In the midst of the political conventions the past couple of weeks, a fun article appeared in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune, by Steven L. Katz. Katz is a former fed and management author. In it, he looked at how head hunting firms go about helping major corporations hire their chief executives.
His “experiment:” What if we used the same approach in selecting the next President of the United States??
Katz says executive search firms help corporations write a job description, create selection criteria, solicit applications, review resumes, and then conduct interviews. He says the presidential process reverses this logic:
“Voters meet and “interview” the candidates first. Then they just keep doing that for months, in all the states and U.S. territories. Candidates tell the voters what criteria we should use to evaluate them. And as for qualifications, we let the candidates self-certify as well: “I’m the best-qualified candidate running for president.”
So what if we used the 2008 election for an experiment? Instead of voting, let’s say we hired an executive search firm to find the next president of the United States.
How might the headhunters work? Which qualities and qualifications, traits and experience would they deem crucial to this position as the most powerful of all CEOs?”
One executive search firm provided Katz with a checklist of competencies and personal qualities they help their clients look for, such as “teamwork and whether the candidates can lead, create, and play well on the best teams.” Other qualities include: global experience, drives positive change, thinks independently and challenges conventional wisdom, hunger to make things happen, ability to maintain focus, curiosity, candor, sense of humor, and commitment to family.
This list of qualities harkens back to the primaries when Senators Obama and Clinton debated what it takes to be president: being a visionary or a CEO.