Leadership Amidst Rapid Change




As the world continues to face change – from technological advancements to political shifts to repercussions from environmental crises – leaders are faced with an array of challenges and opportunities. Effective leadership is instrumental to a successful, long term future. And more than ever, executive search and leadership advisory professionals are poised to utilize their specialized expertise to help clients find solutions. 

It is in this vein that AESC is proud to launch its new audio series, Leaders on Leaders. AESC members have a unique vantage point as they help businesses worldwide achieve a competitive advantage in their industries. Our audio series features leaders of AESC member firms discussing timely issues impacting today’s global executive talent with Karen Greenbaum, AESC President and CEO. Topics will include top insights for the global C-suite, including executive talent attraction and development, industry trends, risk management, diversity and inclusion and much more. 

Our inaugural episode is a prime example of industry shifts and the potential of opportunity. Karen speaks with Witt/Kieffer’s Chairman and CEO, Charles W.B. "Chuck" Wardell III, and Andrew Chastain, Managing Partner and Healthcare Practice Chair as well as future Witt/Kieffer CEO. The conversation sheds insight on the healthcare, life sciences and education industries as well as the future of the executive search and leadership advisory profession. 

Below is a brief excerpt. 

KAREN: How do you identify the future leaders who can really navigate through a time of rapid change?

ANDREW: Well, Karen, I believe there’s no better time to be a leader than today. The best leaders run to challenges like firemen run to fire. The true leaders, we believe, are energized by the complexities and ambiguities of the current environment. So they find optimism in the challenges. I’ll give you an example. I had a board of a large health system that were looking for a CEO. The board chairman said something I had not heard before in a search committee which was “I want to find a CEO who can solve problems that we don’t even know we have now.” 

KAREN: So rapid change, new models for leaders. Chuck, how do you see our profession evolving over the next 10 years?

CHUCK: We have a candidate pool that's evolving into this century, new ways of measuring their ability, and new technical means to judge how they'll do in the long term. Also, our clients are beginning ot look at recruitng a little differently. They're bringing, in many cases, more in-house recruiting. They're beginning to hire specialists on their own. They're certainly demanding in our profession now that the recruiter have the same level of expertise as the client does, so we have two professionals talking about the same market and each has known the market for many, many years. 

ANDREW: Karen, if I can add, I think that our challenges match the growing challenges of our clients. I’m very optimistic about the future of our firm and the profession. I think solving complex leadership challenges will not go extinct. The question is how will it change in the future and how will we anticipate the changing needs of our clients both strategically and operationally, and how will that change their expectations of search professionals.

Listen to other Leaders on Leaders