Thank You for 5 Years of Y Scouts!

thank you for 5 years of y scouts!

Several years ago, Nationwide Insurance ran a TV commercial campaign centered on the tagline, “Life comes at you fast.” When I stop to think about where the last 44 (soon to be 45) years of my life went, the meaning of that phrase hits home in a big way.

More recently, the past 5 years came and went like a Nolan Ryan fastball (sorry for the baseball reference — I don’t even follow the game). I remember sitting down with Max Hansen when we decided to start Y Scouts, and performing a series of Google searches for search strings like, “purpose-based executive search,” and “purpose-driven recruiting.” If you haven’t heard the story, the results of these searches led us nowhere. Nothing came up… zip, zilch, nada. Keep in mind, this was early 2012 — not that long ago, but then again, a lot has happened in the purpose/values/culture space since then.

We almost stopped before we even started. Boy, am I glad we didn’t.

So, here we are. It’s been 5 years since launching Y Scouts, and we can’t think of a more appropriate way to celebrate than saying, “Thank You.” Thank you to:

  • Our families and loved ones for encouraging us to stay the course and follow our dreams

  • Our clients for trusting us with finding the right leaders you need to continue your impact

  • The candidates and leaders we’ve had the pleasure of meeting and connecting with our clients

  • Our friends for supporting us in our journey

  • Our partners and network of providers who help us stay ahead of the curve

  • The movement of purpose-based leaders and organizations who believe Purpose Drives Profit

  • The naysayers and nonbelievers for challenging us

  • Our podcast guests for sharing your stories

  • Our advisory board for sharing your wisdom

  • Brett and the team at Markitors for your help in spreading the Y Scouts message

  • Our Y Scouts alumni for allowing us to be a stop along your career journey

And, a very special thank you to our Y Scouts Team for digging in everyday and helping us transform how people and organizations connect to work that matters.

Here’s to the next 5 years!

With gratitude,
Max & Brian

How Long Does It Take To Find A CEO?

How Long Does It Take To Find A CEO

So, how long does it take to find a CEO, taking into consideration the research process, the interviews, the candidate lineup, and so forth? In short, you must “go slow to go fast.”

Let’s first expand on the “go slow to go fast” component of hiring an executive.

Thoughtfulness in Hiring

The notion of going slow to go fast is a belief Y Scouts holds. The most common and traditional metric that organizations use to measure the effectiveness of their talent acquisition system usually falls under one of the following two categories: Speed to fill, and cost per hire.

So, how fast do we fill and how cheaply do we fill? Both of those metrics assume that quicker and cheaper is better.

Our argument at Y Scouts is, neither is really true. If they were true, would we be in a situation where 70% of the workforce in the United States is fairly disengaged with their work? We found them really fast, and we hired them really cheap—but everybody’s unhappy. Of course, those two may not be directly correlated. But an argument can be made that if we were a bit more deliberate and thoughtful about our hiring decisions, and candidates were a bit more thoughtful about where they choose to work, we’d probably be in a better spot.

how long does it take to hire a ceo

Thus, the notion of “going slow to go fast” means if you have a hiring need at your company, don’t allow speed to fill the role to be your only driving force, or your primary driving force. Instead of looking at hiring as a task to check off the list (“I have to fill this job”), take a step back and ask yourself, “If I could add anybody to this role, who would it be and what would he or she bring to the table? What kind of success would this person deliver?” Then, use it as an opportunity.

In addition, ask yourself: “Who are the other people greatly affected by this role in their company?” Then, gain their perspective as to what they think success in that position looks like—whether it’s the CEO or VP of Marketing.


Next, how long does it take to find a CEO for your company? On average, probably between four and seven months. This is the person who’s about to be the face, the leader, and the ambassador of the organization. That’s an important role to get right. So, hiring quickly won’t line up as the best strategy, and it may require more damage control down the road.

