Managing Partner, Odgers Berndtson Frankfurt
and Head of the Board & Chair and CEO practices in Germany
Collaboration in practice means working with colleagues from other functions and other markets to ensure clients and candidates benefit from a seamless service that excels in everything it does.
Let me give you an example. A recent merger between two ‘natural resources’ companies, one based in the Americas and the other in Europe, meant that there was a need to effectively blend the two organisations’ senior people. This was a merger of two very diverse cultures and backgrounds.
The two companies decided to conduct a ‘neutral’ management audit that would be objective and transparent. Its aim was to make sure that even though one company was larger than the other, there was a clear desire to ensure that this was a merger of equals so that all the best people had the best opportunities to secure the new positions.
They sent out an RFP to no less than 16 search agencies globally, all our well-known competitors as well as smaller boutiques. After three rounds of physical presentations, we were awarded the assignment. It is a huge project auditing the top 140 managers of both companies. We had only been able to win this because of the collaborative approach of many of the people involved at Odgers Berndtson combined with the speed and agility of our response.
Together with the office here in Frankfurt, we immediately joined up with the respective assessment teams in our Vienna, São Paulo and US offices. These four offices in a short time period – and from a standing start – prepared a very sophisticated paper on how they would conduct this project in a collaborative and cohesive way. The client acknowledged that they could see how committed we were to the assignment, to transparency and to answering the brief in a creative fashion. We offered a tailor-made solution – not just something ‘off the shelf’.
The head of the Odgers Berndtson Leadership Practice for this project said he would participate in all the assessments – in Brazil, Austria, the US and Germany – wherever necessary and would not devolve it. We were the only firm to offer that personal involvement at that senior level: one leader who joins up with the local Odgers Berndtson offices to bind the whole project together. The collaborative ‘glue’, if you like. We believe that it was this approach, this desire to go the extra mile, that made the difference.
Despite the case for more gender-diverse boards being made many times over, there is still some w...