Thoughts, travels and inspiration

Category: Leadership

Four reasons parenthood can make you a better leader

Father and son
Father and son by MarcelaHernouxPhotography

Who has never met somebody at work and say a couple of years after, he or she was a real father / mother for me… I grew up so much during my tenure during this role. He taught me so much.. She cared so much about me and our team…

Leadership is defined by the New Oxford Dictionary of English as: ‘the action of leading a group of people or an organisation’. However the range of actions included in this definition remains vague and left to the appreciation of many.

In this article, based on my recent experience as a father, I would like to offer you four reasons parenthood can inspire you to become a better leader.

1- Develop a clear vision of what to become as a family

As a family, we are all different and unique but we are also one living together good and bad moments. From birth we will all experiment happy and difficult moments where our family is the very first place we can search out for strength and comfort.

However, for this to work, an ambiance of acceptance and encouragement has to be put in place. Trust is key to travel together in this lifelong journey and parents must be the captain in charge of sailing everyday the boat to the right direction.

As parents, we must make sure our children grow in a certain structure that will make them ready to live in society while offering them the tools to think independently and make the right decisions.

We have to build a vision of what we want to become together and develop it with the support of all family members. We have to find what unites us and not divides us permanently.

In a business the role of the leader is to create the right culture for its talents to thrive and reach their objectives both professional but also personal to retain them over time.

The goal is to lead to a common objective where both businesses and talents will be better off. As parenthood, vision is what unites people together, make them stick and grow unanimously.

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2- Define the values that power you as a unit

Values are what allow us to take the toughest decisions of our lives. They are defined as the moral principles and beliefs or accepted standards of a person or social group like a family or a business.

While the vision of what we want to become as a family is the ideal we want to work for, the values are the guiding principles through how we want to achieve that.

We are all different as individuals and we value different things unevenly. However, when we face tough decisions, we need to find common ground to respond the right way.

For some, it will be based on religion, others on rules that have always been in place in the family. Above all, we all need to get the same rules to respond in the right way, learn and grow..

For corporate leaders, this is just the same. People come from different cultures, background, religions and have different priorities in life. The role of the leader is to define and convey over time the set of rules that will be used to grow the business overtime.

How to do it ? Jack Welch, the ex-CEO of GE developed a specific matrix called the Performance / Values Matrix. It clearly states that culture fit should always be preferred to performance fit to develop a business in the long-term.

Performance Value matrix from Jack Welsh as explained by AVA

From quality, to honesty or care, some are just examples that I value and carry on through my activities while hiring or joining new businesses. Think about what yours are and hire and retain only people that fit yours. You will save many hours wondering if you made the right decisions in your career..

Photo by fauxels from Pexels

3- Deliver results through basic but powerful metrics

Numbers people, I have good news for you. Parenthood is also a lot about numbers. From numbers of baby’s bottles to give or the average volume a baby needs to drink from Mommy’s breast, to counting how much the little darling pees or poops to make sure everything is normal, there are a lot of metrics to keep in mind.

Sounds familiar ? Our way of working was to log everything to measure the progress days after days and months after months. The result? The capacity to anticipate baby being hungry at 4am, more comfort for him and longer(ish) nights of sleep for us.. Sounds regimental? People and businesses always go further, quicker and easier with systems in place. For more tips, ask your paediatrician 🙂

In business, many will have recognised the basics of a business plan and a forecast.. Look at the big picture, break it down in small steps, know the activities you have to do every day, measure them and act upon them. Fail fast, learn fast and grow quickly! In summary, be agile !!

Anybody can do a basic form of log tracking and bring more success to the growth phase of a newborn little darling or company. Take the time to review your market position per activity (the SWOT), think about micro / macro economics affecting your business (PESTEL / PORTER). Make sure to know what is your unicity or superiority in the market. Then, you’ll be ready for success.

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk from Pexels

4- Prioritise what is important for growth

If parenthood can be described as something wonderful, it is also sometimes overwhelming, with the schedule of the new arrival added to the obligations of the house. From shopping to going out for a meal with the better-half or friends, everything becomes different and priorities must be reshuffled.

Like in business, parents’ days start early and finish late with sometimes (especially at the beginning) very little time to rest at night. Knowing and acting on what is truly important or or urgent becomes key.

For Eisenhower, we can assign tasks to four different categories depending on their importance and their urgency. Most importantly, if we should tackle first the important / urgent, we should focus most of our time in the important / not urgent to build a system for success.

The Eisenhower time matrix adapted from Business Savvy Mama

For parents to leaders, it is our duty to prioritise invaluable things and organise our days to make sure we tackle all roles in life. Nobody can do it for us and leaving the world running our priorities is a poor choice that will have one day or another an impact on our health and our career or lives over time.

The Wheel of Life as proposed by leading coach Tony Robbins can be a great place to start. Have a look at what matters to you in life, assess where you are today and set up the right development plan for growth in areas that matter to you and your happiness.

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Parenthood and leadership a human growth accelerator

Parenthood is a unique experience making you live all types of feelings on a daily basis. It also teaches you key values like patience, care and dedication. It places you in a way bigger spectrum than where you thought you were before. If forces you to understand how to make life better for you and your family everyday.

Leadership is a similar experience at the head of an organisation. From defining the vision to creating the right team to deliver the expected results, it challenges you on a daily basis to manage people like a family. It makes you take difficult decisions with the right values to grow and for everybody’s best interest.

Parenthood teaches you so much on how to become a better leader. But realistically, we should all become more leaders’ of our own lives. And to those wondering, isn’t great leadership also the perfect learning opportunity to become amazing parents ?

Feeling like in the same boat and want to share your experience, leave us a comment below or drop us an email at contact(at)guillaumehernoux(dot)com. Parents, leaders, followers, tell us what you think and let’s have a chat !

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Four pillars leaders MUST consider during a crisis

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The world is currently fighting against one of its worst health crisis since World War 2 with the Coronavirus outbreak, which started a few months ago.

Recent developments have forced Governments to manage the situation both on medical and economical ways.

As much as political leaders are trying to do their best to get us outside of this troubling time, we cannot forget that we are also part of the solution.

The role of leaders is to find a path for their organisation and their people to prosper during good times but also difficult moments.

This article offers you four pillars to lead during a crisis, stand apart and respond effectively to the situation.

1. Not one leadership team but a network of teams

In an excellent article called “Leadership in a crisis: Responding to the coronavirus outbreak and future challenges”, McKinsey & Company suggest to look closely to our organisation practice and adopt leaderships principles to respond effectively.

In critical times, it is important to recognise that leaders have the paramount role to design a new strategy while keeping things afloat by giving sound directions.

Predefined answers do not work in extraordinary times and a top-down answer only is not sufficient to provide confidence and stability.

Leaders need to define clear priorities and then mobilise their organisations to find solutions and empower individuals to implement them.

The concept of network of teams is one of the best and most appropriate models to create, design and implement solutions for the challenges the organisation is facing.

Individual talents need to be brought together in teams with a common purpose to work together as part of new virtual teams for specific projects, while continuing to perform their current role.

McKinsey recommend that when in a crisis, a core number of teams should be created including workforce protection, supply-chain stabilisation, customer engagement and financial stress testing.

Incorporating key talents in the response team will not only strengthen their core belonging to the business, but also make them more efficient and resilient to serve colleagues and customers during this difficult time.

The illustration below shows a visual representation of the concept. Further information can be found in McKinsey’s article : Responding to coronavirus: The minimum viable nerve center

Illustrative network of teams proposed by Mc Kinsey for a pandemic response

Indeed, a multidisciplinary approach is needed in order to cope with unprecedented challenges.

Combining a multitude of expertise and disciplines can result in fresh and innovative solutions as well as different perpectives.

The leadership role is vital running the timing and output when delay in resolutions occur.

2. A leadership based on transparency and empathy

Leaders have the mission to make a positive difference in their teams’ lives by empowering their employees to be a better version of themselves.

