The Reinvention of Executive Search

reinvention of executive search

When you visit the home page of you’re met with a bold, distinct message:

We’re Reinventing Executive Search

In this post we’ll share why the reinvention of executive search needed to take place. We’ll also talk about what we’ve done to reinvent executive search, and elaborate on the three areas that are huge parts of our reinvention.

The three parts of our reinvention that we’ll cover:

  • Establishing a go to market strategy around aligning intangibles
  • Challenging the way recruiting is supposed to work by connecting with leaders in a new way
  • The Y Scouts Leadership Model

Establishing a go to market strategy around aligning intangibles

Think about the days before the internet existed. Executive search firms and staffing organizations were either geographically focused, industry focused, or job function focused. That was the traditional three headed monster of how search firms and staffing organizations went to market.

They said,

“We’re a search firm that focuses specifically on the Greater Phoenix area.”


“We’re a search firm that is great at working with manufacturing companies.”


“We’re a search firm that specializes in accounting and finance jobs.”

Then the internet and technology exploded. The one advantage that search firms had – their ability to connect with a certain group of people in a specific area – became less of a competitive advantage with the advancement of technology.

Technology has leveled the playing field. You can connect with anyone today. You just have to have the wherewithal to know how to do great search and sourcing work. It’s just a matter of whether you are willing to work hard enough to find the best of the best.

Y Scouts has chosen a very different go to market strategy. The go to market strategy isn’t rooted in just geography, or just industry, or just job function. It’s rooted in all of those, plus – it’s about alignment of intangibles.

Intangibles is the stuff that you don’t find on a resume or in a job description. It’s the things that accelerate and magnify performance.

Where do I fit? Who do I believe in? Who believes in what I believe in? Who behaves the way I behave? Who cares about the same things that I care about?

Establishing all of the intangibles is part of the alignment process between a company and a leader. It matters more today than it has ever before. Just look at the consumer marketing space. Consumers today are voting with their wallets. Nine out of ten times when given the choice to put their money to work behind a brand that serves a greater purpose, versus those that are commodity based, they’re going to put their money towards the cause or purpose driven organization. It’s not even a question.

As the workforce continues to become more dominated by the younger generations, their natural orientation is cause and purpose-based type brands. That’s easily going to translate into the organizations that they chose to work for.

As a leader, the people who are going to be following you will see right through whether or not you believe authentically in what the mission of the organization is. To get the best out of people, they need to believe in what you believe in.

If you don’t share the same set of beliefs, you’re not going to operate at the highest of high levels. It’s just not going to happen. There’s no disputing that.

The go to market strategy is a reinvention. Not focusing on a geography, industry or profession. It’s about alignment in the intangibles, because that is what matters in today’s business world.

Challenging the way recruiting is supposed to work

A second piece about the reinvention of executive search is when we connect with candidates, we don’t dangle job descriptions in front of them.

We don’t say, “Hey! This job would be great for you because I saw your LinkedIn profile, or your resume, or Jim connected me to you and said you’re a great Chief Marketing Officer. Well, here’s a great Chief Marketing Officer job that pays $450,000 base plus a 40% bonus. I think you’d be great at it!”

Those are artificial lures that really don’t move the needle. Part of our reinvention is that when we connect with leaders who might potentially be a great fit for a client, our immediate focus is all about the leader as a person. Who are you? What’s the difference in the world that you want to make? Who are the people you want to surround yourself with? What type of business would you be proud to represent?

Getting into those types of intangibles matters so much. It matters more now than it ever has. Focusing on the human as opposed to the resume is where it has to start. When you do that, the rest of it starts to fall in line.

Leadership Behaviors & Traits

The other piece comes through all of our collective experience in the talent space. We’ve developed a leadership model that came as a result of what our clients were asking for in the types of leaders they wanted. They emphasized three particular characteristics and behavioral traits:

  • Drives Results
  • Develops People
  • Learns Relentlessly

The first behavior is that they drive results. When they’re placed in a role, they get the job done. That’s the minimum table stakes.

The second piece is that they are a developer of other people. They recognize as a leader that in order for them to be successful, they have to help everyone raise their game and achieve their greatest potential. They’re very focused on others and spend their time developing the people that they have the honor and privilege to lead.

The third thing, perhaps more important now than ever before, is people who are relentless in their pursuit of knowledge. They lean into learning. They haven’t made the decision that they’re a Chief Marketing Officer, and they’ve reached the top and they know what’s best. That’s a frightening proposition if you’re not constantly leaning into learning.

The world is changing fast. The business world is changing fast. If you as an individual aren’t constantly doing your best to continue to evolve as fast as the world is, you will eventually become obsolete because someone is going to learn faster than you.

Those three traits – driving results, developing people, learning relentlessly – serve as the core of our leadership model. Every leader we work with – if they don’t have specific, measurable proof points from their career of how they’ve demonstrated those three behavioral traits, we won’t move them forward in the process. Now matter how great they look on paper.

They have to model those behaviors. That’s what our clients want, and that’s what the business world needs.

Transforming how leaders and companies connect to work that matters.

That’s how we are reinventing executive search. We founded Y Scouts based on a go to market strategy around aligning the intangibles. We are challenging the way recruiting is supposed to work by connecting with leaders without using artificial lures – like dangling a job description – that really don’t move the needle. And then third, the Leadership Model.

We believe leaders with purpose outperform those simply chasing status and dollars. To find these exceptional leaders you don’t follow the status quo – you must zig while others zag.

If you have questions on how we are reinventing executive search, or you are ready to supercharge your leadership search and get the right person in your organization, please contact us.

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