There are plenty of examples of bad CEO choices. Ron Johnson was hired away from Apple Retail (he was the Senior VP of Retail there), and was brought on as the CEO of J.C. Penney. Within about 18 months of him taking over as CEO of J.C. Penney, he got fired. Keep in mind—it’s not because he wasn’t a good CEO; he was the wrong CEO for the company.

how long does it take to find a ceo

J.C. Penney failed to truly define success in that role. It adds up logically; if J.C. Penney is struggling as a business and sees Apple retail lighting the world on fire—sure, go get Apple’s Chief Retail Officer and make him the J.C. Penney CEO. It’s retail. Retail equals retail. The way Apple approaches retail is incredibly different from the way J.C. Penney does. Therefore, there was a complete misalignment in leadership philosophy, culture, and overall strategy. Those things could have been easily vetted for on the front end, but they probably just got excited about, “Hey, I think we can hire the Senior VP of Retail from Apple to be our CEO, and he’s going to save the day.” That’s not what happened. It was a giant disaster. 

Creating A Roadmap For Success

When hiring a CEO, whether for a major corporation or a small nonprofit, you need a search committee. Before even starting your search, don’t go looking for anyone until you know what you are seeking.

how long does it take to find a ceo

It’s equivalent to saying, “Hey, let’s go on a trip! Where do you want to go? Well, let’s actually just get in the car and start driving.” Hiring is much the same. Map out a strategy. Don’t just jump in the car and start driving and figure it out as you go. That’s how a lot of companies hire, unfortunately—but Y Scouts is changing that landscape.

Do you have any other questions about how long does it take to find a CEO? Let us know!

Y Scouts, a leadership search firm, finds purpose-aligned and performance-proven leaders to help organizations achieve their missions faster. Ready to supercharge your leadership search and get the right person in your organization? Contact Y Scouts.

CEO Search Committee Best Practices

ceo search committee best practices

These CEO search committee best practices will help guide you toward a positive decision for your whole organization. Whether it means diversity of opinions, a solid interview process, an investment of time, or other factors—the pieces will come together to foster a sturdy, successful CEO search committee.

Follow these principles when a search committee looks for a CEO.

CEO Search Committee Best Practices

Great People

The committee has an important role. Thus, the first step is to ensure that those selected for the committee are truly invested and willing to dedicate their time, talents, and resources.

Diversity of Opinions

Make sure you have diversity on the committee—more specifically, diversity of thought.

You don’t want a bunch of ‘yes’ people following the lead of one person. Rather, you want to encourage a robust conversation around what each search committee member’s vision for success of the role looks like. Some of that may be very similar, but oftentimes, asking the right questions and allowing everybody an opportunity to share their perspective prove critical elements.

The diversity of thought on a search committee can lead to a phenomenal outcome, where you have peers who might see things a little bit differently. The power often lies within the differences. You can build a much more holistic position profile, and a better informed one, than if you were just taking the advice from one person.

Solid Interview Process

One of the best CEO search committee best practices involves the interview process. Once you start interviewing candidates, the search committee must very deliberately provide each member participating in the interview process a set of assigned questions. Each committee member should focus on a different aspect of the candidate, whether it be purpose, values alignment, expertise or leadership style.

Every search committee member should also have predetermined set of questions that they are armed and ready to ask so that the interview experience is well choreographed. Furthermore, those questions should be consistent for each candidate, so that everyone is measured by the same measuring stick.

Investment of Time

The time investment can have various interpretations. Often, if you are elected, nominated or you volunteer for the committee, nobody from the committee does the actual searching. They help set up the search, and then participate in the interview process once the team narrows down the final candidates.

It takes time to compile a thorough list of places to look for a new leader. Plus, it takes time to pinpoint the qualities to look for in a new CEO, and designing a method for how to seek out this candidate.

It may take a time investment of 1-3 hours on the front end to properly create the position profile. In the interview process, it could call for perhaps 90-minute to two-hour interviews per candidate. It depends on how many candidates they have lined up for interviews, which varies quite a bit.

All in all, you’re probably looking at an investment of a dozen hours or so from start to finish. This number is not unreasonable—but the CEO search committee best practices take consideration and a time commitment.

Negotiating Compensation

Typically, the search committee must have a strong feeling regarding what the proper compensation level for the candidate should be. Whether or not the search committee will take part in the actual negotiation depends upon several factors. Is there a search firm involved? Or does the company enlist their own recruiting department? Determining each person’s role in the process is one of the top CEO search committee best practices.

What other CEO search committee best practices would you add? Let us know!

