That said, we’d like to cite below at least 15 pointers -- on lessons learned, breakthroughs, and initiatives taken -- that have helped us through the years.
Appreciating individual success is cultural in KSearch. The announcement of any one consultant or team successfully converting an engagement, regardless of size, quickly sparks a flurry of congratulatory notes from everyone else in the firm. The psychic victory it evokes, particularly to the individual contributor, is enormous and profound.
The functional approach we took at the outset was deliberate, intending to cut across industries. This approach allowed us to gain strong competencies in the core functions of corporations such as general management, finance, treasury and accounting, human resource management, sales and marketing, information technology, and supply chain, among others, thus making us flexible in taking on multi-industry search assignments. This approach has clearly provided the springboard for us to be adept and nimble at serving the more dynamic among the Philippine industries.
Aside from the “technical” aspects of our competency requirements, our people are trained to be market savvy and to know a good deal about a lot of things, i.e., enough to be able to converse about the economy, business trends, interesting places, cuisine, the arts and other cultures. All these, along with company-sponsored foreign travels, form part of our people’s professional development strategy -- clearly a proven key success factor.
5 We cannot be boxed in
The way we work, we cannot be boxed in just the recruitment process. We’re also the market analyst, trouble-shooter, guidance counsellor and psychiatrist, industry expert, event organizer, deal-maker, property broker, resource speaker, project manager, gracious host, and yes, the all-around go-to-guy. That’s what makes what we do exciting; but that’s also what keeps them (our clients) coming back.
6 Think big but make sure to work the details
A company’s size does not necessarily imply the amount of learning, the level of sophistication, and the breadth and depth of exposure an employee gains. All it takes is to have a leader who “thinks big”. We are a fairly small company but we have the heart, mindset, vision, passion and track record many times bigger than our size.
7 Superstars can come from anywhere
We have been amazed in the course of our candidate searches by the kind of leaders that have emerged from the most unlikely places. While the combination of intelligence and attitude are considered consistent success factors, we cannot underestimate the luck of discovering a latent talent. A potential candidate could happen to be in the right place at the right time. That one call that he or she took from a junior head-hunter could change the person’s life for the better.
8 Relationship is Key
One of our biggest assets is our special knack for building relationships. It normally comes to us naturally or sometimes we consciously work hard at it. We have realized that the relationships we nurtured when we were starting would inevitably help propel us toward our continued success even some years much later on. It’s not unusual for us to have a loyalist group of clients and candidates who would want to work only with us, regardless of the kind of requirement.
9 Performance and results galvanize relationships
It cannot be all about relationships, however. This we are only too conscious about when working with our clients. The “proof of the pudding”, so to speak, has got to be tested in the quality of our work processes and the timely results that we provide. Without close collaboration -- one that ignores the time of day and night, especially when dealing with offshore clients -- and providing the timely results required, even good relationships could fade away the following day.
10 Know the CEO but keep the HR Head closer
At the end of the day, it’s still the HR Head who would assess the quality of our response to their company’s needs. With that in mind, we work in close collaboration with the HR group in a way that their role of being business partners to management is firmly supported. That said, we endeavour each time to get a direct briefing by the client CEO so as to gain deeper insights on the client’s core values and strategic intents, among others.
11 Inspiring our people to high performance
We attach very high importance and priority to developing new leaders within the firm. We try to tap into their instincts to rise to the challenge by taking them out of their comfort zones, concerned with finding the motivation from within themselves. Then management takes every initiative to support the continued leadership development through expanding the potential leader’s areas of responsibilities.
12 Staying abreast with economic and industry developments
We make sure that we get periodic briefing updates on economic reviews and forecasts from a retained economist. We also network actively through participations in the activities of professional and industry associations, as well as relevant chambers of commerce. We need to do all these to be sensitive to market developments and hopefully be at the top of our game as much as possible.
13 Working the social media to the hilt
There is an oxymoron in the way we behave as an organization. We bank on the credibility of “gray hairs” with long years of consulting and industry experience, yet we had been also quick to seize the benefits obtaining from working the social media. It has been an integral tool for our internal and external communication, client and candidate engagements, knowledge sharing, and branding.
14 Giving back is edifying for all
Being small is not an excuse not to have a sense for corporate social responsibility. Much like the giants among our clients, we have our own modest CSR programs in partnership with the prestigious NGO, the Synergeia Foundation, that are focused on helping upgrade the learning capabilities of underprivileged children. Our people are invariably inspired and proud to belong to an organization that allows them to share in such an advocacy.
15 Have fun, will succeed
The birthdays, anniversaries with the firm, Christmas, outings, travels and other ad hoc events are by now a much-heralded and long-lasting source of excitement and attachment of being with KSearch. Infused into the programs in most of these events are group competitions where our people would go to all lengths to be creative and resourceful with each one thoroughly consumed to win the big prize. It’s delightful to witness how the normally timid among them would surprisingly unleash the “tigers” inside them when competing – all in the spirit of having fun.
Fascinating 15 years
It has been a fascinating15-year journey, to be sure. We would be hard-pressed to recapture all the trials we have faced starting up small and trace the long trails of tough challenges we hurdled in our path as we steadily advanced to make our mark in the business community. We did achieve a position of competitive strength soon enough and not long after even became a member firm of a global executive search group that has presence in over 40 countries.
But for all our many successes thus far, we would be the first to admit that KSearch is a work-in-progress, at best. Much remain to be learned and improve upon and certainly much yet to accomplish.
Happily, we look forward to the next 15 years with even more enthusiasm and much confidence.
The KSearch Senior Management Team
Manuel R. Guillermo, President
Karmeli Kintanar, Vice President
Ruby Barcelona-Benitez, Director