More than ever, leaders should pay close attention to how people are coping with this difficult and unprecedented situation. Management meetings and 1 to 1s should be reinforced even more when employees are confined at home and have lost their habits and the proximity of their colleagues.

Emotional intelligence and empathy are key to this and leaders need to be conscious of their capacity to change employees’ lives by taking appropriate measures for their well-being.

Leaders must explain clearly how the company will take the necessary measures to protect their activities and their lives during these crucial times. On the verge of the unknown, teams expect and need guidance and direction.

Another point is that leaders should not forget their own well-being so that they are efficient at a time when their resilience is tested to the upmost. Crisis can last weeks or months and are more like a marathon than a sprint.

A healthy diet, coupled with some mild exercise, even at home if confined, are key to keeping fit and focused to tackle challenges. Being closer to our bodies, regularly check our temperatures and our heart beat can also prevent burnouts or spreading the virus, in case of asymptomatic carriers.

Mike Dillard in partnership with a nutritionist Dr Ann Shippy on his excellent podcast has published this week excellent advices and supplements that everybody should consider during this time to boost our immune system.

3. A calm and optimist behaviour to take necessary risks

In emergency times, leaders’ experience is very important. However, during a whole new crisis, team character and unified response is equally key in order to respond appropriately.

For McKinsey, leaders should display “deliberate calm” and bounded optimism” to respond to crisis.

Leaders alone don’t have the answers. Their role is to empower their teams to provide the right insights to mature their analysis and collaborate together to define the appropriate solutions.

At the same time, leaders need to reassure their teams about the situation and provide their ongoing conclusions in the most human way.

In a crisis, taking risks to tackle challenges is decisive. Not doing anything will always bring a loss.

Dimitrios Spyridonidis in his excellent analysis (Warwick Business School blog post) invites leaders not to be afraid of taking risks and making errors as speed trumps right.

Leaders should display strategic leadership by asking though-provoking questions, experimenting solutions and taking conclusions from what they know.

4. A forward thinking attitude to prepare the future

Working from home has not been something most companies have been used to, but it has become a new norm in times of lockdown.

Organisations need to adapt to this and deploy tools to allow a better collaboration among their teams. I have spent the last couple of weeks discussing with leaders all over the world how they were approaching and tackling this crisis.

Mario Gago, CEO and Founder of Pink Room, a Portuguese software development start-up impressed me when sharing his extensive experience in remote working and how processes, rules and tools are important to him to succeed especially the technological part.

Technology offers a fantastic portfolio of tools to work remotely like Trello, a dynamic freemium board to measure progress on key actions and collaborate with teams on different categories of projects.

From smaller projects to those impacting large teams, I have been using it with much success for the past years and can only recommend it to you.

Trello board management categories

Video conference tools like Zoom or Join-me or more comprehensive solutions like Microsoft Teams encapsulating everything a company needs to work remotely.

Elsewhere in Europe back home, a Luxembourgish company EuroDNS is offering a 6 month trial of their solution for free in this dedicated URL.

Managing a team in those conditions is completely different as well as motivating people to give their best while loved ones or even themselves could feel sick or demotivated.

Teams need also to continue to live as much as possible by catching-up every morning for an early session of check-ins and brainstorming. 1 to 1s should continue at the scheduled times to offer a personal and more intimate conversation during this time.

Moreover, leaders and companies need to start thinking heavily about what could become a new norm.

With an ever increasing number of people commuting to towns to live and work, putting environmental sustainability at risk, working from home could become the new standard to get better work-life balance in the future.

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Governments are doing their best to keep populations alive and business moving during these though times. But, let’s not forget our responsibilities to lead our businesses and our teams forward through the crisis.

While we won’t be able to change everything, we can be actors in our businesses, for our employees and our teams. Our ingenuity, our resilience and our hard work need to complement this effort as much as possible to relieve Governments on the business front, help them focus on the ones that need the most and focus on the health side that is very under pressure right now.

