At Townsend Search Group, we pride ourselves on building high-quality connections grounded in trust and transparency. We emphasize a knowledge-based, collaborative experience and recognize that no client—or search—is alike.
But relationships go two ways. With more than 150 combined years of work experience between us, our team has learned to recognize the key attributes of a partnership that will ensure a successful outcome.
In some cases, the search process can elicit the need for difficult conversations. When we commit to a client, we immerse ourselves in the company’s culture, history and values—to the point that candidates have, at times, mistaken us for internal employees.
In return, we ask that clients commit to trusting our team, valuing our knowledge and heeding our counsel.
Recently, a client came to Townsend after receiving disappointing results from another firm. They sought a dynamic sales leader. As the search progressed, it became clear that no one individual could meet the needs of the role.
By looking holistically at what the company was trying to accomplish, we ultimately recommended that they bifurcate the position. We were able to make that determination thanks to the healthy exchange we had with the client—and that dialogue is evidence of the strength of our relationship.
Asking tough questions requires a foundation of trust. Only after our team became more engaged could we understand that the structure of the role was part of the reason for the previous firm’s failure. The client’s confidence in us and our insight enabled us all to move forward with clarity.
As businesses evolve, so do their needs. Our outside perspective—combined with a deep understanding of our clients and their competitive landscape—often allows us to make recommendations that get to the heart of a company’s needs in ways that their leadership teams may not have anticipated.
As we collectively gain knowledge throughout the search journey, the ability to adapt as needed is critical, both for us and our partners.
After recommending that our client split their sales role, we helped them hone in on the attributes they needed for each candidate. Once we had identified a list of core criteria, we developed a scorecard that weighted those qualities in each prospect. This solidified the rubric we were evaluating against, ensuring that everyone was aligned.
With our support, the company is now moving forward with a short list of candidates for one of the two positions while simultaneously building out criteria for the other. While this extends the process at the front end of the search, it will also pave the way for long-term sustainability.
When approaching a new partner or opportunity, we take a profoundly personalized approach to the search process. But for our work to be effective, our clients must also be self-aware. Do they understand how they are perceived in the market? Are they realistic about the opportunity’s attractiveness based on their situation and circumstances?
Even the best-organized process cannot be successful if a client’s expectations do not meet reality—or if perceptions of the position vary between internal stakeholders. Storytelling is key to a successful search, and if prospects are not getting a clear message about the role, it can raise red flags.
Self-awareness does not have to mean knowing everything about your company. It can also mean recognizing that you may not see the whole picture and being willing to adjust when met with feedback.
At Townsend, we firmly believe that listening is more important than speaking. We listen to our clients to learn everything we can about their needs. In return, we find that we get the best results with partners who are willing to receive feedback.
A Recipe for Success
A healthy partnership is one where we can take the time to deeply understand the client, their needs and what they are trying to accomplish. In return, the client respects and values our contributions and sees us as trusted advisors.
In the case of the company seeking a sales leader, we now manage all searches within their portfolio. They recognize and value our ability to align their business needs with the priorities of their leadership team and understand that a strong search goes beyond checking the box.
Sometimes, looking holistically at a need means adjusting a process or role. But ultimately, it creates better outcomes for everyone.
By laying a foundation of trust, flexibility and self-awareness, we can tailor a search that will not only deliver results in the short term but pave the way for lasting success.
If your organization is ready to place changemaking talent, get in touch with any of us on the Townsend Search team and experience The Journey to placing top executive talent.