I have recently spent one and a half days at the GC Leadership Forum 2015 attended by General Counsel’s from some of the largest companies based across the UK and Europe. There were 13 different seminars/ topics, ranging from “Aligning your legal department function with other business functions” to “Moving from GC to CEO, NED or Chairman”.
The level of debate and conversation was excellent however the topic that saw the most contribution was: “Becoming an effective leader of top talent: Recruiting and developing employees to meet business goals”.
Peter Drucker’s quote “culture eats strategy for breakfast” was mentioned quite a few times with the ensuing discussion being that the General Counsel needs to “be on the same bus as the business” and once that is the case the rest of the legal team needs to be recruited in line with the vision and values of the business.
It was agreed that getting this right or wrong had a major consequence on the success or not of the legal team and the business as a whole.
The GC’s in the room discussed the varying complications that can come up when trying to bring in the right people at the right level and with the right ‘personality’ to do well in their organisation. There was unanimous agreement around the fact that ‘legal skills’ are taken as a given and therefore understanding a person’s personality, motivations and outlook are key to recruiting the right person which in turn helps the company build upon its values.
I would suggest that this is exactly the role of a recruiter: to find clients the best ‘fit’ candidate. Of course we focus on individuals that have the appropriate skills to do the job, but skills can be learnt and developed over time. What can be much harder to change is someone’s personality.