How to Shift from Execution to Origination to Grow Your Client Portfolio

In 2022, the executive search and leadership consulting profession revenue reached $21.1 billion, a first for the profession. As the world experienced seismic transformations over the last few years, the profession responded by broadening its advisory services to deliver more strategic solutions to leaders, teams, and culture.  As a result, firms are more proactive than ever to invest and develop the capabilities of their teams.    

AESC latest program, “From Execution to Origination” equips participants with the skills and tools needed to succeed – the ability to originate, develop and build strong client relationships. Facilitator David Butter brings his years of expertise to help participants build the knowledge and know-how to help strategically launch their firms into a new level of operation.  

What Is the Shift from Execution to Origination & Why Should You Make It? 

For professionals looking to advance their careers to the next level, shifting from a primarily executional role to one that originates business opportunities is critical. In an ever-evolving work landscape, professionals need to be agile and at-the-ready to deliver value to clients for a variety of challenges and across a multitude of communication channels. Executive search and leadership consulting professionals should understand how to advance the strategic initiatives of the firm if they want to meaningfully contribute to their firm’s success and stand apart for consideration of more responsibility, more senior roles and acknowledgement by firm leaders. With that, the shift from an executional role, to one that originates business, interacts meaningfully with clients, and strategically works to meet firm goals, is critical for not only individual success, but for firm success.  

How the Shift Impacts Your Client Management & Portfolio 

Entrusting the talent in your firm with developing and maintaining business is critical for the growth and health of a firm. As an advisory service, executive search and leadership consulting is a people-focused profession. Business largely depends on healthy, regularly-maintained relationships, and professionals at all stages in their career need to ensure they have a strong foundation in developing and maintaining client relationships. Additionally, these competencies are key for helping your firm to develop new streams of revenue through additional clients, and ensure that their experience with your firm is seamless through a team that is prepared to take care of their needs.  

Develop and Enhance Your Client Management Skills 

Learning how to manage important firm clients is critical to developing a business development strategy. Depending on your current remit within your firm, your interactions with clients may be on a small scale or intermittent basis. In order to properly originate business for your firm, and take on more responsibility within an assignment, you must understand how you can take your relationships with clients to the next level. Through high-level discussions, built upon strong listening techniques and power questions, those professionals making the shift from execution to origination are more prepared to collaborate with clients at the most senior level.   

Build Your Business Development Skills 

Business development skills are critical for executive search and leadership consulting firms. While it may seem most important for firm leaders and partners to cultivate these skills, it is just as important for nearly all professionals within the firm to understand how to think critically about their practice areas so that they can proactively engage with clients and understand their talent needs. Before being able to successfully develop business, this awareness and strategic mindset must be priority.  

For an individual, this can be accomplished by developing a unique brand and persona that will make a professional memorable, and help them to build your relationship capital. Once a relationship network has been established, it must be maintained by becoming a personal of interest. There is a shift in the client-consultant relationship beyond the traditional, transactional assignment where executive search and leadership consulting professionals begin to add value to clients on an ongoing basis. Understanding this shift can be transformational for one’s career and David Butter prepares participants by helping them develop their own personal action plan.  

Discover How to Build Your Client Portfolio with AESC Education 

For firms looking to equip your talent to make this shift and further the agenda of the firm, From Execution to Origination is a tried-and-true program that will equip participants with skills that they can immediately implement into their work. Don’t miss your opportunity to learn how to...  

  • Showcase your value add and develop external credibility with your search stakeholders.  
  • Engage with your client about their talent needs and critically think about your practice area.  
  • Build a strong network of people by developing your unique brand and persona.  
  • Manage strong initial meetings with your clients by utilizing power questions and exceptional listening techniques.  
  • Execute high-caliber discussions with high-level clients.  
  • Enact a personal action plan to kickstart your transition from an executor to an originator. 

Interested in a custom program for your firm? Contact