William D. Simon (Bill), global managing partner, media and entertainment, Korn/Ferry International

Preparation Is The Master Of Success

Executive search guru Bill Simon told Peter Guber recently that lack of preparation is the number one reason why executive candidates fail to win over prospective employers in job interviews. Simon is a senior client partner and managing director of the media, entertainment and convergence sector at Korn/Ferry International, the behemoth search firm that specializes in high-level global recruitment and talent management. Guber had engaged him on several occasions to headhunt top leadership candidates for his companies. That made Simon’s remark all the more alarming. If these folks don’t prepare to get themselves hired, how will they prepare to lead organizations, persuade customers, manage employees, and sell products?

Simon explained that arrogance and self-righteousness can mislead potential executive hires into thinking they don’t need to prepare. Instead of doing the advance work required to shine a light on their attitude and aptitude, some fall on their resumes. This usually is a fatal mistake, he said, because the essence of what audiences remember is wrapped not in the tellers’ resumes but in the way they tell their stories. “The story has to have a purpose, it has to be relevant and it has to have a conclusion.” He paused and repeated for emphasis, “Even in a business situation, there has to be a reason for telling the story.”



blog-telltowin-linkTo validate the power of telling purposeful stories, Guber includes in this book a remarkably diverse number of ‘voices’ – master tellers with whom he’s shared experiences. They include YouTube founder Chad Hurley, NBA champion Pat Riley, clothing designer Norma Kamali, “Mission to Mars” scientist Gentry Lee, Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank, former South African president Nelson Mandela, magician David Copperfield, film director Steven Spielberg, novelist Nora Roberts, rock legend Gene Simmons, and physician and author Deepak Chopra.
After listening to this extraordinary mix of voices, you’ll know how to craft, deliver – and own – a story that is truly compelling, one capable of turning others into viral advocates for your goal.