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In our continually disrupted business environment, what an employee will be doing in their next job often has little to do with to anything they’ve done before. When it comes to today’s employees, “past performance is not the best indicator of future success,” says Rajeev Vasudeva, CEO of Egon Zehnder. “Clients want somebody with a great track record, but that may not predict a great future.”

So how can an employer identify the candidates who will have a great future? Vasudeva says Egon Zehnder works to identify markers of potential. The most significant is “curiosity—openness to learn, to new ideas.” Also crucial is the “capability to adapt, to deal with constant disruption and chaos.” Overlaying all those abilities is a “willingness to learn about yourself, openness to feedback and to adapting yourself.” These factors combine to signal potential, which has become the crucial variable in top-level people decisions, Vasudeva says. “A company may have two candidates in the same ballpark, but the defining element is potential.”

Another theme that is becoming more profound, according to Vasudeva, is so-called soft skills that help leaders create an “emotional connection” with followers. “The whole human side is now more important than skills or IQ,” he says, citing Egon Zehnder’s recent study of 500 CEOs worldwide. “Everything we hear from clients is about the human aspects of leadership: vulnerability, humility.” Without that, followers won’t follow.

Full Story: “How to Profit From the Ultra-Tight Job Market Right Now” (18 January 2018).

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