“In terms of quality standards, in our business it’s all about trust.”

“In terms of quality standards, in our business it’s all about trust. That’s what really matters.”

This quote by Russell Reynolds, Jr., Chairman of RSR Partners, was featured prominently in AESC’s recent article “A Proud History: The Executive Search Profession and AESC,” which was published in celebration of the AESC’s 60th Anniversary.

The article describes how the AESC was founded: “The Association’s founding firms were among the most respected names in the business and were quickly joined by young firms that have grown to be industry leaders today. AESC’s President and CEO Karen Greenbaum explains, ‘The leaders on AERC’s early boards were pillars of the profession: Spence Stuart, Gardner Heidrick and Russ Reynolds were all on the Board’.”

The article goes on to explain that today, “clients are looking to search firms for counsel on a broader basis, including assessing leadership teams, advising boards on their effectiveness, succession planning and culture shaping. The profession, just as the industries it serves, now requires much more agility. In a fast-paced, ever-shifting business climate accelerated by technology, we have to be at the forefront to best serve our clients with expert advice and insights.”

However, much about the search business remains the same: “Executive search evolved from the recurring need of management consulting firms like McKinsey & Company and Booz, Allen & Hamilton to recruit the right executives who could implement a recommended strategy and solve a client’s problem. Indeed, back in 1914 Edwin G. Booz said, ‘Often the best solution to a management problem is the right person’.”

Another often-cited quote from Booz, Allen & Hamilton alumnus Sid Boyden explains: “Most resources are available to all companies. The great variable is the quality of leadership—it determines why some companies fail and others succeed.”

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