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Get Inspired with Brian Glade

“Strong morals and values, ethical behavior, and compassionate leadership are all critical competencies for leaders today”

Brian Glade is a global strategist and AESC’s managing director for Americas.

Plurality, multiculturalism and the value of human differences are prominent in the view of Brian Glade, a global strategist and AESC’s managing director for Americas. Long before these topics became a trend, he already understood that it is people, and their diversity, who are responsible for building better and stronger companies. Respect for the other, authenticity of being who you are and honesty are other values he has cultivated since childhood. Next, we tell a little of the trajectory and worldview of this brilliant executive. Get inspired!

According to various surveys by renowned institutions such as Harvard and Stanford, professions linked to customer success, big data analysis or information security, for examples, are big future trends. In terms of executive-search and leadership-mentoring companies, which of these skills of the future will be indispensable?

All industries today are grappling with the Business 4.0 environment, created by the emerging technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution. These technologies include analytics, artificial intelligence, the internet of things (IoT) and robot process automation. The pace of change continues to accelerate, leaving many organizations overwhelmed despite the desire to leverage the new opportunities these technologies bring. For our profession, we must embrace these new technologies and use them to enhance the work we do for our clients throughout the process of consulting.

For the executive search and leadership consulting profession, we are delivering a very high touch, advisory service. For us, it’s how do we use technology to augment the knowledge we already bring on behalf of our clients. Our clients are disrupted by these technologies in a much more direct way, so for us, it is keeping well ahead of trends, deeply understanding how technology will impact industries and the specific organizations we serve, so we can in turn work with organizations to develop the right talent and development strategies.

One of the major breakthroughs of analytics, automation and other emerging digital technologies is the ability to serve customers in a much more personalized way. This is a win win for both business and consumer. Businesses have much more intel than ever before and understand their customers in a way that they only dreamed of in the past, so they are better positioned to deliver products and services that truly serve the individual customer, as opposed to in the past they were focused on a demographic. But the world doesn’t operate in broad strokes anymore, we expect personalization in almost every aspects of our lives.

This new focus where the customer really is at the center of everything has changed the profiles of C-Suite roles. Today’s CEO has to be customer-driven, so does the CTO and CFO. It’s no longer just an aspect of the marketing department. That has impacted the executive search and leadership advisory profession in the way we identify, attract and develop the right leaders for our clients. While our profession has always been highly personalized as we are an advisory business, it has maybe influenced the portfolios of today’s best search firms. Many AESC Member executive search firms have expanded their portfolios well beyond search, to offer coaching, candidate assessments, board advisory, succession planning, culture shaping and many other organizational and leadership consulting services. This is in direct response to our customers, the businesses we serve around the world.

Thinking in the short term – 2019 – which positions linked to these professions could emerge? What are your predictions? And how can professionals best prepare themselves to assume such positions?

All roles will be digital in all different sectors in the future, not just in technology companies. That means leaders will have to understand the impact of technology, for example: artificial intelligence, and machine learning, and automation. And in functions such as marketing, logistics, customer service, human resources, and administration.

Where the change really comes from is with the new digital environment. The same core business acumen is still needed in a CEO today, a CFO, etc. but also more and more the digital acumen. A lot of the new roles are a result of Big Data, analytics, automation and other technologies. Candidates with both the business acumen, track record and a breadth of digital experience is hard because we are dealing with new technologies and very few candidates who bring that experience.

In the eyes of the AESC, what is the outlook for Brazil in 2019? Above all in a moment in which the theme of anti-corruption is being widely debated in various instances around the country. Do you believe this issue could impact the executive search market?

Political uncertainty around the implementation of reforms continues to be important and could interfere with Brazil’s economic recovery. But if uncertainty fades and reforms go ahead as assumed, investment will become stronger. That will lead to increased economic growth, which will leads to greater need for talent in leadership positions.

With greater transparency of behavior by leaders, integrity and trust are critical characteristics of good leaders today. The increased attention on corruption will have a strong impact on the expectations of leaders, both in government and the private sector. Strong morals and values, ethical behavior, and compassionate leadership are all critical competencies for leaders today.

The AESC has just launched the Global Guide to Choosing an Executive Search Firm in Portuguese. How do you feel this guide could help Brazilian businesspeople to take better decisions when searching for an Executive Search consultancy company?

