Lead5 Executive Empowerment Center

Welcome to the Lead5 Executive Empowerment Center

Hello, Josh Wimberley here, CEO and founder of Lead5 – The Executive Career Platform.  I wrote this blog to help you elevate your executive career by highlighting the 5 dimensions that successful executives must master.  It’s also intended to be a reference guide for Lead5 members to help them get the most value from the platform.   I have broken this information into 6 modules.    Please email me anytime with your feedback 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 Career World

Before forming Lead5, I led the largest executive search firm’s CFO practice. In over two decades, I have helped 100’s of C-level executives just like you advance their careers and achieve their goals.  As such, allow me to share some important C-level recruiting insights that you were probably unaware of:

– Most of what you think about managing your executive career is wrong because most of the key information is hidden.   This hidden information includes: job opportunities, insider intel, and meaningful ways to network.  I formed Lead5 to unlock those doors and I will be covering these elements in more detail in this blog.

– The proactive executive always has the edge on new opportunities.  As an executive, you have been trained to wait on a recruiter’s call that may never come.  You’re also probably relying too heavily on your personal network.  These approaches provide you with only a fraction of the total opportunities available to you. Through a combination of AI, dedicated research teams, and crowd-sourcing, Lead5 provides you with instant access to hidden executive jobs, expanding your universe of opportunities.

– Your openness to relocation is a critically important variable for your success. Most c-levels will move multiple times over the course of their careers, and an unwillingness to relocate will ultimately hold you back in your career. Lead5 helps you find opportunities worth the move, wherever you are.

– A ‘full-cycle career plan’ is your means to continue your success in today’s challenging economic climate, and Lead5 is built around the 5 dimensions that comprise this career strategy.  Executives are often so maximized in their current role that they think about their career through only 2 dimensions: managing their current role and then scrambling to find their next one, and often, when it’s too late.   You must understand that it typically takes 4-6 months for executives to find their next opportunity, and this is during strong economies.   The Lead5 Executive Community keeps you connected throughout your career life cycle with thoughtful insights and discussion, expanded opportunities and key contacts.

Lead5 Is Built Around the Following 5 Dimensions That Successful Executives Must Master:

1.  Proactive Opportunity Outreach

2. Continuous Networking

3. Honing Your Skill Set

4. Connecting with Peers

5. Establishing Yourself as a Thought Leader

Because this 5-dimension full-cycle career plan is so important, we offer a complimentary phone consultation to help you develop this approach.  To set up this up, please contact me: josh@lead5.com

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?

To maximize your total universe of opportunities for your outreach, 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

A full cycle career approach includes proactive outreach and continuous networking.  To perform these tasks effectively, we built the Lead5 Playbook to help you organize your activities and store important data.

Your Lead5 Playbook helps you track, plan, and organize:

– 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

Utilizing insider intel is key to your executive success.   Lead5 offers actionable intel that will help you in every stage of your career life cycle.   This intel can be found in the ‘jobs & intel’ and in the ‘community’ sections on Lead5.com.

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.

Executive Moves: 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.

The Lead5 Executive Community: here you can exchange intel with an exclusive membership base comprised of your executive peers.   These intel focal points are: opportunities, career insights, and career best practices.

Action: This is a forum where you can establish yourself as a thought leader, hone your skills, and connect with peers in a meaningful way.

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.

Module 6:  Connect With The Lead5 Executive Community

Connecting with peers and establishing yourself as a thought leader are important fundamentals to achieving full cycle executive career success.   In an economic environment that is increasingly isolated, we have received feedback from members who have expressed a desire to connect and contribute.  In response, we recently launched The Lead5 Executive Community to help you exchange information with our exclusive network of top executives and executive career experts.

This information includes:

– Member-Contributed Opportunities

– Career-empowering insights

– C-level best practices

It only takes one opportunity, insight, or connection to elevate your career or the career of one of your peers.   As the Lead5 Executive Community continues to grow, our members will reap the benefits.

Here are some specific ways that you can benefit and contribute:

Ask a confidential career question on our message board and receive insights from peers and the Lead5 leadership team who has decades of experience in executive recruiting and executive career management

Submit an opportunity that may not be the right fit for you

Provide impactful insights that helps your peers and establishes yourself as a thought leader

Participation is completely voluntary and you have the option to provide information under your name or anonymously.

