Table Speech

"The global man "

March 31st, 2004

Ms. Sakie Fukushima Tachibana
President of Cohn Ferry International

Ms. Sakie Fukushima Tachibana, President of Cohn Ferry International spoke on the global man at the meeting of March 31: It is difficult to understand the world of executive searching, or head hunting as it is commonly called. Our task is to assist firms in their personnel strategy by obtaining human resources as an asset.

When we are called to help, we first have a discussion, going over the fine points of their firm’s vision, strategy and personnel policies in line with their strategy.

Perhaps the appropriate member could be already a part of their staff.
Thus, we confirm that the sought for person is external.

Where do we find the fitting the position specs? What is required are global change agents, but the supply is that of domestic, organizational or administrative personnel.

A change has taken place in the past 5 or 6 years. Whereas in the past foreign firms used our services, today Japanese firms listed on the stock market or forms needing restructuring, or private firms needing a successor are coming to us. The requirements are the same, and they are 1.A person who can perform globally; 2.A person with universal professional skills who is not organization man; A solution finder who can make changes.

When a company matures into administrative thinking from growth thinking the organization becomes bureaucratic, and changes are needed. When companies become slim and are subdivided, entrepreneurs are required, and the cycle is thus repeated.

What are the qualities needed for change? Let me explain by using what we call our ‘Position Specification’.

This calls not for the organization man, but for the entrepreneur. Communication requirements were Japanese and English, but today Chinese and Korean are needed. For crisis management, some preferred persons who had experience of failure. For flexibility and creative solution finding, a person who could engage in creative thinking was sought.

IT – such information technology is a requirement.

Almost all the persons which we introduce have some knowledge of working overseas.

For personal attributes, strategic thinking, logical thinking, clear thinking, human focused, and language ability are noted, but one clear condition is that of strategic thinking.

Recently, more firms require lawyers, but we have only 20,000 lawyers compared with a million in America, and there are only about a 1,000 corporate lawyers in Japan.

It is difficult, therefore, to obtain their services, but recently, the number of those obtaining LLM’s abroad are increasing, and although it is not easy to have their coming to work for a foreign company, their thinking too has changed in the past 2 years.

To obtain management for restructuring purposes, we need persons with creative ability. If such a person is not available in the same business line, the search is conducted in others. In Japan there are many able women, and persons returned from overseas who have been assistants to executives in large firms. Then we have business consultants who have provided services to large companies.

Then we have the team strategy. As it is almost impossible that one person has all the qualities listened above, a team is formed. A person with a strong head for figure can be made the CEO, while another who has a good understanding of the market can join forces.

We say that strategy is 20%, and work is 80%. If you have able leadership a company can change. We need persons who can make changes with strategic thinking, and in order to obtain same, we need a personnel strategy quite urgently.