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What are the Competencies Necessary in the Modern Business Leader?
 
By: Dan Erling
In conducting a search for a CFO, I was asked to work with the Hiring Team to create an exhaustive list of the competencies needed for an exceptional leader. The list we put together can be seen below.

Typically, in preparing for a job search we hone our competency pool, emerging with a short list of crucial competencies, a longer list of critical competencies, and then a list of competencies that are not crucial to the make-up of the ideal candidate. However, in this search for the CFO, the CEO, the hiring team and I came to believe that the “right” candidate would have to possess ALL these qualities.

Of course we recognized that in some cases the hire wouldn’t have to be a natural in each of these areas. But, we believed that this modern business leader would need to be self aware enough to develop strengths across this vast range of talents. In other words, while typically we run a search for 5 critical competencies, in this case we were asked to ensure that this hire was strong in 42 different areas.

Through an exhaustive screening and reference checking process we were able to execute an exceptional hire. The CEO and the Hiring Team are seeing dramatic results from their new addition.

As the VP of our 36 year-old Accounting and Financial Recruiting firm, I’ll tell you that more than ever, companies are asking us to conduct very specific searches. Only half jokingly I tell people that candidates must have 12 of the 10 requirements to even get their resume a cursory glance. In this market, employers are not willing to pay our fee unless we provide the “perfect” candidate.   In your job search, make sure to clearly communicate your key competencies and the value you can bring to that company.
 
Key competencies of the modern business leader:
1.    Keen observers of human behavior 
2.    Curious    
3.    Gets to root causes
4.    Comfortable with complexity and ambiguity
5.    Finds parallels and contrasts 
6.    Questions conventional wisdom 
7.    Finds solutions to tough problems 
8.    Reads broadly
9.    Open minded
10. Self aware
11. Personal improver
12. Comfortable with diversity  
13. Can play many roles
14. Understands others and groups
15. Likes to help others succeed
16. Politically agile
17. Has a light touch
18. Never moves problems up the org chart
19. Deals with conflict constructively
20. Skilled communicator
21. Can take the heat
22. Technological savvy
23. Tinkerer -- always looking to make things better  
24. Introduces new slants or takes on ways of doing things
25. Builds high performing teams
26. Can pull off things against the odds
27. Has drive and personal presence
28. Very flexible and adaptable
29. Able to consistently deliver to business objectives
30. Analytical
31. Takes calculated risks
32. Integrity
33. Excellence
34. Independence
35. Likable
36. Customer focused  
37. Selects A Players
38. Empowers
39. Redeploys B/C Players
40. Runs effective meetings  
41. Inspires followership
42. Balance in life  

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