindset enables you to encounter strangeness, and embrace it. Your subordinate’s behavior can be reacted to at face value, or you can take the time to use this mindset to understand the root cause of their behavior, which may be cultural.

There’s a buzz around Witt/Kieffer, a feel-good factor that keeps getting better. In the last three-years they have grown revenue by 54%, filled more than 94% of their searches and watched their quality scores keep rising. What’s more impressive is that they’ve delivered these results without aggressive expansion, new sector coverage or audacious international growth. Charles W.B. Wardell, III (Chuck to anyone who knows him), who joined Witt/Kieffer in 2011 as President and CEO, explains: “When I submitted my business plan to the board it was about doing more for our existing clients. Over the last three years we’ve had the same customers with the same executives. I didn’t buy anything and didn’t go out and hire any ‘rainmakers’.”

We live in an increasingly globalized world and one where good talent is of huge value to business success. Long gone are the days when talented individuals were exclusively gobbled up by universities and businesses in London and New York. Now Shanghai, Seoul, Dubai and Sao Paulo, among many others, are well known business locations and truly on the map for candidates seeking relocation. But what about those cities that are less well-known, yet still need to attract talent to grow and prosper? How do they attract executive talent ‘off the map?’

As we’ve learned in more detail in my previous post on The Rise of the CCO and CSO, the emergence of social media has fueled an emergent, real-time customer interaction paradigm among consumer-oriented companies. Every year we are moving toward more automated data, giving us opportunities to exchange value exchange points, or points of interaction. These interaction points can be up to 100% automated, and materially change the legacy business environment’s competitive landscape. C-level executives need to monitor and manage their organization’s points of interaction with the same rigor they use to manage any new distribution channel.

Have you ever been a part of a company’s failed attempt to boost quality, merge with another company, restructure the business or improve company culture? Chances are that as an executive leader, you have experienced this. As one of the many aspects of leadership, implementing a successful change management strategy is a vital part of any successful leadership team strategy.

Social media is moving like a train with no brakes, providing a real time feedback mechanism for a multitude of companies. Consumers, both individual and corporate, now have multiple feedback forums. These forums can be used to tell others that, in an attempt to get to a live customer service representative, it takes seven automated screening prompts. After these prompts, you reach a live person who is likely from a developing country and is taught to respond to customer issues with only pre-prepared scripts.

The Legacy of Combined CIO/COO Roles

Managing a diverse, global team is unavoidable for executives in finance working for a large global investment bank. Teams responsible for implementing the finance function are generally led by a Managing or Executive Director, a Vice President, and two Associates and/or two Analysts, with the junior resources split between New York and Asia. In the middle, back and CFO offices at nearly every investment bank, this has been the trend and is here to stay. Managing successful teams poses distinct challenges to any executive in this situation, so here are five best practices to get the most out of a global team.

Germany’s win of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil wasn’t an accident. Joachim Löw, Germany’s football team manager, explained that the team applied a strategic development and implementation plan during the last 10 years to win the World Cup. In business terms, they applied long-termism for growth, profitability, transient competitive advantage and highest customer value. Germany’s football team created organizational alignment. In other words, they created operational excellence and organizational agility through working with truly effective leadership and strong skilled people.


You have been fortunate enough to make it through the process of an executive search, and now your mindset shifts from that of candidate to employee. All of the expectations you set during the recruiting process now become top of mind, as you anticipate how you are going to deliver against them.  As an experienced executive, you also realize that you are going to experience your hiring company anew, as you are now about to start your new position as a working executive, vs. that of being a candidate. Fear of the unknown is often normal as you anticipate your first days and how you are going to establish your relevance in the new corporate culture you are about to be immersed in.

A friend recommended this article to me recently that talked about how office workers in China are literally working themselves to death. Working on Wall Street can certainly feel that way in many ways (the highest highs come with the lowest lows), and with the news that a 21-year old intern working for Bank of America (BofA) collapsed and died last year after he worked until 6 am for three straight days (he also suffered from epilepsy, according the CNBC article), banks put forth explicit guidelines limiting the number of hours interns, and now first-year investment banking analysts, can work.