Select Leaders Based on How They Think, Not What They Know


For any M&A transaction, the new line-up of leadership is critical to the success of the future of the company and its culture. As reported in the Global Leadership Forecast 2018 study conducted by the EY organization, with DDI and the Conference Board, many company executives doubt they have the bench strength to meet their future business goals.

For HR, the solution to finding the right leaders may lie in a change of criteria by focusing on mindset.

In an age of new technologies and constant change and disruption, it is more important to select leaders based on how they think more than what they know. The most effective leaders today think about the world differently than traditional leaders. They:

  • Embrace disruption as a welcome innovator
  • Become a super-connector who brings everyone together
  • Never lose their intellectual curiosity
  • Inject energy and inspiration
  • Practice empathy to understand others and lead with a broader sense of purpose

These five key differentiators define leaders who are most likely to adapt for future success. They are particularly needed if merging companies are to be transformed successfully.

The changing definition of strong leaders for M&A will uncover jewels, often millennials who have been absorbed in the era of digital acumen. Because new strategies often call for new leaders, the most valuable jewels might be found outside both organizations. Regardless of where HR executives look for new leaders, they should be ready to focus on how recruits think more than what they know. Only after finding candidates who bring that progressive way of thinking should companies consider more traditional qualifications, such as experience.

The Global Leadership Forecast 2018 study found that traditional leaders often have gaps in both their focus on digital capabilities and willingness to seek out opportunities across complex ecosystems. Given that situation, new leaders who think differently are most likely to be the cultural stewards who unify the transformed company and take it forward. These attributes will create a culture that establishes future leaders. The right mindset can enlist and encourage new skills and competencies, such as digital savvy, imagining how technology can improve an organization’s competitive position, adaptability to constant change, and hyper-collaboration and teaming.

M&A deals will live or die based on a selection of leaders that come together and stay together. Systems, processes and policies will follow.



The SHRM Blog does not accept solicitation for guest posts.

Add new comment

Please enter the text you see in the image below: