IN SEARCH OF WEALTH

I recall being at dinner with the Chinese Ambassador in Malta some years ago. My boss and mentor had invited me, so as they were in the throws of a discussion about power and money, I sat listening.

The conversation was leading down a path where there was no delineation between power and money. That money gives you power and being in a position of power brings you money.  I still recall the unease within me – the restlessness that comes with knowing there is another truth.

Not being able to hold my tongue any longer, I posed a question “Did Mother Teresa have power?”

They looked at me stunned, and then smiling, the Chinese Ambassador nodded at my boss.

I don’t know about you but discussions of this nature have always intrigued me, and how we all too simply assume that one brings the other. Of course, this is very much the truth in some cases, as can be seen amongst some of the regimes and heads of state that exist around the world. But it is not the whole truth.

A similar debate ensued with a group of Russians, some of which were sons and daughters of oligarchs. This time the discussion was around the difference between being rich and being wealthy. If a person is rich, are they necessarily wealthy? If you have lots of money but are not happy, are you wealthy? If you don’t feel free to do or be what and who you are, would you feel wealthy?

In my opinion, wealth goes deeper than the number of digits behind a dollar sign and is more closely linked with the quality and richness of life. By this I do not mean just about how we create a quality of life for ourselves by buying things. Rather how our character, way of being and manner of doing things impact the quality of our experiences internally and externally. In a way, wealth is more closely linked to legacy, purpose and our role as members of the human race – humanity.

Nelson Mandela had once said, “In judging our progress as individuals, we tend to concentrate on external factors such as one’s social position, influence and popularity, wealth and standard of education…but internal factors may be even more crucial in assessing one’s development as a human being; humility, purity, generosity, absence of vanity, readiness to serve your fellow men – qualities within the reach of every human soul.”

In doing your own search for what is important to you, here are some things for you to think about and consider:

  • If you were to find out a product you buy was produced in a way that conflicts with what you deem to be moral, fair and ethical, would you still buy it?
  • Do you care enough to ask the extra question and find out?
  • Do you consider and understand the ripple effects of your decisions and the impact they have?
  • Do you have the courage to speak your truth and not follow the status quo?
  • Do the means justify the ends, and how do you balance these?
  • Where do you draw the line about what and who you care about and what you are willing to do about it
  • In the final count, is wealth perhaps about our ability to enrich the lives of others?

 


 

Deborah has the ability to sense the underlying potential of people and their ideas. Previously a successful headhunter, she is a catalyst for business as a force for good, and works with founders, entrepreneurs, successors and innovators in building businesses with purpose and profit.

Did this resonate and you’d like to know more? Please get in touch for your confidential one-to-one.

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3 SECRETS OF TOP TALENT

In any organisation these days, we come across a myriad of titles. But when one breaks it down, what are titles really all about? Do they help us in being better? It seems to me that sometimes, a title is a mask and stands in the way of us being our best.

For simplicity’s sake, imagine two people in an organisation, each responsible for their own area but ultimately responsible for the wellbeing of the organisation. And now imagine one of them is missing the ball on something.

I recently observed this and was fascinated by two hugely different outcomes when adopting two opposing outlooks. In the first instance, one of the colleagues was willing to allow the other to trip up. And yet, when she adopted the perspective of a fellow human as opposed to a colleague with a title, she took on an entirely different stance, one of collaboration, empathy and all hands on deck.

Somewhere along the line, we have created a belief system within organisations and ourselves that, in order to make it to the top, we have to be guarded, tough and use sharp elbows – for what end really I have no clue, since getting to the top in that manner would be very lonely indeed.

So, adopting this vein of thinking, one would like to believe that the people at the top are mean, ruthless and generally not very nice.

The good news is that this is not the case. In profiling some of the best talent from around the world, there were three elements that were consistently present amongst those who companies wanted to have as part of their team:

1. They are great human beings – possessing strength of character, commitment and integrity, they have a desire and ability to grow and guide people, working with and through others.

2. They love what they do – doing something which resonates with a deep part of who they are, something they are interested in, engaged with and committed to.

3. They all had a mentor in some way shape or form at some point in their life and/or career that imparted wisdom and guidance.

There are some positive shifts taking place, with a call to basic and traditional values of honour, integrity, respect, etc. A time when people want to treat others and be treated as human beings as opposed to numbers. Where, to bring out the best in others and ourselves, we must be true to who we are as human beings as opposed to hiding behind some title.

We are in a time when we can create positive changes in our ‘corporate’ experiences. An opportunity to instil a strong value set within our companies that resonate with and embody members of the organisation, enabling them to tap into who they truly are instead of resorting to titles for position and power. A time when companies live human values as opposed to a string of words and niceties that beef up a website or other corporate collateral. An opportunity to shape our organisations to create real value with every interaction and along the value chain.

