Lead5 Executive Empowerment Center

Welcome to the Lead5 Executive Empowerment Center

Hello, Josh Wimberley here, CEO and founder of Lead5.  I wrote this blog to help Lead5 members get the most value from Lead5.   I have broken this information into 7 Modules.    Please email anytime with your feedback on this information or if I can assist you in any way!   josh@lead5.com

Your partner in success,

Josh Wimberley

Module 1: Unveiling the Hidden C-Level Recruiting World

I previously led the largest executive search firm’s CFO practice and have successfully placed 100’s of C-level executives just like you at industry-leading companies.  As such, allow me to share some important C-level recruiting insights that you were probably unaware of:

– Executive level leadership opportunities are scarce, and the majority of these opportunities are unlisted or hidden. As such, it’s important that you tailor your outreach strategy so that you maximize your ability to be discovered.    At Lead5, we not only uncover many of these unlisted opportunities along with key contacts, we also provide intel that will help you develop an in-road into companies that interest you.

– Because most c-level opportunities are centralized in top 40 US markets, it maximizes your career potential if you are willing to relocate.

– 50-60% of all executive level hiring is done in-house without a third party retained executive search firm. The chance of you being considered for one of these openings is extremely low and that’s where Lead5 can help by connecting you to these opportunities.

– Regardless of who ‘owns’ the search, the hiring company wants the right candidate quickly. That candidate could be you.  Positions not recruited for in-house are managed by an executive search agency.   These searches last anywhere from 120-150 days.   With Lead5, you have access to a portion of these opportunities which you would not otherwise.

That’s the C-level recruiting landscape in a nutshell.    The best advice I can give to you is to be proactive, and not reactive, in managing your career.   By waiting on a recruiter to call you, you’re giving up your power and missing out on career-changing opportunities.   

Module 2: Personalize Lead5 and Maximize Your Results

My5 is the name of Lead5’s search filters that you will set to deliver to you personalized open opportunities and career intel on the Lead5 platform.   My5 consists of the 5 company attributes that most C-level executives consider as they pursue their next opportunity.

The My5 components are:

1. Function

2. Industry

3. Region

4. Market Cap

5. Ownership Structure

Once you’ve set your My5 filters, you will see focused opportunities and intel in your dashboard, and you can quickly apply these filters in the section called “Jobs & Intel.”

As your search criteria changes, remember to keep your My5 filters up to date so that Lead5 can work for you optimally.

My5 Search Filters are located at top of all Lead5 web pages:

 

My5 Search Filters: Simple check boxes give you complete control:

Tip: Expand the plus symbol (+) for more granular filters.

My5 Search Filters personalize your dashboard view:

Apply your My5 Search Filters with 1 click:

By selecting “Apply My5”, you quickly surface relevant intel when browsing.

Module 3:  ‘Potential’ and ‘Verified’ Opportunities on Lead5: What’s the Difference?

Reminder: Lead5 offers two types of opportunities – ‘potential opportunities’ and ‘verified opportunities.’  Here’s what you should know about these.

Potential Opportunity – This means that Lead5 has discovered that a company will likely be looking to fill an opening soon.   Not every potential opportunity evolves into an actual opening, but potential opportunities have significant value because candidates can enter a potential job search at the earliest possible moment, increasing their likelihood of being discovered.

– How to Pursue Potential Opportunities: We advise members to reach-out to a ‘recommended contact’ that we provide and make an introduction.   Remember: making a connection is always the first step to landing an executive role.  Even if a potential opportunity doesn’t pan out, making a positive impression expands your network and could open up new doors in the future.

Verified Opportunity – This means that Lead5 has uncovered intel that a company is actively seeking to fill this role.

– How to Pursue Verified Opportunities:  We advise members to reach out to the recommended contact and/or recruiter. In some cases, an application link is provided. At a minimum, you should strive to make a connection and broaden your executive network.

