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The Holy Grail – aka the Barbell Candidate

Lionseye insights from AC Lion


If there’s one unifying desire shared by our clients, both recently funded start-up and mature publicly traded company alike, it’s the need to attract what I call the Barbell Candidate.  There are many variables that need to align to achieve the targeted magic fit between company and candidate including well matched functional and cultural benchmarks.  Once these fundamental needs are met, the candidate in greatest demand, who ultimately leads to the best long term corporate and cultural results, is one who successfully operates at a macro strategic level AND leads by example through hands-on tactical execution.  Without both sides of this equation fully formed, the wheel starts off out of true which can lead to a shimmy at best and a catastrophic failure at worst.  (More cycling analogies to come.)
At the VP through C-suite, executives need to act like the investors they are.  The best candidates tend to ask due diligence questions that closely resemble those asked by institutional investors.  What are the company’s goals (not just the what, but the why), what are the market factors shaping the environment in which the company operates and what is/should be the company’s unfair competitive advantage?   Now the candidate needs to bridge to the role of operator by addressing what’s the best way to boil these grand plans down into achievable milestones that will in their sum deliver a reality in line with these well thought out goals?  Finally,  the candidate, in partnership with her colleagues, superiors and subordinates needs to take direct ownership through action.  This tactical action will take many forms depending on a huge variety of factors, but this DOING is critical.  After the route has been established, the legs and lungs need to pay the check!  The best leaders are true team members.  When it’s all in balance, they make complex, daunting, hard work seem simple and fluid.  We are at our best when successfully counseling, evaluating and ultimately making the right connections between forward thinking companies and the Barbell Candidates that make them great.

Written by: Giles Van Praagh – Follow him on Linkedin
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