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    Monday
    Sep192011

    « Securing the Right MD Role »

    Bob* had enjoyed a career that included ten years in the British Military followed by 20 years working for a number of US and UK based computing technology companies. Immediately prior to coming to Position Ignition, he was the UK MD of a French-based software company, operating from the UK. With equity in the business, and responsibility for Global Sales & Marketing of a new and very specialised software application, he became concerned about the senior management’s ability to understand the commercial opportunity and to execute an effective growth strategy. Bob had a clear picture of what he wanted out of ‘life after work’, which in his mind was 7-10 years hence. He knew that his current position was unlikely to enable him to achieve his professional and personal goals so began to think about where to go next.

    Now, thanks to his work with Position Ignition, he is in a new role as European Managing Director for US based industrial automation business. Here, he tells us about the process that got him there.

    Why did you come to Position Ignition?

    “I knew I needed to find a new position, but was unsure if that meant a career path change or doing a similar sort of role in a different kind of organisation/industry than I was used to. I had never had to actively prospect and find a new job as I had in the past been introduced to opportunities in the same industry/market. I found the way in which companies looked for and secured new people was in a very different form to when I found my first civilian job through an advert placed by the hiring company, now including multiple web-based portals which companies and head-hunter used for talent searching. I had engaged, at significant personal cost a so called ‘Executive Development’ company who made many promises about introducing me to the 'unadvertised senior executive job market'. This was a total waste of time and my money and tainted my view of companies professing to be able to help. During my time looking at where and how I should start searching I came across Position Ignition (PI) website. I was interested in the advice, objective assessment qualification of relevant opportunities open to me and active direction & intervention that was offered by a cadre of people ‘within and connected to the PI network’ with a wide and deep pool of expertise and experience.”

    What did you do with Position Ignition?

    “First I selected a Career Guide with the help of one of the PI principals, Simon North. After spending time with Simon he recommended a shortlist of Guides who he felt might have the right personality, expertise and experience to work with me. After my selection, my Career Guide spent a full day with me at my house, looking at where I’ve come from, my family history, job history, high points and low points, what interested and motivated me. We also worked together completing something called a vision-board to identify both my and my family’s personal and professional short, medium and ‘after work ‘goals.

    After this my Career Guide helped me think about and understand my personal and professional ‘currency’ i.e. what I could offer other people and companies, which was of value. Combining the two lines of thinking and the outputs, we were able to clearly identify: What kind of company I wanted to work for, at what level, with which type of responsibilities etc. We were then able to consider and identify the main recruiters and head-hunters serving those types of companies and in a number of cases the PI network knew someone there who could introduce me.

     As a result of that work, I was able to clearly identify that I wanted to run a medium sized company manufacturing (ideally, not distributing) high tech software and/or hardware, a company either growing rapidly or that didn’t have any constraints based on that growth, was operating in multiple markets and geographical regions, which could ideally be my last job before ‘cashing out’ and achieving my ‘after work’ goals.”

    How did you feel when you first met your Career Guide?

    “We had an affinity with one another. The Career Guide openly told me that if he felt he wasn’t able to help me anymore, he’d tell me. Equally I felt that he’d be able to give me some of the strengths I needed that I didn’t have then. My wife felt he had exactly the right temperament to compliment mine and get me focused on what I wanted and where I might find it.’’

    How much time has your Career Guide spent with you?

    “We started with an initial two hour consultation, where I decided that I wanted to go forward and work with Position Ignition. Then there was the entire day at my house and another half-day. Subsequent to that, there have been many phone calls and Skype calls. Some of those calls may have lasted 5 minutes, others may have lasted an hour or two.”

    What did you find valuable about working with Position Ignition?

    “I found it a tremendous help that I was working with a Career Guide that has experience in some of the areas I’ve come from and want to go to. In that respect, he was able to help me think outside the box and to act as my Devil’s Advocate. I found the most value coming from the objective/independent view taken by the guide at all times. This enabled me to become very focused.

    Let me tell you about a real turning point for me that came about thanks to my work with Position Ignition. There was an opening at the company where I am now, who hired a London based recruiter to find the new European MD. The opportunity ticked all the boxes and I was preparing for final interview in the US but pulled out due to being informed by the recruiter that I would be expected to work from the UK HQ which was 120 miles from where I lived, not another office they had which was much closer me. I asked the recruitment agent about the possibility of moving my would-be place of operation to somewhere a bit better. I was told there was no chance of this and because of this answer I decided to drop it and move on.

    However, when I told my Career Guide this, he gave me an alternative plan of attack. We went over all the references that had been made by various individuals that had interviewed me regarding what was expected of me, which offices across Europe they felt needed my time and attention. He proposed that I should call the company CEO in the US direct and suggested things to say to him in order to understand if he had any fixed ideas or expectation about where I should work from and whether my location/place of work was constrained or important to him etc. That way, whatever happened, I’d at least have heard the truth from the top of the company itself as opposed to from the recruitment agency.

    I made the call on a Friday and on the Saturday; I was on a plane to the US at the company’s expense. I came back on Tuesday with a job offer virtually in my hand. I was then given a verbal offer, then a written offer and then it went from there, and that’s how I’ve ended up where I am now. Without question, seeking help from Position Ignition has been a great investment”.

    *We are respecting this client’s wish to remain anonymous and so have changed their name in this case study.

    European Managing Director