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高管入职前 好好考察新公司

更新时间:2014-5-7 12:39:15 来源:华尔街日报中文网 作者:佚名

Making Sure The Boss Is The Right Fit
高管入职前 好好考察新公司

Even the boss has to worry about fitting in at a new workplace.

Jack Griffin, who started Monday as chief executive of Tribune Co.'s newspaper publishing division, expects to get along better than he did at his last corporate position. He was fired in February 2011 after less than six months as CEO of Time Inc., where he aggressively pressed for change. His leadership style 'did not mesh' with the Time Warner Inc. unit, the company said then.

Paving the way for his new role, Mr. Griffin and colleagues at his publishing-industry consultancy have for the past year advised Tribune about the strategic, operational and organizational issues it faces. After deciding to spin off its newspaper division, the company chose him to lead the unit because he offered 'vision and expertise,' Tribune said.

For Mr. Griffin, joining Tribune 'was the right thing and a good fit,' said a person familiar with his thinking.

A poor cultural fit is the primary reason top managers fail, according to executive coaches and recruiters. But there is no perfect way to predict a match. So in addition to the traditional rounds of interviews, networking with prior staffers and review of analysts' reports, senior-management applicants are now being urged to play the role of corporate anthropologist to gauge their compatibility with potential employers -- from quizzing future subordinates to dining repeatedly with the boss-to-be.

'Most executive hires that don't work out are due to inadequate diligence by the recruit and employer,' said Joanna Starek, a senior partner at RHR International LLP, a leadership-development firm. 'The costs for getting that wrong are incredibly high.'

Just ask Yahoo Inc.

Henrique de Castro lost his job in January -- and got an enormous golden parachute -- after just a year as chief operating officer of Yahoo, where he reportedly clashed with CEO Marissa Mayer. 'Ultimately, Henrique was not a fit,' declared Ms. Mayer following his dismissal.

Mr. de Castro -- who was hired from Google Inc., where Ms. Mayer previously worked -- walked away with about $109 million in compensation, including his salary, hiring bonus and a severance package worth more than $64 million, according to the estimate of executive pay researcher Equilar.

Mr. de Castro couldn't be reached for comment.

Amid an improved job market, more executives appear poised to jump ship. About 56% of executives are considering an exit within 12 months, up from 45% in 2013, concludes a 2014 survey by ExecuNet, a business and career network.

They would be well advised to look harder before they leap, leadership specialists say.

Mr. Griffin assumed he had a mandate to change Time, he told Crain's Chicago Business after his ouster. The parent company's lack of interest in dramatic changes 'was a disconnect from the beginning,' a senior Time Warner executive has said.

Employers rarely give executive applicants access to their likely subordinates. Mr. Griffin, for instance, spoke with only a few Time staffers during its highly confidential search -- partly because he worked for rival magazine publisher Meredith Corp., according to the informed individual.

Raleigh Mayer, an executive coach, suggests that her clients arrive early for a management job interview and 'look for every possible clue as to their culture,' she said. 'Do people say hello in the bathroom? Is there interesting art on the walls?'

A cutting-edge art collection may demonstrate that a business encourages innovation, said Michael J. Anderson, head of leadership advisory services for recruiters Spencer Stuart. On the other hand, 'the founder might just like art,' he continued. 'Don't overread the artifacts.'

Try to get some face time outside the office, where 'people tend to let their guard down' said Stacey Lauren Musi, a managing director at recruiters Chadick Ellig Inc. 'If they are barking at the maitre d', that would tell you something about their management style.''

Spencer Stuart's Mr. Anderson once agreed to be interviewed by the wife of a prospective executive so she could decide whether he would be a good boss for her spouse. The creative gambit impressed Mr. Anderson. But for unrelated reasons, he didn't hire the candidate.

The finance chief of a high-tech company had several dinners with the CEO -- and even accompanied him on a trip to its San Francisco office -- before accepting the job in 2012.

'Executives have to understand [personal] values before they can know whether there will be a match with the company they are going into,' said Jeff Chartier, chief human resources officer of Sig Sauer Inc., a maker of small weapons.

Mr. Chartier took his own advice ahead of taking the newly created role in June 2012. 'I valued an atmosphere where honesty, candor and a willingness to entertain and try new ideas would exist,' he recalled.