During this difficult time we need more than ever to collaborate together and offer solutions. If you currently have other leadership practices or ideas leaders and companies should implement during this difficult time, we would be delighted to hear from you.

Let us know below and let’s discuss how we can all use those dramatic times to change for the better.

Thank you.

Extreme leadership, an invite to be a better version of yourself

Last week, the Dublin Tech Summit invited one of the most prestigious Tech Leaders in the world to speak about the future of Technology.

From consulting businesses to blockchains specialists and digital banking, one guest was specially exciting, as he represents the dreams of many school boys, including myself at that age. Chris Hadfield was the first Canadian astronaut to walk in Space and stayed in the International Space Station (ISS) 166 days of his life. Yes, you read it right almost 6 months of his life in space!

Over the course of one hour, Chris made us dream about what seems impossible for most humans: going to the moon or another planet and living there. Chris came to Dublin with a precise idea in mind, talking to us about “Extreme Leadership”. But above everything, he demonstrated to us that everything is possible, even for a boy raised on a farm in Southern Ontario. How?

Chris Hadfield at DTS 2019

Chris knew from very young age what he wanted and applied to himself what he described as “Extreme Leadership”. This strongly impacted the way he envisioned himself and the world around him.

“Decide in your heart of hearts what really excites and challenges you, and start moving your life in that direction. Every decision you make, from what you eat to what you do with your time tonight, turns you into who you are tomorrow, and the day after that. Look at who you want to be, and start sculpting yourself into that person. You may not get exactly where you thought you’d be, but you will be doing things that suit you in a profession you believe in. Don’t let life randomly kick you into the adult you don’t want to become.” 
Chris Hadfield

I would like to present my interpretation of his vision in 6 ways that leaders can easily apply to their businesses and cause impact onto them as well.

1* BELIEVE impossible things happen, every single day.

I know this sound like an overstatement, but this can be easily proven. Most of us have in our pockets, a smartphone that didn’t exist 10 years ago and we bring it everywhere with us, to take pictures, write to our friends, connect with our followers on social medias, etc. Impossible you said?

Just go back in time and think about it… Look at memories, photos, objects of your childhood. How many impossible things have happened in your life? You will be surprised how far you have gone with the time.

2* PLAN for success, don’t wait for success to come to you.

Success comes from the repetition of small things every day until you master them. Look at what you know and what you are going to do next. Know what it really matters to you. If the step is too big, divide it in smaller steps that are achievable.

Think SMART for each goal and break down your activities in a Specific Measurable Achievable Realistic and Time-oriented way.

3* THINK BIG, think strategically and think as a team

Vision, team empowerment and problem solving are key to success. Use creativity and technology like Chris in the ISS to achieve things in an ingenious way. No need to reinvent the wheel.

Go back to the V2MOM discussed in a previous post. People of all ages like to understand why they do things. They will teach you things too. You could be even surprised and learn to do something you know faster and better.

4* Share knowledge around you

Knowledge is a treasure free to share with people you meet every day. Start with a smile and engage conversation. Be keen on people and remember the chance you have to be able to learn every day. Teach something to somebody every day and listen from people what they think of it. You know what? I bet you will love it!

5* Improve yourself

Never settle, always try to be a better version of yourself. Join an association, register for a conference, read books, learn a language. A word a day is nice, simple and can stimulate your brain for more. What about ordering your coffee next summer in a French brasserie like a local with a nice “‘s’il vous plaît”?

6* Play an instrument (or communicate with music)

Music is a universal language. Families, companies and teams are often composed of people with a lot of different sensibilities. Be the one uniting them. Don’t wait for it to happen by itself…

You can bring people closer by sharing a moment around a nice song. Why not doing it? Everybody will enjoy and you will have a good chance of offering them a good moment. Check Chris’ video below, that was how he built team spirit at the ISS with colleagues from all over the world!

Chris Hadfield original recording of Space Oddity onboard on the ISS

So, after all, what is “Extreme Leadership”? Is it something new? Something difficult? Something impossible? Not really. More than anything it is a good reminder that everything is possible if we dearly want it.

