Christoph Wahl Practice Group Leader, Berlin
Today’s business climate could hardly be more challenging. Global capital markets have been in a state of turmoil since the financial crisis in 2008. Fiscal policy makers and central banks have intervened to stimulate growth, however, the turbulence has led many corporate leaders to focus on topics such as global consolidation, mergers and acquisitions, business transformation, operational excellence, risk management, new technologies and organizational capabilities, to name just a few. Some businesses also require significant restructuring and cost reduction programs to enable future sustainability.
To face such a wide range of management challenges, corporate leadership urgently needs the world class counsel, advice and assistance that Professional Services firms can offer – be they management consultancies, accounting or tax firms, legal firms or management education providers.
Which skills are needed now?
Although Professional Services firms leverage intellectual capital and expertise as a source of client value, these firms recognize that their true competitive advantage resides in the capabilities of their people. The quality of the services provided to their clients is a direct reflection of the quality and capabilities of their talent.
Today’s business climate is also leading Professional Services firms to make significant changes in order to create a competitive advantage. These include developing deeper expertise in their core consulting services, building higher levels of change management capability and diversifying their service offerings. Firms are also differentiating in terms of content expertise as well as on results.
These changes are resulting in new, deeper and changing competencies for the top talent at Professional Services firms.
How can Egon Zehnder support Professional Services firms?
Our consultants work with the world’s leading Professional Services players, ranging from global strategy consulting firms, management consulting firms, accounting, tax and advisory services firms, to specialty/boutique firms and sophisticated education providers. We assist our clients in defining their service offerings and business models and developing their talent management strategies, as well as by introducing acquisition partners, assessing their top talent and solving their critical recruitments.
How we operate
Over 50% of all consultants at Egon Zehnder are ex-consulting practitioners, which gives us a strong understanding of the business models of Professional Services firms and incisive perspectives into their networks. Our team also boasts excellent institutional knowledge and is in a position to generate “peer-to-peer” discussions with sources and highly sought-after candidates when recruiting top talent. We know “what good looks like” and have a competitive advantage in attracting, assessing and solving the most complex recruitments.
Our search experience has also demonstrated that successful recruitment hinges on assessing measurable competencies, as well as judging the cultural fit between an individual and a Professional Services firm. Analytical skills, problem-solving and a certain intellectual tenacity are qualities often sought after by top consulting firms, but the cultural or personal “click” between a candidate and a firm is typically the critical factor in a successful recruitment. Our ability to leverage our global Professional Services Practice enables us to quickly assemble a global team and ensure our clients an optimum solution.
Over the past five years, we have completed over 500 searches and supported our clients in many different leadership activities including assessments, leadership development, succession planning, integration of new executives, etc. Our assignments cover the board level, C-suite and executive management layers, as well as specialist positions.