Today’s organizations face unprecedented challenges. In an era of uncertainty and growing complexity, business leaders turn to trusted advisors for strategic insights and to minimize risk. Organizations are increasingly partnering with executive search firms to identify, attract and retain top talent, but also to assess existing talent, build succession strategies and advise boards on long-term strategic vision.

AESC’s Global Guide to Choosing an Executive Search Firm is everything business leaders—from CEOs and CHROs to Boards of Directors and Procurement teams—need to know, understand and expect from executive search consultants.

Amidst the uncertainty and growing complexity, business leaders turn to trusted advisors for strategic insights and to minimize risk. Shareholder confidence, organizational effectiveness, and employee engagement are just a few of the immediate benefits of the right executive hire. However, the risks associated with an unsuccessful hire can be catastrophic. These risks can be significantly reduced by working with the right executive search firm.

The AESC developed this guide to help business leaders navigate a new breed of executive search firm, understand what solutions they offer for your top business challenges, identify the highest quality firms from the rest, and learn what to expect from the very best firms, which are AESC members.

As a strategist of the people management and executive mentoring segments, you are internationally recognised for your expertise. Please tell us a little bit about your professional trajectory, and what was fundamental to you distinguishing yourself and gaining such skills?

I have been very fortunate in my professional career. I have had such great opportunities to learn and grow from some wonderful experiences. Having studied international relations, my professional life has always been global. It is hard to imagine there was a time when we didn’t recognize the reality of “globalization,” particularly in the United States, which was very focused on domestic affairs. Most people and organizations didn’t see the trends that pointed to greater interdependence among countries and cultures. So I was in some ways ahead of those trends by studying and working in organizations that were very international in scope. And it may have been helpful that I had studied five languages and traveled to over 50 countries, so these gave me better intercultural relationship skills.

In addition, all of my professional work has centered around people: labor relations, human resources, and talent acquisition. Can you remember there was a time when organizations didn’t recognize that people are their greatest asset? So in this too I was ahead of the trend of seeing the value of people and the contributions they can make to organizational success.

Finally, in all the positions I had, there was always a sense of purpose and a mission of contributing to a greater good. I have worked in several nonprofit organizations that were dedicated to the people in a profession.

“I read the book as a young child, and my parents helped me to understand its core message, which I have applied to my personal life and professional career: everyone deserves to be treated with respect, without regard to age, race, or social class, among other circumstances.”

For young professionals who intend on pursuing a career in the executive search sector, what teaching would you like to share based on your experiences?

Executive search consulting can be an amazing and satisfying profession. It provides a variety of experiences by working with clients and candidates in different sectors, industries, and functions. I would advise young professionals to take seriously the great responsibility you have in changing people’s lives. Think of how important one’s career is—it is as important as our relationships with spouses and partners and the home in which we live. Finding the right talent for the right organization at the right time has a tremendous impact on that executive as well as the organization and people they will lead.

In addition to looking at themes related to the labour market and executive careers, this column likes to share references and inspirations that have had a significant impact on the personal and professional growth of the interviewees. From a cultural perspective, would you like to cite a book, film or even a sport that has inspired or been relevant to your professional development?

“To Kill a Mockingbird” was a book and then made into a movie. It is a celebrated work in US literature. I read the book as a young child, and my parents helped me to understand its core message, which I have applied to my personal life and professional career. That is that everyone deserves to be treated with respect, without regard to age, race, or social class, among other circumstances. Each person has the potential to succeed, and we should have empathy and supportive and encourage that potential when we have the opportunity to make an impact on people’s lives.

You are admired by many professionals, but who do you admire?

I admire leaders who are fair, compassionate, and just to all peoples. They use their power and influence to improve people’s lives. They don’t have to be presidents or prime ministers or CEOs. They can be Mothers, Fathers, teachers, clergy, or community activists. But they all give from their hearts.

Please share a phrase or teaching that you constantly recall.

My favorite saying is, “To thine own self be true.” I believe it is from the play Hamlet by Shakespeare. For me, it means that it is so important to be authentic. First, there is our outer authenticity – how well what we say and do matches what is really going on inside us. Second, there is our inner authenticity – how well we actually know ourselves and are aware of our inner states.

In my life I have attempted to be truthful, genuine, and honest in all that I do and with all whom I meet.

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