It will be interesting to see the progress of our students, our future leaders, who are currently watching the debacle we are going through.  They are a key element since they will be demanding more from the companies they will be choosing to work for.  And if they don’t find the right value set, I hope they will have the courage, determination and network to create their own new cultures which will resonate far more deeply with the customers they will have set up to serve.

Headhunter turned talent spotter, Deborah creates the connect between people of character and companies with principles. The Founder of AMANI™, she is an advocate for business being a force for good, vested in the impact business has in both economic and social terms across various strata of society.

Did this resonate and you’d like to know more? Please get in touch for your confidential one-to-one.

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3 SECRETS OF TOP TALENT

3 SECRETS OF TOP TALENT

In any organisation these days, we come across a myriad of titles. But when one breaks it down, what are titles really all about? Do they help us in being better? It seems to me that sometimes, a title is a mask and stands in the way of us being our best. For...

HOW TO ATTRACT THE BEST PEOPLE

HOW TO ATTRACT THE BEST PEOPLE

Searching for talent is about fixing a problem – that of finding the right person to tackle a business opportunity or challenge. Contrary to popular view, the toughest challenge is not finding the right talent. It is finding great companies to find talent for. This is...


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HOW TO ATTRACT THE BEST PEOPLE

Searching for talent is about fixing a problem – that of finding the right person to tackle a business opportunity or challenge. Contrary to popular view, the toughest challenge is not finding the right talent. It is finding great companies to find talent for. This is because the objective is not merely to find talent but to retain it and get the best out of it.

In Executive Search, potential candidates are typically happy and successful in their current roles. In my experience, more than 80% of cases involve international relocation. This brings with it an extra layer of complexity – that of moving house and in the case of children, school.

So what are the markers that ensure the new environment would be such that the person, and their family, would settle in and stay?

Purpose

Companies need to present a compelling proposition that candidates can relate to and connect with. A company whose sole objective is to make profit with no sense of meaningful purpose or differentiator, have a tougher time attracting the right people. It doesn’t have to be complicated but something that is real and the company is committed to pursuing.

Principles in Practice

Mission statements are great but what happens in reality is what matters. People joining and working in an organisation want to ensure their own personal values will not be compromised. There is no point in brandishing a set of values if the modus operandi and decision-making does not reflect this in reality. The spin and facade might bring them into the organisation, but it will not bring out the best in them and it will not keep them.

People

The leadership and team already in place impact the quality and calibre of talent a company will be able to attract. High calibre talent looks for environments in which they can grow, excel, contribute and thrive. Leaders needs to have the ability and foresight to bring out the best in people, providing them with the tools and resources to succeed. The team needs to foster collaboration, trust and mutual respect, a cohort of colleagues with different yet complementary capabilities one can resonate with.

Performance

High ideals are great but for a company to be successful it needs to deliver. Failure to do so will result in poor financial results and the inability to support its employees. This takes appetite, commitment and follow through. For instance, if the problem to be fixed is the financial well-being of the company where a turnaround is required, the company needs to ensure they have the willingness and ability to bring about the change. There is no point in hiring people if they are hindered from doing what is necessary to deliver.

 

Packages

Fair compensation is key. That said, I would ward off anyone hiring a person whose sole motivation is the financial package. This is for the simple reason that unless the individual is aligned and committed to the mission, there is always the next biggest bidder willing to dangle a bigger carrot. It is important for people to feel they are fairly rewarded for their efforts. Compensation packages need to be fair and look at the person in terms of return on investment and effort. Companies also need to ensure the metrics they are measuring and rewarding are in alignment with the business’s objectives and principles. Avoid conflict that arises from mismatched incentive programmes – this is a sure way to demotivate people and create an atmosphere of resentment.

Process

The process through which you take a potential candidate can make or break your hire. From interviewing to induction, getting bogged down in HR processes is a sure way to turn off top talent.Talented individuals want to get a handle on the business environment, the vision and the task at hand. They are looking for data that will enable them to determine if this is the type of company they are best suited for and if they are fit for the mission at hand. If the role requires a relocation, a broader set of decision criteria will be at play. My counsel would be to identify who else is affected by the move and include them in the process.

Ultimately, companies need to ensure they have the ability to understand a candidate’s capabilities, character, concerns and level of commitment. Only in this way will you ensure you have people on board with the right fit – and cultural fit is essential for people to thrive in and add value to your business.

Deborah drives business as a force for good, building companies that create value, in both financial and social terms.

Did this resonate and you’d like to know more? Please get in touch for your confidential one-to-one.

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CASE STUDY

CASE STUDY

THE RIGHT PERSON TO LEAD? Taking a closer look at people's credentials. CHALLENGE The client needed to find a Managing Director for their business in an emerging market. A potential candidate had been recommended. I was asked to profile him. INSIGHT On paper, the...

