Professional love…

Editorial – by Managing Director Alexander De Beir

Professional love at first sight

Would you believe it?

If we conceive it in its most unexpected, improbable form, I admit that I am skeptical.

That two totally opposite human beings are sentimentally attracted to each other by an inexplicable chemistry, I can conceive.

But that most unexpected, improbable form love at first sight in a professional environment happens less because a good professional relationship is based above all on a closeness of thought, a rational reflection and a certain shared realism.

Professionally, a relationship can therefore perfectly resemble a marriage of reason. Without jeopardizing in a later stage, the emotions, the pleasure, and the joy of succeeding together and surpassing each other.

But again, it is more unlikely to feel a professional attraction at first sight. Professional attraction requires two beings sharing the same interests and vision among each other in order to engage in a common entrepreneurial project.

Even sometimes very different in character at the base, the most famous duos of entrepreneurs with world-famous successes, often share a story or passion that brings them together. Bill Gates and Paul Allen were childhood friends who shared a love of computers. Sergey Brin and Larry Page, cofounders of Google, have similar technology backgrounds, shared a passion for data mining and similar visions for their company.

You can't please everyone.

When it comes to convincing a board of directors or the entire management of a company, the professional background, the experience, the objective skills become all the more important. Some will be convinced at first sight; others will take time to let go of their biased opinions.

My experience confirms that among the executive profiles who trust us to find them new missions, there are no bad candidates, but there can be bad matching.

Match making for professionals is a profession that has to be learned, that must be appropriated. It requires time, to gain all the more time later, when the urgency requires a quick and efficient selection.

So how can you avoid bad matching? One has to understand the candidate, his skills, what kind of industry he worked in and in what kind of environment he operated. Did he manage a large staff, did he have to report to different bosses? All crucial questions that give us crucial information on the profile of the candidate.

It takes patience and depth to be able to identify each character. You have to take references to and dare to ask some difficult questions. Questions which the interviewee might not always like.

In what does he or she really make the difference. It is not enough to claim to be a ‘People Manager’ or ‘Problem Solver’. To make sure that the person is the missing element that the client company wants we need to know what techniques these types are equipping themselves with, to label themselves as problem solvers. And we need to be able to quantify the outcome of the problem solved.

Don't be afraid!

It is normal that companies want to keep the risk of a mismatch as low as possible. That is one of the reasons ADM is so demanding of its profiles and projects. To avoid an Icarus’ story, ADM plays gatekeeper and estimates how high the IM has to fly. ADM provides the necessary guidance and determines how close the IM can fly near the sun without burning his or her wings.

Should a potential IM because of these high standards and at the slightest doubt, avoid the great leap towards independence? Of course not. The freedom torn away can give wings and make you stronger and more talented than you initially thought. At a time when thousands of employees are facing burnout, prisoners of a situation that seems inextricable to them, independent Interim Managers have obtained, by their will, the luxury of being able to give themselves the necessary perspective, to say "no" if necessary. Keep their dignity, regain strength in order to bounce back during a new mission.

Today, our job as a match maker is more exciting than ever. It allows us to discern unknown talents in the face of specific needs, sometimes even beyond what companies themselves expect. When symbiosis is finally realized beyond all hope, the satisfaction is all the stronger. And now, often, an Interim Manager who has subdued an entire company, flies away for a new mission, leaving behind only positive memories of an untainted relationship, limited in time, but whose positive effects will last. That is ADM’s main objective. To enable projects and profiles within this process.


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