I hope this blog has been useful to you.  Please email me anytime with your feedback or questions.   josh@lead5.com

Your partner in success,

Josh Wimberley

Lead5 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

Lead5 FAQ and Getting Started Guide

Welcome to Lead5!  I’m Vince Martin, Chief Product Officer at Lead5.  You’ve taken the first step in landing your next prominent executive position.   To help you receive the most value from our service, please review the following FAQ.  If you have additional questions, please contact us at: info@lead5.com

What is the mission of Lead5?

To equip executives for the modern executive job search.  80% of executive positions are never posted.   Lead5 empowers our members by uncovering these hidden executive roles and providing our members with the insider intel required to land these prominent positions.

Who does Lead5 serve?

Lead5 serves an exclusive community of members ranging in level from Directors/VP’s to CEO’s.  Our members have compensation starting at $200K.   We personally vet every membership to ensure that our service is the right fit for the seasoned executives that we serve.

How is Lead5 different from other services?

1. Lead5 grants you immediate access to the hidden executive job world. We understand that executives are busy, and so we vet members on the backend to ensure expediency.

2. Timing is critical to landing executive roles. With our proprietary AI, we deliver hidden positions 45 days faster than average, giving you a competitive advantage.

3. Lead5 was founded by a former Senior Partner and Practice Leader of a leading executive search firm. We know this landscape better than anyone, and our service is built on this expertise.

How do I get started?

Go to lead5.com and click ‘subscribe.’  We will ask you some basic employment and contact information to ensure that we offer the most tailored experience possible.   We offer several subscription plans.   We are confident that you will see value in our service and offer a complimentary trial.

Do I need to upload my resume/CV?

No.   Lead5 is an active (vs. passive) opportunity search service.   We provide you with the contact information for the actual hiring official(s), allowing  you to submit your resume/CV directly to them.   Our system bypasses middlemen and ensures that your search is effective and confidential.

How do I get the most value from Lead5?

After subscribing, we recommend that you set up a personalized dashboard that takes less than a minute to create.    We will ask you for 5 data points that will help us deliver to you the most relevant positions and competitive intel.

 Is my information confidential?

 Yes.  We never share any details of our member community with anyone.

 What is the meaning of the name Lead5?

Lead5 represents the 5 filters through which executive leaders manage their careers.  The 5 filters include industry, function, and region, along with the additional filters of market cap and ownership structure unique to the executive job search.  Together these 5 filters form the lens through which executives view their career trajectory.  Make sure and set your My5 filters to ensure your Lead5 membership is targeted with intel and data specific to your background and experience.

What is the difference between a ‘potential opportunity’ and a ‘verified opportunity’?

Lead5 provides our executive members with unlisted potential opportunities and unlisted verified opportunities.

The average executive search takes 150 days.  Lead5 has proprietary algorithms that identify potential opportunities often before the formal search process kicks-off.  Therefore, a potential opportunity represents the earliest possible window when a candidate can insert themselves into the search process.   If the company decides to recruit for this type of opening, our candidates are there first.

Lead5 also identifies verified opportunities that are being actively sourced by the company.  We provide key company, investor, or recruiter contacts for direct access for these opportunities.  In total, Lead5 creates awareness of executive openings that for decades have been hidden and only offered to executives on a need-to-know basis.

What are user-generated comments on Opportunity Posts?

Lead5 members have the ability to post confidential comments to opportunities such as recruiters assigned to particular search projects, whether or not a company is considering internal candidates, or other general intel related to the opportunity.  Lead5 works best as an active community engaged and sharing leads and data.  If you know of updated intel on a particular opportunity please post a comment, add an opportunity, or email the Lead5 team directly at info@lead5.com.

What is the Recruiters section on Lead5?

The Lead5 Recruiters section is an aggregate list of the top 50 retained executive search firms in the United States along with highly credible boutique search firms with specific expertise by industry and function.  Lead5 regularly audits these recruiters for updates and additions/deletions.  Each recruiter is coded by their specific area of focus across industry, function, and region. This gives Lead5 members the ability to discover which recruiters they should be in contact with for their particular job search.

Can I invite others to become members of Lead5?

Yes, you have 10 invites per member of Lead5.  We ask that you keep invites specific to C-level executives or those with the potential to aspire to be C-level executives.  If you run out of invites and would like more please email the team at info@lead5.com and we will evaluate this on case-by-case basis.

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.