Y Scouts, a leadership search firm, finds purpose-aligned and performance-proven leaders to help organizations achieve their missions faster. Ready to supercharge your leadership search and get the right person in your organization? Contact Y Scouts.

Our Solid Approach To Employee Reference Checks

employee reference checks

Employee reference checks are one of the best ways to garner outside perspective on a potential new hire.

Asking references the right questions is the first step. At Y Scouts, we take a three-pronged approach to employee reference checks that you’ll want to mull over before your next hiring spree.

Employee Reference Checks 101

The Y Scouts method of identifying a top job candidate includes three descriptors:

  1. How does the candidate drive results?
  2. In what way does the candidate help develop others?
  3. How does the candidate practice relentless learning?

Here’s the solid Y Scouts approach to tackling employee reference checks using our list of exceptional behaviors practiced by a true leader.

Driving Results

Frame the reference questions around specific times the candidate has driven results. For instance, was there a project that showcased his or her leadership skills? Dig deeper to learn how the candidate approaches team and individual projects.

At Y Scouts, we perceive a candidate who can truly drive results within a role as a leader.

It’s also a good idea to see what kind of energy the candidate brings into a room, and how that might have boosted workplace productivity or work enjoyment. Furthermore, understanding how the candidate was a driver of results will help you picture what success might look like with him or her in your office as a new hire.

employee reference checks

If you have overseen others in that same position, what separated this candidate from the top performer in this role? What could he or she have done differently for you to say this candidate was #1?

Overall, pinpoint how a potential new hire in your company has exemplified leadership from driving results. Employee reference checks will help steer you in the right direction.

Developing Others

Another excellent item in the Y Scouts approach to employee reference checks involves learning how the candidate has helped develop others. For instance: How would this candidate rank compared to others in the same position who have reported to you over the years—in terms of developing others?

Aside from growing as a leader, it’s important to know how the candidate has helped others blossom in their roles, too. 

Through the Y Scouts method, a reference check should reveal how a candidate took the initiative to help others complete their best work. How he or she handled delicate situations with fellow team members speaks volumes, too. This second category opens the door for a reference to disclose specific examples of the candidate’s efforts in leadership.

Relentless Learner

A candidate must exhibit a willingness to learn and to apply new knowledge. This third tier of the Y Scouts leadership characteristics is crucial in employee reference checks.

What did the candidate teach you and learn from you (or other sources) while he or she was working with you?

Delving into workplace challenges that frightened or excited the candidate helps determine how he or she fares as a possible leader on your own team. Furthermore, the way in which a potential hire responds to various challenges can reveal traits of a relentless learner.

employee reference checks

Does this leader seek out new knowledge and fresh ways of approaching projects? References can also provide some of the most reliable ways to discover this. Thus, employee reference checks—when considered using the three Y Scouts leadership qualities—can help you hire a true relentless learner.


Y Scouts uses these three categories to identify the best of the best leaders for a business. Whether it means gauging how the candidate performs under pressure or measuring strengths and weaknesses, this design helps smoothly guide the hiring process.

Employee reference checks are not necessarily about asking a certain question. Rather, they allow the reference to provide an open, honest assessment of a leader. These references know what it’s like to work with this person. They know if the leader is exceptional, good, or merely average. Our Y Scouts clients want exceptional, so the three-tiered approach helps us place great leaders within great companies.

How do you tackle employee reference checks? Let us know!

Y Scouts is a leadership search firm that finds purpose-aligned and performance-proven leaders to help organizations achieve their missions faster. Ready to supercharge your leadership search and get the right person in your organization? Contact Y Scouts.

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. No 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.

Above and Beyond Vetting Practices For Executives

vetting practices for executives

What above and beyond vetting practices for executives do we take at Y Scouts? How do we identify and separate truly executive-level hires from the rest of the candidates we’re considering for C-Level roles?

As you can see by reviewing our Exceptional Leadership Search Model, the recruitment process we take at Y Scouts involves several different phases and layers of recruiting. By the time we get to the vetting practices, we already have our best candidates. Then, it’s time to go above and beyond.