Action: Once you’ve identified an opportunity to pursue – whether potential or verified – click the “Pursue Opportunity” button on the opportunity details view.  This will trigger theLead5 Advisor’ which will make a recommendation on the best approach.

Here’s an example opportunity:

Most of our opportunities are unlisted, meaning there’s no online application. Once you click the “Pursue This Opportunity” button, it launches the Lead5 Advisor to organize your steps.

The Lead5 Advisor:

The “Lead5 Advisor” Provides Action Steps

When launched, the Lead5 Advisor gives you specific guidance, recommended contacts, email templates, and more — everything you need to pursue opportunities of any type.

Additionally, we provide suggested email outreach templates to help guide your messaging to the suggested contact(s).

Module 4: Use Your Lead5 Playbook to Maximize Your Productivity

To help you organize your activities and store important data, you will utilize your Lead5 Playbook.   There you can track and store:

– Opportunities you wish to pursue in the future

–  Opportunities you’ve already pursued

– Contacts you wish to reach out to

– Phone call notes

– Future scheduled activities

Here is a My Playbook example:

Your time is valuable.  By using your Lead5 Playbook, you can maximize your productivity on Lead5.com.

Module 5: Harness Lead5’s Intel to Elevate Your Career

C-level positions are scarce.   Lead5 offers actionable intel that will help you make important contacts and pursue recent executive openings.   This intel can be found in the ‘jobs & intel’ section on Lead5.com.

News: typically covers executive appointments which indicates a near term executive hiring (example: CEO will soon be appointed and will seek to build his/her team).  These executive appointments all signal potential changes in vendors and suppliers.   Action: This is a perfect moment for you to make a connection.

Private Equity Deals: represent acquisitions or assumption of a controlling interest in a portfolio company.  These deals indicate near-term C-level executive hiring flows, new growth capital, and potential changes in vendors and suppliers.  Most PE-backed companies replace the executive team in the first 6 months of the deal closing. Action: This is a perfect moment to make a connection to the PE deal partner while new leadership teams are being formed.

Verified Opportunity – This means that Lead5 has uncovered intel that a company is actively seeking to fill this role.   Action: You can pursue this role or make important connections with key company contacts.

Potential Opportunity – This means that Lead5 has discovered that a company will likely be looking to fill an opening soon.  Not every potential opportunity evolves into an actual opening, but potential opportunities have significant value because candidates can enter a potential job search at the earliest possible moment, increasing their odds of being discovered.   Action: You can pursue this role or make important connections with key company contacts.

Module 6:  Three Proven Ways to Elevate Your Executive Career

Josh Wimberley here again, CEO and founder of Lead5.   To round out this blog, here are a three things I’d like to highlight as you continue your career elevation  journey on Lead5.com:

1. As a reminder, we offer a free phone consultation to help you develop your career elevation strategy. Please reach out if we can assist: josh@lead5.com

2. As you know, C-level positions are challenging to land. I’ve found that being pro-active, diligent, and patient is an effective strategy to move your career forward.

3. Networking is key. As C-level positions are scarce, it’s important that you utilize Lead5 to make important inroads into companies that interest you.

Thanks again for your membership!

Your partner in success,

Josh | Lead5 Founder and CEO

How to Send a Strong Intro Email to a CEO

Connect to a CEO

As an executive candidate you need to be aware of the “numbers” of a typical retained executive search where the search firm over a 90 day time frame may interview/screen as many as 40+ qualified candidates. In contrast, when you connect with a CEO or other recommended hiring contact of a company when the news breaks of an opening, there are times when companies work their own network to see if they can interview quick hits for the position without going the full retained search route. In this case, if you are qualified for the position, you are one of 4 or 5 as opposed to 1 of 40 in the typical 150 day exec search.

The Lead5 view is to pursue all angles (direct and through exec recruiters) to maximize your flow of awareness of available opportunities and obtain a greater understanding of the dynamics at play behind the recruiting process.

