Attracting exceptional people to work with you is a key characteristic of an outstanding leader.  The question is, how do you select the best people internally, or if necessary,hire them externally –and, as is often the case, quickly? The evidence shows that this is not an easy task:  Peter Drucker, “the man who invented management,” estimated that two-thirds of all decisions on talent selections are mistakes. Leaders who are themselves new to their jobs are particularly prone to falling into the talent selection trap.

And yet the ability to hire and retain top talent is a capacity often taken for granted in senior executives.


What’s the solution? Cornerstone feels that anoutstanding leader must master and employ the following THREE Cs – essential attributes when selecting direct reports:


Leaders doing interviews or reference checking should be more concerned with the candidate’s character than his or her reputation in the industry. Character is the essence of the person. Key to making a successful hiring decision is to ask behavioral types of questions designed to reveal the potential senior executive’s personality traits.

A skilled workforce with a high degree of competence is vital to every organization. It follows that it is important to select managers with strong, functional competenciesand proven levels of experience in their field. These managers quickly become an asset to the organization as they deploy their skills in the workplace. They are soon able to make meaningful and positive contribution to the organization.


We might wish that our professional lives would soar ever upward on a trajectory of accomplishment and acclaim. But at Cornerstone we take a more balanced view, mindful of the vicissitudes of life that just about everyone experiences. In our sessions we employ a seasonal analogy –spring, summer, autumn and winter – to explore the mixed circumstances that we all face, in which our achievements inevitably are tested by times of setbacks.


We note that strong managers do not roll off assembly lines, everything functioning perfectly when the “start” button is pressed.
We can gain strength in our upstream struggles against adversity. Testing our mettle against strife helps us identify our ultimate life and family goals – helps us find ourselves finally at peace with what we really believe in (Our Calling).
Ultimately, this journey of defining one’s calling determines how a person behaves and handles difficult tasks – whether he / she is the right ‘FIT’ with the existing team to deliver positive results

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Once the choice has been made, new leaders should be given the support they need to succeed in your organization.
Cornerstone’s partner in New York, George Bradt, is the author of “The New Leader’s100-Day Action Plan”.In this book Bradt notes that the success of a new leader when he joins an organization hinges on his / her abilityto “Take Charge, Build Your Team and Get Immediate Results within the first 100 days.” Lofty goals – but Bradt provides readers with solid guidance to successfully attain them.
More actionable leadership insights from Cornerstone!

Cornersstone China

CORNERSTONE INTERNATIONAL GROUP – Healthier Businesses and Lives.

The competition for qualified leaders is fierce: the best candidates could be across town or across the globe. With our 70 offices worldwide, 19 of them in Asia and 7 in China, and our depth of experience across industries as well as geographies, Cornerstone Executive Search consultants will bring you the best, wherever they may be. We have the know-how to help clients identify, recruit and retain top leaders. Search is what we do: we know the business, and we take the time to know your business.

Find out more about our award winning executive search service at or email

laurie odonnell


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