More than ever 2019 is the time not only to dream your life but also to live your dreams.

So what is your plan? Which items do you prefer most? Do you need help? Let me know, I’ll be happy to help, as always!

Bring purpose to employee engagement to get performance!

My recent studies around Leadership and Employee Retention gave interesting insights on the topic of purpose to improve employee engagement and improve performance.

Most of the leaders like to discuss in details the “Employee Performance” topic. The consensus is clear that getting results is not just a game number and repeating systematically the same action overtime. Performance comes from “Employee Engagement” and more specifically the willingness for an employee to be mentally engaged in his company where job options are many. 

Engagement can be triggered by different mechanisms, sometimes driven by rewards or sanctions for underperforming staff, following the principle of “the carrot and the stick.” However, most leaders recognise that it does not bring results after a shorter period while becoming expensive, the reward becoming the new norm.

Leaders should never aim for simple performance but for  peak-performance.  

However, this does not come from reward but from a deeper reason driven within human values called “purpose.” The willingness to do the extra-mile for a leader and his business comes from a reason that is very personal and often linked to the individual’s upbringing, something that has moved them and given them the strength to fight for. 

Leaders need to help their talents to understand those forces and build an employee success plan from the hiring to the reward process. The employee understands his contribution will have a monetary impact on the organisation but in a candidate driven-market, this is not enough.

Companies must set onboard their employees from executives to interns on a journey of  mutual success through their corporate values.  

The concept reads well and works for some business interviewed whatever their size. One can argue money is key to achieve this because before everything, a company is a profit centre designed to create value for its shareholders. This is true and businesses having a clear mission, a definite purpose, and a well-defined vision on how to achieve their goals are the ones making the biggest returns for their shareholders.

They also have the lowest turnover rate and the highest desire from people to join them. It is recommended for every business leader to deeply understand why the company has been created, what the values of the founders are, how those are still present or not and align roles and procedures through them. 

This is by creating, living, and embracing purpose that companies live and thrive.  

The V2MOM framework from Marc Benioff is one of the best tool I have seen to map out Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles and Measurement to be used from a companywide to an individual. Every decision should be run by this framework and every V2MOM accessible directly by any employee (Benioff & Adler, 2009).

The V2MOM framework is available on the website

Now, I invite you to sit down for a few minutes and have a deeper look into what your V2MOM would look like. I encourage you to do one per employee in your organisation starting from the CEO down to your interns or junior members of staff. The exercice must be fully transparent and anybody should be able to access it. 

Are you currently using it, thinking about it, or are not too sure what it is but would like to know more? If you need help, I’d be delighted to support you and share my experience changing organisations through a strong V2MOM. Just drop me a line below or contact me at and let’s chat! 

Employee retention problem? Leaders can make a difference…

In good and challenging times, company leaders are always the ones who need to give the purpose and the direction. My MBA Thesis from Henley Business School offered some recommendations based on academic and field studies, on how leaders can increase employee retention and make a difference.

The research has outlined qualities that a leader needs to be successful and an ideal leadership style, the strategic leadership

However, the balance between looking at a company’s interest from inside and outside is often difficult to reach. Executives’ agendas are always busy with urgencies and the capacity to step back in a world ever changing is becoming the number one priority to chase. 

Believing in a clear mission and making decisions with the awareness of their outcomes on people, company reputation, and financial results is a daunting task for leaders. In an era of social medias and a heavily connected society, mistakes can be seen quicker, communication is scrutinised, and any misstep is outlined ten times more than successes. 

It is recommended for leaders to start their mission by  building an executive or a management team composed of people sharing their  values and having the ability to work with each other. 

Researchers have made comprehensive work on the topic and Belbin team roles in an example of framework that could be used to make sure the nine key behaviours are represented as per below in the management teams (Belbin, 2010). Leaders surrounded by their peers will be able to build better working organisations and hire the right talents to work more efficiently. 