Before taking the job, he sought candid chats with eight of the CEO's 12 lieutenants and four managers who would report to Mr. Chartier. The face-to-face sessions uncovered internal discord. His potential peers complained that the company didn't attract enough top-quality talent, he said. Yet the HR managers 'thought they were doing a good job.'

Mr. Chartier wasn't turned off. In fact, he said he liked that 'there was no trying to hide anything' at Sig Sauer. Plus, 'I love a challenge,' he added.


杰克·格里芬(Jack Griffin)4月14日开始担任论坛报业集团(Tribune Co.)报纸出版部门的首席执行长,他希望新的工作比他在上一家公司任职的时候顺利一些。格里芬曾在时代华纳公司(Time Warner Inc.)旗下的时代公司(Time Inc.)担任首席执行长不到半年时间,于2011年2月被解雇。任职期间他曾积极推动改革。时代公司在解聘格里芬的时候说,他的领导风格跟公司不合拍。




领导力开发公司RHR International LLP的高级合伙人乔安娜·斯塔雷克(Joanna Starek)说:“新聘高管混不开,大都是因为新人和雇主的功课做得不够。这方面出错,代价高得惊人。”

问问雅虎(Yahoo Inc.)就知道了。

恩里克·德·卡斯特罗(Henrique de Castro)在雅虎才当了一年的首席运营长,就在今年1月份丢掉了工作——同时得到了一个巨大的“金色降落伞”。据传他在雅虎曾跟首席执行长玛丽莎·梅耶尔(Marissa Mayer)发生冲突。梅耶尔在德·卡斯特罗被解雇之后说:“归根结底,恩里克不合适。”

德·卡斯特罗是雅虎从谷歌(Google Inc.)挖过去的,而梅耶尔也在谷歌工作过。据高管薪酬研究机构Equilar 估计,德·卡斯特罗在离开雅虎的时候获得了大约1.09亿美元的补偿,包括他的工资、入职奖金和一套价值6,400万美元以上的解聘补偿方案。


随着就业市场的改善,越来越多的高管似乎做好了跳槽的打算。商务与职业社交网站 ExecuNet在2014年的一项调查显示,约56%的高管考虑12个月内离职,高于2013年45%的比例。


格里芬在被解聘之后对《克瑞恩芝加哥商业报》(Crain's Chicago Business)说,他以为自己肩负着改革时代公司的使命。时代华纳的一名高管曾说,母公司对激进改革缺乏兴趣,“一开始就是一种割裂”。

雇主很少让高管职位候选人接触到可能成为他们下属的人。比如在时代公司高度机密的招聘过程中,格里芬只跟少数时代员工谈过话。据那位知情人士说,这在一定程度上是因为他曾在竞争对手梅雷迪思公司(Meredith Corp.)工作过。

高管培训师罗莉·迈耶(Raleigh Mayer)建议客户在参加管理岗位面试的时候提前一点到达,“留意能帮你解读该公司文化的任何蛛丝马迹。大家在洗手间打招呼吗? 上有没有什么有意思的艺术品?”

猎头公司 Spencer Stuart领导力顾问部门负责人迈克尔·安德森(Michael J. Anderson)说,前卫的艺术藏品也许表明该企业鼓励创新。他还表示,另一方面,“可能只是创始人喜欢艺术品。不要对艺术品做过多解读”。

猎头公司Chadick Ellig Inc.的执行董事斯泰西·劳伦·穆西(Stacey Lauren Musi)说,要想办法与未来的同事在办公室以外见几次面,因为在办公室外“人们往往会放下戒备,如果他们朝着主管大喊大叫,那就能在一定程度上告诉你他们的管理风格是什么样的”。

Spencer Stuart的安德森曾经同意和一名潜在高管的妻子面谈,这样她就可以确定他会不会成为丈夫的好老板。这个创造性的策略给安德森留下了很深的印象。但出于别的原因,他没有聘请那名求职者。


轻型武器制造商Sig Sauer Inc.的首席人力资源长杰夫·沙尔捷(Jeff Chartier)说:“高管需要在理解这家公司一些人员的个人价值观之后才能知道自己是否适合打算要进入的公司。”



沙尔捷没有退却。他说,事实上他喜欢 Sig Sauer公司“不想掩盖任何事情”这一点。他说,而且“我喜欢挑战”。