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CASE STUDY

FINDING THE RIGHT LEADER An innovative approach to finding the right leader   CHALLENGE A family business with a franchise partner had to replace the Managing Director with immediate effect. Failure to do so could result in them losing their business relationship...

STEWARDSHIP, EDUCATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP

STEWARDSHIP, EDUCATION AND ENTREPRENEURSHIP

  Family wealth fails to make it beyond the third generation in 90 per cent of cases. This failure isn't due to poor investment decisions, but rather a lack of cohesion and communication between family members, where the family fragments, and with it the wealth....

TIPS FOR FRESH GRADS (AND THOSE LOOKING FOR A FRESH START)

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  Work is a great way to expose us to new environments and challenges, presenting us with experiences that will further develop our skills as well as our character. But for this to happen, we need to find the environment that is most conducive. So if you are...

MORAL COURAGE AND CORPORATE CULTURE

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It is not in calm seas that our character and integrity are tested but in times of crisis. It is at these times that mistakes are likely to happen. When people think of ethics and social responsibility in the corporate context, they perceive it as a simple matter of...

GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR BOARD

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While internal boardroom politics are the bane of many an executive’s existence, getting your board members working in the same direction can be a vital step towards a successful CEO tenure. Corporate governance has brought with it greater scrutiny of the board, its...


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MONDAY MORNING BLUES

Have you heard of people not looking forward to going to work on Monday and dreading the week ahead?

It’s quite extraordinary really, especially when you consider that at one point these same people were happy to get the job, for I cannot think of one person who was disappointed to find employment. And yet, some time down the line, maybe weeks, months or even years, the joy of work seems to elude us.

So what happens? Making things simple, let’s look at three main scenarios:

1. You were excellent at what you did and you got promoted

One would think this is a good thing. However oftentimes, people are promoted either out of their core competence or into a role that eliminates an essential element that brought them great satisfaction. We often see this with sales people who are promoted to a managerial role for instance, and find themselves carrying out administrative duties as opposed to dealing with clients. In effect, the ingredient that brought them success is the one which gets greatly reduced, and in some cases even removed.

2. You aspired for a role and someone else is hired from the outside

There you are, working hard and delivering for the company. You love the company, believe in what you are doing, and want to grow and advance. You are aiming for a role, believing that with hard work, dedication and results, you will be promoted. The next thing you know, you find out someone was hired into the position, in effect wiping out the opportunity for you to grow to the next level. This is extremely demotivating, and you find yourself increasingly disillusioned and your job, which was once a source of inspiration, becomes a have-to.

3. Perception versus reality

We’ve heard it many times over – you thought you wanted to work with this company, in that industry, or to have that title. But when you get there you find yourself saying ‘is that it?’ feeling that sense of emptiness or disillusionment, breaking of the perception of what you wanted to the reality of experiencing it.

So how do we rectify this?

The truth is, there is a great difference between being employed and being engaged, and enhanced employee engagement is at the core of successful organisations. Remember, you spend at least a third of your waking life at work, so if you do not enjoy what you are doing, or are not happy about certain aspects, you had better start asking yourself some great questions on how to shift the situation.

What can you do to avoid the three scenarios above?

Employers – find out your employees’ innate talent, interests and aspirations, and hire people that are in-line with your corporate culture.

One of the factors that influences employee turnover is cultural mismatch. Regardless of how desperate you may be to fill a role, it is worth getting it right first time. Otherwise you have a great chance of having to rectify the issues that may arise from a mis-hire and you will have to go through the entire process again some months down the line.

To keep in touch with your employees’ aspirations, many companies these days have formal reviews. Unfortunately in some cases, these become part of the administrative process with much time passing between one formal review and the next. Just like with New Year’s resolutions and other goal setting exercises, the less time you review where you are heading, the less likely you are to reach it. A partnership between leader and employee should be fostered, creating an environment of openness and dialogue.

The safer you create the environment for people to open up, express themselves and be given opportunities to expand, the greater the level of trust and engagement.

Everyone – now is a good time to start exploring and understanding what your strengths are and to be honest about them. We sometimes act like Cinderella’s ugly sisters, trying to squeeze ourselves into a shoe that does not fit. We are all aware of financial pressures that tend to place even greater stress on our job search, but bear in mind that the probability of you having to go through the process again some months down the line will be greatly enhanced if you are not honest with yourself. So ask yourself what you enjoy in your work, what you are great at and share them. Take a genuine interest in the organisation and find out what aspects of the company draw you the most. This will help you carve your path. Yes, most organisations have systems in place to develop talent and look after their human resources, but they cannot help you if you do not know who and what you are, and what you would like to become.

So before you embark on your new week, take a moment to reflect on how you fit into the particular tapestry that formulates your unique work community and have a great week!


