If you want to get ahead get a pet!

executives with pets Signium Social

Pets! Who needs them?!

You do; especially if you’re a rising executive hoping to de-stress and stay healthy while achieving better work-life balance. Furry friends also help you empathise and develop your emotional IQ – soft skills that may be essential to success in a senior team.

Pet ownership can also be a plus point during job interviews as well-informed main board directors are apt to sneak in a surprise question about you and your pets. It’s not just an oddball question to probe your softer side. The benefits of pet ownership are becoming more widely known and it’s good to know whether a top candidate ticks the right pet ownership boxes.

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Women have head start in quest for new leaders

Mosima Selekisho Director at Talent Africa

Women’s Day is a good time to share a secret … recent events give women executives a big opportunity to fulfil their potential as key contributors to corporate success as they are ideally placed to meet the growing need for a new type of corporate leader.

A spate of organisational failures and mis-steps highlights the shortcomings of power leaders (corporate kingpins who operate on some elevated plane and go unchallenged for years) and self-serving leaders (who do well personally while their operations go to the dogs).

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Executive retrenchment becoming the new normal

surviving retrenchment

No job is safe, no future secure. That’s the new normal as executives in both the private and public sectors confront a disturbing reality – retrenchment.

Executive head-hunters are today witnessing an upsurge in the number of senior candidates who are in the job market for one reason only: recent or imminent retrenchment.

The development is not purely local. These days, international candidates with quality CVs often test the South African waters after being blindsided by retrenchment.

The drivers are fast-changing technology, tough economic conditions and belt-tightening by private companies and public services. Cost savings are substantial when ‘tall poppies’ are cut.

How should executives react to an environment in which seniority is no safeguard and delayering of organisational structures ensures some top managers, advisers and professionals will be redundant?

First, never assume ‘this can’t happen to me’. You may have good qualifications, with good relationships in place, but you can still be thrown under the bus when economic pressures mount and operational losses pile up.

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Business success is a journey, leadership is the compass

compass social signiumLeadership identification and development continues to be one of the most pressing business issues keeping executives awake at night. Every business has the same aim: success and sustainability. Established routes to this destination include competitive advantage, new technology to improve productivity and product innovation, and cost reduction to secure pricing efficiencies. Without superior leaders, none of this is possible.

Companies progress through a life cycle from seed to start-up, growth to established, expansion to mature, and then to decline and exit, or renewal through invention. In the same way, leadership identification and development progresses through a cycle.

Leadership consulting offers the most suitable answers to these current dilemmas by helping leaders to align their people strategy with their business strategy; providing scientific and objective information through assessments; designing development interventions to help leaders function at their highest potential; and then embarking on acquiring and retaining leadership talent when talent needs to be acquired and not ‘home-grown’.

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Corporate narcissism… SA’s secret curse

corporate narccisist Signium SocialIt is the unspoken curse stalking corporate South Africa. Few people talk about it but many executives encounter it and may be vaguely – or acutely – aware of the danger to organisations and careers.

The potentially toxic issue is corporate narcissism and its personification, the corporate narcissist.

Psychologists, consultants and corporate head-hunters have been aware of the issue for many years, though it came into sharp focus internationally following the 2008 financial crisis as the egotism of some business leaders may have paved the way to the Great Recession.

Specialists describe corporate narcissism as a corporate culture characterised by excessive pride, leading to destructive behaviour and strategies that boost personal egos rather than a company’s long-term prospects.

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Global consumer trends remixing executive DNA

Connected Consumer signium social

Executive DNA is not immutable. Requirements shift. Profiles change. Business needs and economic conditions are obvious drivers, but societal factors, technology developments and the spirit of the times play a major role in how executives see themselves, their role and priorities.

We are what we eat, but we are also what we read, think and feel. What happens around us, shapes us. Executives are not elevated above the society they serve. They are rooted in it.

Global trends research strongly supports this view, even when the primary focus is much broader than the executive head-hunter’s fixation with managerial skill and leadership potential.

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Shadow director jeopardy stalks SA advisory boards

Advisory boards seem an obvious way forward for companies run by executives with limited global leadership exposure.

One of the biggest advantages of advisory boards in South Africa is the facilitation of input and advice from wise old heads. In this way, highly respected, vastly experienced managers can make an important contribution to the company and the new South Africa.

At the same time, younger managers and business school graduates benefit from the sort of knowledge not found on an MBA course.

So, where’s the potential flaw?

The pitfall is found in the grey area between advice and direction or between a general observation and a specific instruction.  If an instruction or direction is given, an advisor may be regarded, for legal purposes, as a ‘shadow director’ and that could spell trouble for any advisor who has not taken out insurance to cover the risks run by formal boards of directors in the event of liquidation or fraud.

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What to do when…Integrity may get you fired

Rising levels of perceived corruption have sharpened the ethical challenge for those in responsible positions. When the spoils might run into billions, it seems you can be fired for doing the right thing and rewarded for doing what you know to be wrong. How do you stay on the side of the angels, stay in your job … and stay out of jail?

The issue receives growing attention.

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Signium Africa (previously Talent Africa), a leading executive recruitment company based in South Africa offering head-hunting and leadership consulting services in sub-Saharan Africa. www.signium.co.za