October 2020 – How Do You Assess the Capability of an Ex-Strategy Consultant as your Next Leader?

October 2020 – How Do You Assess the Capability of an Ex-Strategy Consultant as your Next Leader?

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There are countless assessments and psychometric tests available to assess potential leadership capacity. Leadership is hard to define, but easy to recognise – that is, if you ask the questions that fit both your organisation and the candidate.

As our previous blog explored, if you are considering hiring an ex-strategy consultant to take your business forward, it is important to test for certain qualities.

As business leaders, they will have to deal with a far broader range of people than in their former strategy roles, so it is important to understand how they will go about transferring theory into practice and make things happen with those around them. Several publishers including MBTI, Harrison’s, and Hogan’s provide insight that analyse how candidates interact with others – revealing a conversation piece for follow-up during the interview.

It is also critical to understand that they have the commercial imperative, so introducing case studies into the recruitment process explores their ability to make the right decisions. Are their suggestions practical? What impact will there be on the bottom line? Would their ideas work first time without the trial and error approach that many consultants adopt?

Getting the best out of their people and projects means first instilling confidence in their initiatives and looking both ways to assess risks and maximise potential. This is only possible with finely-tuned emotional intelligence. A study by the Institute for Health and Human Potential (IHHP) in conjunction with Harvard Business School found that EQ is twice as important as IQ and technical skills, so testing for EQ is increasingly commonplace.

Some ex-strategy consultants may retain certain Machiavellian leadership traits where they have previously achieved results by using others rather than working alongside them. In a profession where you move on to the next client every year or two, this may not carry a lasting impact, but for a P&L business leader it can be damaging. Prospective employers should use the referencing process to understand their collaboration skills.

Over 70% of strategy consultants have the ambition to move into a business leadership role, so the interview process should test whether past ambitions have come to fruition. Talking through their career trajectory highlights whether the candidate has the ability to set themselves a goal and go on to achieve it. If someone exhibits a high degree of self-awareness, you can be confident that their ambitions will match their potential.

A competency-based approach to assessing leadership capability should investigate the broad range of skills that any leader should possess – including influencing skills, developing their teams, strategic vision and operational awareness. Describe a situation that your business might face and ask them how they would deal with it.

Many is the undiscovered star who never stepped outside the consulting environment until their moment to thrive appeared from nowhere. If the recruitment process asks the right questions, both candidate and employer will realise that this is eminently possible.

EM can help you to work out which leadership competencies will take your business to the next level and then select the right “fit” ex-strategy consultant for the challenge. We also have qualified psychometric assessors. Please call David Howell for a confidential chat.