In summary, at times a position warrants a quicker fill time with best athlete available vs. the “take our time” 150 day full due diligence process. Lead5 is built to create awareness, leads, and ultimately connections for both types of openings. Below are sample emails Lead5 recommends you send to CEOs and other recommended hiring contacts in various scenarios, along with commentary in BOLD italics.

Sample Note to for CEO Opportunity

Hi Carol,

Good afternoon. I recently became aware of the CEO opening at ComTech. I would like to confidentially submit my credentials to the search committee. I am an experienced executive officer most recently with (insert current company, a $x billion market cap publicly traded insert industry sector/brief description of your current/most recent company). I am actively seeking out my next executive career opportunity and we are open to relocation. Please find my attached resume and I would welcome the opportunity to confidentially discuss the position. (Also consider adding a line or two about your combination of experiences over the last 5 to 7 years leading large teams, driving P&L, working in a related biz model, etc. that might relate to the particular company)Thanks in advance for your time.

A note that is efficient/to-the-point they can read in less than 30 seconds and have a good summary understanding of your skill set is best – they can always click on and read your resume if they want more information.

Best Regards,

Jason Candidate

Sample Note to CEO for Potential CHRO Opportunity

Robert,

Good afternoon. I recently became aware of a potential CHRO opening at your company. I am an experienced CHRO most recently with Smith Corporation, a $5 billion market cap publicly traded industrial manufacturer (or best description of your most recent company). I am actively seeking out my next executive career opportunity and we are open to relocation. Please find my attached resume and I would welcome the opportunity to discuss the position if it remains available. Also consider adding a line or two about your combination of global manufacturing, leading large teams, process improvement, etc. that might relate to the particular company – i.e. “I have 15 plus years of experience leading the HR function for global manufacturers that would be highly relevant to Smith Corporation. Thanks in advance for your time.

A note that is efficient/to-the-point they can read in less than 30 seconds and have a good summary understanding of your skill set is best – they can always click on and read your resume if they want more information.

Best Regards,

Elizabeth Candidate

Sample Note to companies you are targeting with newly appointed CEO’s

Catherine,

Good afternoon. Congratulations on your appointment to NewCo Corporation as CEO. I wanted to make a brief introduction. I am an experienced Chief Human Resources Officer most recently with Smith Corporation, a $5 billion market cap publicly traded industrial manufacturer. I am actively seeking out my next executive career opportunity and we are open to relocation. Please find my attached resume and I would welcome the opportunity to confidentially discuss available leadership positions that may be open in your company. NewCo Industries is a company I have targeted for my career search given the similarities in business model and industry sector to my career experience. Thanks in advance for your time.

Best Regards,

Joseph Candidate

Sample Note to Private Equity Partners or CEO’s of PE backed companies that are the result of a recent/relevant PE deal

Robert,

Good afternoon. Congratulations on the recent deal of NewCo Corporation’s recapitalization with MountainTop Capital. I wanted to make a brief introduction. I am an experienced Chief Human Resources Officer most recently with Smith Corporation, a $5 billion market cap publicly traded industrial manufacturer. I am actively seeking out my next executive career opportunity and we are open to relocation. I am interested in pursuing HR leadership roles with private equity backed middle market companies in the industrial and consumer products sectors. Please find my attached resume and I would welcome the opportunity to confidentially discuss an HR leadership position if it becomes available with this new investment/growth phase for NewCo Corporation. Thanks in advance for your time.

Best Regards,

Elizabeth Candidate

6 Ways for Executives to Elevate Their Careers

Congratulations, you have made it to the C-Suite. You landed your dream job that acknowledges your past professional accomplishments and provides lucrative financial rewards. After celebrating your new milestone, the furthest thing from your mind is to plan the next phase of your career strategy. However, in a dynamic job market, it’s critical that you are continually planning the next move so that in 3 to 5 years you can continue to grow.

By being proactive, and not reactive, in your career strategy will put you and your family in a position of strength and stability, whereas being reactive will mean that you’re acting from a position of weakness which puts you and your family at risk.   Being proactive entails looking for opportunities to strengthen your skills, visibility, and relationships and that’s what this blog is about.

I recently caught up with Lead5 advisory board member Bob Collins who has 3 decades of executive leadership in human resources, including leading staffing at top international brands.  He shared with me 6 ways to ensure that you are always operating from a position of strength as you continually navigate your executive career.

1. Understand that the 6-month mark is important. As an executive, your first 6 months in your job will require pouring a 100% plus of your energy into your role and ensuring that your first year in the position is a success.   Past the 6-month mark, it’s time to widen your lens and invest at least 5% of your energy into your career. At each anniversary date, you should increase this time investment and broaden your focus. Initially, this could mean additional training or education.   It could also mean taking on speaking engagements and networking to exchange knowledge with other executives in your field.   Importantly, these activities not only will help you deliver results for your current firm, but they will also keep your skills relevant and sharp in the marketplace. It will also allow you to build and strengthen your network of colleagues and expand your visibility to those who could play a vital role in your organizational advancement.

2. Always have a long-term career strategy. You should be continually defining, refining, and working your long-term career strategy.   What is the vision of your ideal role?   Are you an industry-specific executive or is there a new industry you’d like to pursue?   This career plan will help guide the choices you make in your career development and prevent you from becoming complacent or stagnant. Just as successful leaders believe that every business plan must have a viable talent plan that describes how the plan is to be implemented, a thoughtful career strategy needs to have a business plan on how to achieve the stated objectives with the required skills to execute it. The time to determine your skill gaps is now before the next phase of career strategy unfolds.

3. Be marketable even if you’re not in the marketplace. This starts with taking on challenges that align with your career plan.   For example, if you’re a CFO with a Fortune 500 firm and you aspire to become a Fortune 100 CFO, a good place to start is networking with Fortune 100 CFOs and doing a gap analysis between your skills and theirs.   Obviously, it will take time to close any gaps and that’s why this career plan is a long-term – not short-term – strategy.    Being marketable also entails continually optimizing your CV, sharing expertise with those who need it, and sharing thought leadership either by speaking engagements or written publications.  Strive to become the person people in your field want to know because of the success you are creating for your company.  Also, cultivate your desire to learn and stay on the cutting edge of your field so that you are consistently advancing the profession in the most critical areas.

4. Develop a continual networking strategy. With your current career demands, it’s not feasible to network with every contact that you have.   But you can take a look at your most important contacts and segment them.   Who are the contacts you should be reaching out to once a month for lunch or simply exchanging emails?   Who are the contacts you should reach out to once a quarter?  What you don’t want to do is wait until you need them and then start reaching out to contacts you haven’t communicated with for years.    Lead5 is a service that provides executives with key executive contacts.   Lead5 also informs its members when important hires like CEOs are made.   That’s a good time for you to do some outreach, sending a short note to a newly appointed CEO, congratulating him/her and mentioning that one day you’d love to share how you can help.

5. Don’t be complacent. The average tenure for a C-suite executive is 3-5 years at the same company. While things could be going extremely well for you now, recognize that all companies have downturns, leadership shifts, and ownership changes.   While it’s your duty to pour your energy into making your firm a success, don’t neglect yourself in the process.   The most successful executive always carves out time to invest in themselves.   As I mentioned above, this benefits your current firm and it keeps you relevant in the marketplace.

6. Don’t neglect development opportunities within your current firm. Executives too often believe that to get ahead that they must switch firms.   While that is sometimes the case, remember that your current firm appointed you for a reason.   While you’re helping your current firm achieve its mission, make a point to find allies who champion your long-term career vision (assuming that this vision is aligned with the company vision, of course).  This will open up doors at your current firm that help you proactively achieve your career plan.