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The 9 Team Roles from Belbin as displayed on

Companies are often created with a project or an idea in mind that develops with a business overtime. When investments are raised, different shareholders have different ambitionsfrom an immediate return on investments to a more philanthropic vision. 

Hiring the right set of leaders and employees aligned with the founders’ values can take time, be difficult and costlier that quickly aggregating a set of competencies. However, overall, this is the only way to build a profitable and respected business where employees will stay and develop massively. 

It is recommended to all leaders to watch closely their company  vision, their  mission to the world and the  values of their stakeholders. 

By considering this, leaders will make sure to create or join a business where they feel respected, appreciated, and rewarded. Then, they will be able to build something sustainable with their teams based on the same principles. 

Are you using the Belbin model, would you like to understand it further? Let me know and I can help you further!

Is Employee development really a cost?

Leaders can reduce employee turnover through their roles in their organisations and the one of their leadership team. My MBA thesis gave me the opportunity to talk to more than 50 leaders in the IT Industry. The importance of leadership and how to be bring purpose to your employees was discuss at that time. But what else?

A major topic covered by industry leaders is Employee development. 

Some interviewees noticed an increasing demand for more responsibilities from their employees and wondered if this was due to the younger generations repeatedly called “millennials” coming into the workforce.

Others outlined this positive trend into growing as an individual or a leader inside their organisations.

In such a pressurised market as Dublin, employers have now little to no choice to discuss further education options as a key benefit for their employees.

Some see employee development as a cost and I would like to offer a strong alternative. 

Everybody needs to learn in a role and stay up to date with their industry, internal systems and procedures. This is undoubtedly a question of credibility for your business

From the onboarding process to the daily life, you certainly noticed some of your employees are willing to learn more and understand better how things around them are happening.

These employees should be prioritised for career growth plan and future leadership positions. But what about others? Is this fair? Should this be linked to performance?

It is time to sit down with your Management Team and ideally your HR Business Partner to remediate to this challenge.

Strategic leaders suggested to use the  9 Box of HR model to  align performance and potential.

This model has been recommended by key industry leaders coming from mid-large size organisations as an enabler for growth for start-ups and SMEs. Originally built by McKinsey, it compares in a matrix potential and performance of any employee in an organisation.

Categories like “Growth Employee” or “Star” and “High Impact Contributor” are considered as high-value for the business and should not be lost.

Other categories of employees especially when their performance is high, should be challenged to develop their potential. 

Employees categorised with high potential growth, but low performance should be also assessed in terms of potential change in the job role or intensive training. 

9-box Matrix adapted to HRM (Tunguz, 2015)

Then what about the cost? Indeed, the cost of training can be high despite various Universities and private schools running in Ireland.

This should be perceived, as an investment in your talents, motivated to learn, and a great occasion for them, to mingle with like-minded professionals. 

Solutions? Professional associations like the Sales Institute or the Institute of Directors offer corporate memberships that allow interesting discounts.

For smaller budgets, LinkedIn offers through an online learning module accessible 24/7 and 365 days a year, a comprehensive range of trainings and certifications for €1.00 or the price of a coffee per day.

Employees engaged in some learning programmes or academic degrees will stay longer in your company especially if you partly or totally fund it. They will be eager to do the extra mile for your business and ready for their next role quickly.

So, no, employee development is not a cost but an investment. 

Indeed, in Dublin’s candidate-driven market, your most talented employees will be leaving first. Feeling familiar? 

So are you using the 9-box of HR model? Would you like to know more about it? Contact me and I can go deeper about how you can use this model in the best way.

How can leaders reduce employee turnover?

An immersion of the leadership challenges in the Irish Tech Industry in 2019…

Dublin, Summer 2018

Employee retention. Who has not discussed this topic before? What could be done? Can leaders have a better impact on the challenge? Or is it just the present context in the IT sector in Ireland, especially in Dublin, that generates this problem? After 12 years working for multinationals and Irish companies, both as a leader hiring talents and as an employee constantly approached by recruiters, I decided to try to understand what was going on.