Here is how a couple of our executive recruiters go above and beyond to vet out and confidently recommend executive level hires:

Nonprofit Executive HeadhuntersI’m really big on references. I make sure I speak to the executive’s prior direct manager(s). In addition to gaining an understanding for the executive’s personality and most prevalent values, I want to understand what the one or two things that the executive is truly phenomenal in. I also want to understand where s/he struggles (i.e. weaknesses). I don’t let the reference get off the hook without letting me know where the executive has needed coaching in the past. Finally, I ask the reference how many executives have reported to him/her over the years. Where does this particular candidate rank in those group of executives? Since references are usually kind (for example, top 25% probably means top 50%), I’m looking for exceptionalism. It means a lot if the executive is the absolute best out of 25 people who’ve reported to the reference. In those instances, I know I’ve got a truly special candidate.

– Paul Eisenstein, Nonprofit & Social Enterprise Practice Leader

Marc RuterWatch the little things along the way – how do they treat you and the client, how do they react to unexpected situations, changes, roadblocks that come as you are going through the process. How do they follow up with you, do they honor their commitments, do they complete tasks on their end completely and on time? Finally, how they handle the final stages, such as negotiating salary and benefits will reflect on how they will behave at work.

– Marc Ruter, Culture-Fanatical Practice Leader

What vetting practices for executive-level hires do you take when hiring a new leader at your organization?

Y Scouts is an executive search firm that helps nonprofits and social enterprises find exceptional leaders. Contact us if you are looking to find an exceptional leader. Or, to be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

How to Hire Top Talent to Create a Purpose-Driven Business

Brian Mohr, co-founder & VP of Growth at Y Scouts has been hitting the speaking circuit to talk about how to hire top talent to create a purpose-driven business.

Here’s the slides for Brian Mohr’s most recent presentation, delivered at the Valley of the Sun Human Resources Association. Brian’s next How To Hire Top Talent speech will be coming up at the the upcoming Snell & Wilmer Emerging Business Seminar Series on June 5, 2013 at SkySong at 8am-9:30am. Registration and continental breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m. Register by emailing:

Title: How to Hire Top Talent to Create a Purpose-Driven Business

Evolution of Management – The way we hire and manage employees has evolved over the centuries. Historically (industrial revolution, scientific management) people were hired and supervised to perform specifically-designed tasks, with a great focus on optimizing productivity. We still see the effects of those roots today. Later, the bureaucracy developed, and behavioral management emerged between the 1920s to 1950s to focus more on the real needs of employees. In recent decades we’ve seen much emphasis on management science (six sigma, lean) ad its main focus remained often on process or productivity rather than on people.

State of our Workplace Today – Despite contemporary thought leaders (like Peter Drucker, or the emergence of Servant Leadership), today’s workplace still produces much unproductive stress, eliminates much creativity and inspiration, and is characterized by high levels of disengagement. This in turn leaves significant opportunities for productivity, growth, and profitability on the table.
Research on Purpose – One of the key pieces we believe is missing is “purpose”. In Daniel Pink’s research on what really motivates people, he finds that purpose is one of the three main drivers. In Gallup’s research into why people follow, “hope” is one of the main factors. Dr. Seligman’s research in the area of positive psychology shows that having a sense of purpose is a key route to high well-being. Purpose is good for people, but for business as well. A range of studies has demonstrated the far-superior results that purpose-driven companies obtain over their money-driven counterparts.

Implications for You – For most companies this means there is a need t0 discover what their purpose is, to communicate, Y Scouts is proposing three main implications. First, what is your purpose? What are you most passionate about, and what are you doing to pursue that? Second, how can you help others find and pursue that? Second, how can you help others find and pursue their purpose? You have great influence over your existing employees (casting them in the right roles) as well as your new hires (interviewing them for fit and purpose). And thirdly, how can you develop and focus your managers and employees on their strengths? To allow purpose to thrive, managers will need to respect the employee for who he/she is and focus on bringing the best out in them.

What We Do – How Y Scouts can help


Y Scouts is an executive search firm that helps nonprofits and social enterprises find exceptional leaders. Contact us if you are looking to find an exceptional leader. To be considered for exceptional leadership opportunities with our clients, please take the first step by joining the Y Scouts Leadership Community.

Find An Exceptional Leader

Looking to hire an exceptional leader? Searching for the ideal candidate? Contact our team.

Are you a leadership candidate seeking the next step in your career? Join our leadership community.