Key Takeaways:

As an executive, if you’re not continually proactive in your career approach, then you’re in a reactive state which puts you in a position of weakness.

How do you shift into this proactive state and position of strength?   As detailed above, look for opportunities that improve your skills, visibility, and relationships.  These three things will keep you highly marketable as you continue to evolve on your leadership path.

 Use Lead5 to uncover hidden executive opportunities and gain the intel required to land your next prominent role.   Lead5 has been the executives trusted partner for 5 years.   

Start your complimentary trial today. 

 

 

5 Skills a PE-Backed CFO Must Master

As the private equity model continues to build momentum, more executives from public companies are being approached to join PE-backed companies.   At Lead5, CFOs are increasingly telling us that they are considering making the jump into the PE-backed world, and they want to understand if they are a good fit before making the move.   In this blog, I’m going to share with you the 5 skills that PE-backed CFOs must master to be successful in this challenging and lucrative operating environment.   These insights are from my recent conversation with Dave Justus, a veteran PE-backed CFO, and also a Lead5 advisory board member.

1. Focus on building value in addition to the traditional blocking and tackling roles. Examples are experience in building teams, systems, and processes that allow businesses to effectively scale.  For PE-Backed CFOs, strong financial chops are table stakes.   The real key is possessing solid leadership that allows you to build value in a time and resource-constrained operating environment.

2. Bring a strategic mindset, especially to resource allocation discussions.  In the PE-backed model, you will be the driving force in delivering the ROI that your investors seek.  Finance executives are uniquely positioned to have the best data and insights about resource allocation decisions and recommendations.

3. Have an ownership mindset.  Founders have a unique perspective and passion that can be embraced.   It’s your job to tap into that passion and inspire your teams to ‘play up’ to that level.  Owners are entrepreneurial by nature, and you should be, as well.   This means rolling up your sleeves and getting important work done that may fall outside your functional area.

4. Be the type of team player that makes the rest of the team better.  Identify weaknesses and problem areas and focus your efforts on strengthening those spots.   Outline a clear vision to your team and a path on how to get there.   Know when your team needs a healthy push vs. when it’s time to take your foot off the gas.    Eliminate roadblocks and foster healthy, pro-active communication.

5. Work hard and have fun with a purpose.   Being a PE-backed CFO will challenge you in ways that traditional CFOs roles won’t.   It’s important to clarify your motivation before you even begin on this path.  Once you’ve clarified your personal focus, you’ll need to demonstrate through your work ethic that you are committed to success.   This will trickle down to everyone in your organization.   While the financial exits of these deals are lucrative to the point of being legendary, you are going to burn out if you don’t have a sincere higher purpose in mind.  There are going to be periods of high stress.   It’s during these times that you have to embrace the challenge and learn how to have fun!   The teams you lead will feed off your positive attitude, and together, you’ll be on solid footing on a path towards success.

Most PE-backed executive jobs are unlisted.  Use Lead5 to uncover hidden PE-backed executive opportunities and gain the intel required to land your next prominent role.   Lead5 has been the executives trusted partner for 5 years.  

Start your complimentary trial today.

 

The Private Equity Industry Is Booming: What Does This Mean for You?

Over the last decade, the private equity industry has sky-rocketed as cheap debt from low interest rates has provided fuel to the leverage model along with more investors realizing the remarkably favorable risk-reward ratio of a well-managed PE-backed backed deal.   As the private equity model continues to build momentum, more executives from public companies are being approached to join PE-backed companies.   Have you been approached by a PE-backed firm?   If so, I’m going to share some PE industry insights from Dave Justus, a veteran PE-backed CFO, and also a Lead5 advisory board member.  I’ll close with 4 key attributes that successful private equity executives must have to thrive under this ownership structure.

Why is Private Equity Booming?