*** Context ***

My MBA thesis explored how business leaders can decrease employee turnover in Dublin. After 300 hours of studies, including a literature review covering all types of leaderships, key insights on the Irish economy, more than 30 conversations with leaders from companies of all sizes and associations in the IT Sector, some key insights deserve to be shared.

A few interesting statements made me think a lot. “I don’t have a process to measure employee turnover and its costs but I am sure it’s not that much” or “I know when one of my sales guys is leaving, it will cost me up to €200,000 between the hiring and training costs and also the business I will miss during that time”. Another leader mentioned that, “People come and go, nothing can be done… Better focusing on the product and the best will stay and help you grow.”

The challenge is, you cannot grow a sustainable business if you ignore turnover.

With 9 out of the 10 top global software companies operating here, the ICT sector is thriving in Ireland with more than 105,000 people employed in 2016 — up 40% from 2010 — including another 12,000 people working for indigenous companies, producing more than €2 billion turnover per annum (Irish Software Association, 2017). This situation has created a candidate-driven market. Turnover is high for companies having to fight to retain their staff longer

*** 5 Recommendations that can change the game ***

Leaders and their executive teams can make a differenceBuild an executive or a management team composed of people sharing the company mission, vision and their values and having the ability to work with each other. Then, they will be able to build something sustainable with their teams based on the same principles. Key models can be used like Myers-Briggspersonality tests or Belbin team roles to build the perfect mix.

Bring purpose to employee engagement to get performanceHelp your talents to understand their strength and build an employee success plan from the hiring to the reward stages. Companies must onboard every employee on a journey of mutual success. The V2MOM framework from Marc Benioff is suggested as a tool to map out Vision, Values, Methods, Obstacles and Measurement from a companywide to an individual contributor. Every decision should be run through this framework and every V2MOM accessible directly by any employee.

Employee development is an investment into the present and the future.Discuss further education options as a key benefit for employees. It is advised to use the 9-box of HR model from McKinsey to display, in a simple way, performance and potential of the employees. This makes it easier then to invest in employees with high potential and investigate what is needed to make others strong performers.

A strong culture is a culture of employee success and retention. Run anonymous employee surveys quarterly to evaluate employee pride in working for the company, willingness to recommend it to their contacts, frequency of their thoughts to leave, willingness to work in the company in 2 years’ time and, finally, what motivates them to deliver more than they would in a similar role elsewhere. Solutions from companies likeQualtricsare very easy to implement for quick and efficient results.

Ignoring reality is not a choice. Get back to the origins of the company and the values that made leaders proud to create or join the business they are currently leading. This is the leaders’ responsibility to permanently think about re-recruiting their own employees to keep them and not to consider them “bought” forever. They should also never forget to ask for help, if needed, from their peers, alumni, mentors, or business associations like the IOD.

*** Further thoughts ***

Bear in mind that while those recommendations can be applicable in any candidate driven market, the one experienced in Dublin right now dramatically influences the need for companies to care for, and grow, their talents, to remain attractive and competitive.

Driven by the willingness of talents to be more mobile and embrace change, accelerated by the increase of head-hunters professionally recruiting through every conceivable way, and affected by the lack of housing to attract new professionals in Dublin, the current setup seems unlikely to change.

While this situation is very positive for talents to embrace new opportunities, it can be also challenging over the long term for smaller companies to be able to sustain this pressure. It can even impact employees’ work-life balance with the obligation to get a higher salary in the hope to cover the ever increasing cost to afford a proper house.

While those recommendations are just the beginning, I am hopeful they will allow more businesses to sharpen their focus back on their talents, whatever the external context may be.

Trusting and empowering employees is the best way to develop a business in a healthy way.

I also wish that every leader and talent would have a better understanding of the situation and realise the chance we have, to be able to choose our next challenges whereas other European countries cannot offer to their young and older graduates the same opportunity.

The future is ours, and it’s within our power to shape it.

This thesis was submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Business Administration of Henley Business School (University of Reading, 2019).

A version of this blog first appeared on the Institute of Directors in Ireland website on the 3rd April 2019

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