Use Your Head To Get Your Foot In The Door

There is a book on the market that every job seeker should purchase and absorb immediately – Use Your Head To Get Your Foot In The Door by bestseller author Harvey Mackay.  Harvey is the author of the New York Times #1 Bestseller Swim With The Sharks and the longtime Chairman of Mackay-Mitchell Envelope Company which is a $100 million company he founded at age 26 in Minnesota.  What is interesting about this timely effort is that the author guarantees that if you don’t get a job within 6 months after buying and reading this book that he will refund your purchase price.  He is that confident that the information he is providing  will get you the job you want.

One of the most striking comments early on in the book is a quote from a recruiter from Korn/Ferry who referred to Mackay’s 2004 book:  We Got Fired! … And It’s the Best Thing That Ever Happened To Us.   She stated that  “sixty percent of all CEOs ended up getting fired.”  The recruiter mentioned that a new kind of manager was put into power during the recession and that such a personality and skillset may not be appropriate  for the recovery that many believe we are now experiencing. 

Though the absolute turnover of CEOs has slowed down it is believed you will see major changes in the near term for 2 reasons:  CEOs are now more comfortable to move on their own but more importantly now that things have gotten better for many organizations, many Boards are now determining that they need an individual who will take them to the next level rather than keeping them solvent.  With Boards now looking for a new type of Leader – a Change-Agent so to speak, a candidate must now be astute to market themselves as an expert that can take the organization to a new place. 

Progress and change might be two key words that you will want to incorporate into your Cover Letters and answers during interviews as a reflection of what Boards are now looking for in their new Leadership. It is also important to determine at what stage of growth that the entity that you are interested in is at during your interview process.  If per chance the association or company has not evolved as quickly as others in the last few years it is important that the candidate react accordingly. 

 It is imperative that you do your homework before any interaction with a search committee so that you can show that you are atuned to the current financial and philosophical status of the organization and more importantly be aware of where the organization wants to be in the next few years.

Life at the top has certainly changed recently,  “top managers have had to demonstrate a certain amount of what could be called executive agility.  Managers have to be able to prove that they can manage highly competitive markets, turnaround situations, and restructurings as well as periods of high growth.  This is what separates the fabulous leaders from the mainstream.  These leaders need to be intelligent people by definition.  That includes financial intelligence, business intelligence, and emotional intelligence.  And a sense of balance in these ingredients is required.” 

Though much of Mackay’s book is a hands-on demo of the job-seeking process which I will write about in future blogs, it is important to recognize that in today’s world those of us in the search mode must be more focused on every aspect of the entity that we are interested in and be cognizant of all the changes that are taking place within the industry or profession.  It is quite obvious that selection committees and search firms know much more about you than in the past due to the internet so it is just as important for the candidate to do the same.  You best do your research because they certainly have done theirs on you!


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