Dave Justus is the former CFO of Avetta and he’s a PE-backed veteran, and Dave also serves on the Lead5 advisory board.   He recently shared these insights on private equity’s emergence.

Mr. Justus says, “Investment by private equity firms (PE) is booming and, in some ways, overtaking public and venture capital as the preferred investment model.  While PE funds are being raised at a record rate, the number of publicly listed companies in the US has dropped by 20% over the past 10 years and by over 50% over the past 20 years.  The attractiveness of being a public company has diminished somewhat in the past decade because of regulatory pressures and costs.”

Mr. Justus continued, “With venture capital (VC) deals, investors were mainly betting on the success of the CEO and management team’s ability to create a sustainable business.  The typical success rate for early stage was around 1 in a 100.  The odds in VC were long, but the returns were very high with a successful exit.  PE on the other hand invests in professionalizing and scaling proven businesses in established markets, without taking much, if any, business plan and market adoption risk.  PE firms typically expect a 3x return on their investment in a 3-to-5-year horizon.  In a nutshell, PE can be a heavy lift operating environment to professionalize and scale the business in an established market, but is much more of a ‘sure bet.’  As a result, there’s a flood of executives looking to get into this space.”

B2B firms have traditionally represented the largest private equity target, but PE-capital continues to pour into IT, B2C, Financial Services, and other industries.   In 2017, over 4000 PE-backed deals occurred, representing an investment value of over $500B.   With deal volumes staying high, more top executives from traditional public companies are being recruited to play key roles in company transformations.

Lead5 Analysis Shows Private Equity Salary Growth

This PE growth is generating higher salaries for qualified executives.   For example, Lead5 compensation analysis has shown an increase in the average base salary for CFO’s of PE backed lower middle market companies over the last 2 years.  The mid-point of base salary has traditionally been roughly $250,000.  With a highly competitive market for proven players with previous PE portfolio company CFO experience, the base salary range has jumped up to $300,000.

What makes a PE-backed executive successful?

 To be a successful executive at a PE-backed firm, you must recognize that the investment horizon for most PE-backed deals is 3-5 years and operate with an appropriate sense of urgency.   You must be comfortable leading in an environment that demands successful financial results on a compacted timeline.   Also, part of the PE-backed ‘playbook’ is cutting out unnecessary expenses so being resourceful with limited resources is paramount to your success.

Here’s a list of executive leadership traits that are critically important in a PE-backed operating model:

1. Bias for action. Within larger public firms, due to the sheer size and some of the ingrown bureaucracy that comprises the company culture, you probably attend (and maybe even lead) some meetings that are customary – where updates are exchanged, and decisions are postponed or never even made.  In the PE-backed company culture, meetings are principally about making important decisions, some of which will change the direction of the firm.   In short, it’s about being decisive and taking action.

2. Entrepreneurial. PE-Backed firms are notorious for ‘stripping out the fat’ and this includes support and administrative staff.   Are you comfortable rolling up your sleeves and doing whatever work that needs to be done?   Successful PE execs find this environment to be both challenging and rewarding.

3. Team Skills/Emotional intelligence. With limited resources, can you rally your team and inspire them to move the firm forward?   First, you have to be able to earn the trust of your subordinates.   Then you have to understand when to hit the pedal and when to give your team a break.   Can you keep the work environment upbeat and positive when the heat is on?

4. Confident Communicator. You’ll be expected to produce results quickly, and you’ll be asked to provide progress updates more frequently than at large public firms.   Do you have the confidence and communication skills to defend what you’re doing?    It’s important to recognize that leadership in a PE-backed firm requires effective communication with not only your subordinates and customers, but also the private equity firm that has an investment stake in your success.

Most PE-backed executive jobs are unlisted.  Use Lead5 to uncover hidden PE-backed executive opportunities and gain the intel required to land your next prominent role.   Lead5 has been the executives trusted partner for 5 years.  

Start your complimentary trial today.