It’s All About Trust

Technology is developing rapidly in all fields. Robotics, automation, and AI are all ways to make our lives and work easier. Or to do the same or even more work with fewer people. In our field, recruitment & selection, labor & organizational psychology, and HR, we see that technologies are playing an increasingly important role. And this in an environment where it’s all about people

Of course, within recruitment and selection, we can make good and smart use of techniques like AI. Think of writing texts and online searching and targeting candidates through various databases. However, there are still aspects in which technology and AI are not as good as we are (yet). Recently, we received feedback from a client in the evaluation that it was a good process with a good result. And they were particularly impressed by the questions that were asked, the way they were listened to, and what was heard. Even by the things that were left unsaid. Truly sensing the atmosphere. Interpreting what is said and what is not said. Assessing and understanding the team’s dynamics. This is something that technology (yet) cannot take over from us.

And it is precisely in this area that our added value lies. By showing and making it clear that we truly understand and empathize with the client, we build trust. And trust is the most important basis with the client. The client entrusts us with the task with confidence. Sometimes this is already a big step for a client to take. Especially in the case of family businesses and CEOs. And perhaps even more so in the case of business succession, where the CEO and/or the family want to remain involved and therefore do not want to sell the company. These kinds of processes are mainly or perhaps actually only about trust. It starts with the trust that the CEO must have in the agency and especially in the consultants. The trust to hand over a sensitive, sometimes delicate, and always impactful process. Also, the trust to discuss your innermost thoughts openly. To gain this trust, you must understand the question, and above all, understand how difficult it is for the person themselves. That the recruitment and selection process is also a process for the CEO and the family themselves. Of letting go and trusting in a good future. Often the CEO has built the company themselves or is the next generation of the family who has built the company for years. And the next generation within the family may not always be ready or willing to take over the reins. Then comes a moment when they start looking at other options. Is there a successor within the company? Will we sell the company? To a competitor or an investor? Or attract a new director/CEO/managing director from outside? And what will be the role of the CEO then? Will he remain active in the company? Or take a step back? For example, take a seat on a (newly established) board of directors? Such processes are always exciting and intensive, and lately, there seems to be even more pressure. Especially due to the COVID period, organizations have postponed business transfer processes. During the crisis, many CEOs stayed to steer their companies through difficult times. Even as time has passed and the CEOs have aged. This seems to require a kind of catch-up now. The pressure involved does not always benefit the process and the result. However, it is possible to make a difference here. Of course, in such processes, it is still important to create a good profile and select candidates based on this profile. But more than just meeting the profile, candidates must fit the organization and the culture and gain the trust of the family and the CEO. This is not easy to capture in a profile or organize in one or two conversations. This requires a different approach in the process. Especially focused on truly getting to know each other. Informal contact. Stepping out of the business environment. And once both parties have chosen each other, it is then important to continue investing in this relationship. Because trust comes on foot and leaves on horseback. Handing over the keys of the company, or perhaps even more difficult; the company’s wallet. It all comes down to trust!

Article written by Mark Olman, CFR Global Executive Search the Netherlands
Photo source: Pixabay


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