All kinds of organizations do all kinds of executive assessments and publish all kinds of fascinating reports on each individual’s core competencies, examining why and how he/she will undoubtedly succeed at their next job. Yet, isn’t it interesting that the average tenure for most executives is often shorter than expected? And the cost of a bad executive hire is estimated to be six to 12 times their annual salary!
Does anyone ever wonder — beyond their educational and professional pedigree, their never-ending brilliance, and their deep subject matter or industry expertise — how well these people actually connect (or not) with others, whether be it at the board-level or front-line contributors? Are they willing and able to empathize as well as they direct? Are they emotionally astute, engaging and intelligent enough to surround themselves with productive dissent? In short, are they relationship-centric and able to light a fire within others (much more lasting) or are they simply focused on lighting a fire under others to get things done?
Here are the first five of 10 essential competencies for relationship-centric executives, at any company, in any industry:
- Strategic relationship orientation – Do they understand the concept of professional net worth — thinking long term about their personal, functional and strategic relationship assets and liabilities? Are they aware of their strategic business relationship opportunities, do they critically analyze a return on each strategic relationship investment, and develop annual strategic relationship plans (SRPs) congruent with business goals and objectives?
- Customer relationship impact – Do they serve the current, and anticipate the future, needs of their customers, both within and outside of the organization? Do they live in their customer’s shoes and aim to create an exceptional customer experience at every opportunity? Do they build respectful and candid relationships with varying customer constituents, listen to their insights and empower their customers to share their experiences?
- Market presence and prominence – Do they intimately understand the market in which a business operates including the competitive landscape, the critical suppliers, and the regulatory environment? Are they viewed as a thought leader/market maker in their chosen field? Do they build critical relationships with market influencers, keep their fingers on the pulse of the market to identify key trends and opportunities, or shape those trends themselves?
- Business enabler – Do they proactively identify and embrace business opportunities, consistently find ways to overcome challenges, and act upon key market trends in advance of the competitive landscape? Do they prioritize among competing opportunities and invent new ways to increase business opportunities (increasing the size of the pie)? Do they get independent insights from their portfolio of relationships and leverage a broad base of market relationships as “signal scouts”?
- Results driven – At the end of the day, do they improve business performance? Do they consistently meet or beat goals and objectives and transform the business for significantly improved results? Do they invest in critical relationships to accelerate their ability to drive profitable revenue growth, efficient and effective cost performance, and a quantifiable return on their relationship investments?
By the way, if you have aspirations in leading a team, a project, a critical initiative, or an entire organization, how do you rate against these competencies?
For the remaining five essential competencies, check out part two of this article next month.