The creator of AMANI™, Deborah has profiled many of the world’s top talent, identifying the secrets to their success as both business people and human beings. She connects human and financial capital to create economic and social value across various strata of society.

Did this resonate and you’d like to know more? Please get in touch for your confidential one-to-one.

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ENABLING THE NEXT GENERATION TO THRIVE

ENABLING THE NEXT GENERATION TO THRIVE

I love studying, working with and sharing stories about the next generation for it is a subject that encompasses defining wealth, the impact of our actions and indeed our purpose. In a nutshell it incorporates the purpose of our wealth…the purpose of our lives…and how...

WILL YOU CHOOSE TO MATTER?

WILL YOU CHOOSE TO MATTER?

There is a great talk and initiative by Angela Maiers entitled “You Matter”, and how these two words could positively impact our lives. It really puts into perspective and simplicity the manner in which we conduct ourselves in our daily interactions, with great...

FIND YOUR HARMONY – UNLOCK YOUR POTENTIAL

FIND YOUR HARMONY – UNLOCK YOUR POTENTIAL

Imagine a violin - its beautiful lines, the warmth of its colour, the depth of its lacquer, the tactile feel of the wood. Such a work of craftsmanship, and yet, the beauty of the violin is wasted if hidden, nestling in its velvet lined case. Its true beauty comes when...

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE

TIME IS OF THE ESSENCE

Within every person lie moments of significance, experiences that shape us, change our perspective, carve our character and drive us to a deeper part of ourselves. A few years ago I had one of those moments. It took the form of a terrible shock – the sudden...

IN SEARCH OF WEALTH

IN SEARCH OF WEALTH

I recall being at dinner with the Chinese Ambassador in Malta some years ago. My boss and mentor had invited me, so as they were in the throws of a discussion about power and money, I sat listening. The conversation was leading down a path where there was no...

YOUR EXPERIENCES MATTER

YOUR EXPERIENCES MATTER

We often admire the big names, the personalities, the people in positions of influence. But in so doing, we sometimes forget our own significance. I am currently in Malta. My mother’s native country. A place I have had a varied relationship with throughout my life,...

BANISH LIMITING BELIEFS

A friend of mine shared an anecdote of a time when someone asked him what his new year’s wish was, to which he answered ‘for there to be a year with no wars, no hunger and no misery’. She laughed at him, saying he was a fool asking for too much.

We have much to answer for in the beliefs we hold and the possibilities. Imagine for a moment someone a hundred years ago said “I want to go to the moon”. Suffice to say, he would have been laughed at, and if she were a woman, even more so. And yet, it was possible, it did happen. So would we not be better thinking how to make something possible as opposed to treading on ideals and hopes, dreams and desires?

Within each one of us, lies a part that wishes for a better world, for the removal of injustice, for the cessation of cruelty, poverty and hunger, and indeed, a world full of peace and a better way of life. So can we stop ourselves from stopping others striving for their ideals? Putting out their light so that we don’t feel bad about ourselves? Can we encourage people to pursue their ideals as opposed to telling them to be realistic? And dare we own up to what our own heart’s desire truly is and strive for it?

What is realistic? Back in the dark ages, it wasn’t realistic to have light or running water. It also wasn’t realistic to have planes, trains and automobiles. And yet, that is the reality we have today.

We should encourage ourselves and those around us to speak about our dreams, our ambitions, and to create an environment where it is safe to dream and to pursue them, to realise them in thought and turn them into a reality. We say a problem shared is a problem halved  I say that a dream shared is a dream doubled. Only in that way can we shape a new reality, for ourselves and those around us, something I believe is one of the things many people wish for.

 

 

Deborah has profiled many of the world’s top talent, identifying the secrets to their success as both business people and human beings. She challenges the way people think, engaging their talents, fulfilling their aspirations and positively impacting the world around them.

Did this resonate and you’d like to know more? Please get in touch for your confidential one-to-one.

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MORAL COURAGE AND CORPORATE CULTURE

MORAL COURAGE AND CORPORATE CULTURE

It is not in calm seas that our character and integrity are tested but in times of crisis. It is at these times that mistakes are likely to happen. When people think of ethics and social responsibility in the corporate context, they perceive it as a simple matter of...

GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR BOARD

GET THE MOST OUT OF YOUR BOARD

While internal boardroom politics are the bane of many an executive’s existence, getting your board members working in the same direction can be a vital step towards a successful CEO tenure. Corporate governance has brought with it greater scrutiny of the board, its...

VALUES AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES

VALUES AND GUIDING PRINCIPLES

We have all seen a myriad of company websites touting a list of values they stand for: Respect, Integrity, Communication and Excellence; Integrity and honesty in everything we do; High performance and great behaviours driving exceptional rewards; Respect, trust and...