Bohan and Bradstreet

Staffing Blog

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Ineffective Leadership

Tuesday, August 15, 2017  by Bailey


            About 1/3 of our searches each year consist of confidential replacements for ineffective leaders. This poor leadership, at the supervisor to Board of Directors level, is a reality that every business must face at some point. Not everyone is prepared for the responsibilities that leadership entails, and this can help create a toxic culture, stymy employee and process development, and encourage monetary losses to the company. Thus, being able to identify and address the signs of bad leadership is essential to running a successful business. In our experience, all problematic leaders struggle in one or more of the following categories:

  • Communication
    • Transparency as a business partner or team leader
    • Open-mindedness and acceptance of the ideas of others
    • Ability to convey strategy and goals
  • Character
    • Willingness to distribute credit in successes and accept blame in failures
    • Appreciation for work/life balance and the value of taking breaks
    • Willingness to accept change or evolution
  • Competency
    • Time and resource management
    • Ability to develop talent
    • Consistency of decision making


How does one solve the problem of ineffective leadership once it is identified?


Depending on the person and situation, the solution is either "tough love" or a confidential upgrade. Some leaders will find it easier to change their behavior than others:  re-establishing goals, providing insightful feedback and coaching, and changing level of responsibility can all work if they are willing and able to cooperate. In today’s world, however, it is much harder to accomplish this due to the evolution of business processes, global competition, changes in technology, and alternative employment opportunities. Accountability to both internal and external stakeholders in the modern business landscape means that ineffective leaders must adapt more quickly than was required of them only a decade ago.


As a result, confidential replacement through a consultant like Bohan and Bradstreet has become an increasingly viable option.


We assess each potential replacement in depth in order to ensure that our clients know everything they need to make the right decision. As one recent client explained, B&B “provided exceptional service to us in our search for a CFO…we had three very qualified candidates, and we would have been well served by any one of them. Their diligent work in seeking out the requirements we needed so as to pace qualified candidates was impressive…I would highly recommend Bohan & Bradstreet.”

In addition to thoroughly evaluating how each potential replacement can improve on the current leadership, B&B can successfully complete a confidential replacement in less time than it would take for the “tough love” approach.


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Celebrating 30 Years in Business

Wednesday, May 31, 2017  by julie

 Over thirty years of partnering with clients on the recruitment of talent, Bohan &

Bradstreet has assisted businesses on strategic hiring, successfully guided
clients through confidential replacements and upgrades, and advised on
organizational realignments and structuring. We are blessed with long term
relationships and a stellar team who has completed thousands of searches
from senior staff to Clevel.

And the #1 question we get asked over the 30 years is:

Who is Bohan?

When a business is called Bohan & Bradstreet, people want to know who the
founders are. Ed Bradstreet (EBB) was a former partner of a national search
firm; however, Wahoo Bohan was a walkin, preferred to be called by his last
name, became an excellent recruiter and was the CCO. The intriguing part of
the story is how we met.

Prior to 1987, EBB was establishing a new search firm and looking for a new
employee. Our office was street level and we had posted a sign that read,
“Recruiter Wanted. Must like people. Must be able to type. Must be good with
the computer. Must be bilingual. We are an equal opportunity employer. Apply

It was to our surprise that Bohan, a congenial yellow lab, waddled into the
office and with an undaunted flair, jumped into the chair, wagged his tail and
gave me the “ I love you” grin with his pink tongue hanging out between his
lips. EBB looked at this lovable dog and said, “I can’t hire you. You have to be
able to type.” Bohan jumped down, went to the typewriter and proceeded to
type a flawless business letter.

EBB was shocked and responded. “But you have to be good with the
computer.” Bohan then proceeded to the computer and created a search
program that worked perfectly the first time. EBB was in awe because to this
day he is not totally computer literate. EBB looked at Bohan and said “Wow,
you are a very intelligent dog, however, I really can’t give you this job.”

Following a cold nose sniff test of applicants, Bohan went over to the sign in
the window and put his paw on the “equal opportunity employer” statement.

“Fine”, EBB said, “but it also says that you must be bilingual.” 

And with that, Bohan looked up at EBB, flashed those big brown eyes and
calmly said, “Meow.” The rest is history.

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Career Tips

Friday, May 26, 2017  by Ed Bradstreet

Business challenges the best, brightest, and most company-faithful employee. Career planning is a myth in comparison to a couple of decades ago due to all the changes in the organization (i.e., outsourcing, acquisitions), leadership, and competition. There will be more employees changing jobs in this current decade than the last two decades combined. Collegiate graduates are expected to have 12-15 employers during an average 35-year career due to acquisitions, changes in leadership, re-engineering, outsourcing, funding, competition, relocation and a myriad of other factors. The chance of being employed by your current employer at the end of this decade is


Think of this as your “TO-DO” list for refortifying and adding sustained value to your career. Create a list of goals that are critical to enhancing your value for current employer, team, customer, role and/or self. Acquire new competencies, update your skill set, invest in education, and establish new relationships and so on. The key is adding value. Establish a timetable for each goal and refresh your goals every 4-6 months.


Think of yourself as a “career athlete” that needs to be conditioned and fined tuned. Key to career advancement is strong organizational skills. Look at each goal as a project and break it down into components or manageable mini-projects. With each successful completion of a project, confidence will build and you will complete your goals.


Seek out your superior(s) and offer to assume additional responsibilities. This will establish two benefits: first it will demonstrate your willingness to help out and redistribute the workload and second, it provides additional expertise that could be valuable in the future. Often the best opportunity to contribute is in support of corporate or department goals that mean others will recognize your achievements. Another possibility is to accept responsibility for mentoring another employee.


Out of sight, out of mind. Everyone needs a network. The key is to be exposed to the people who have influence with the level of authority that you would potentially report to. These are people who are often external to a company and are viewed as resources. Networking isn’t just about getting a new job. Consider it as a source for business intelligence and an opportunity to be visible and learn. The quickest way is to join a professional association, participate in a Chamber of Commerce function, or attend a seminar. Another key to career success is being visible.


Image is important. Too often appearances detract from the values, knowledge and abilities that you want to exhibit. Identify appropriate business attire that is more indicative of the level you seek. Observe the attire of those more successful than yourself.


Life is demanding and time passes quickly. Before you know it, another year goes by. People relocate, get married, and change employers, email addresses and telephone numbers. Companies relocate, merge, disappear, outsource, and reorganize. Records get lost. References vanish quickly. Guard your references and stay in contact with them 3-4 times a year. Everyone needs quality references and you need them more than they need you.


Change is an opportunity to contribute. Be open to change. Look for new challenges and assignments where you can develop new skills, attain new knowledge, and showcase your abilities. Stay positive and upbeat even under pressure. Be recognized as a team player and/or leader that provides quality results.


Even if you are happily employed, update your resume semi-annually. Resumes are used externally when applying for leadership roles in civic organizations, application in many professional associations, and for new employment. Internally, executive management to select talent for projects or promotions can view your resume. Make sure you list new skills and educations as well as recent contributions and accomplishments.


Career development is an annual mission. If you start to search for new employment, be premeditated and selective. The three most important criteria of any search are: company, culture and opportunity. Company goes beyond products & services, size, locations and history. Understand how the business functions and is organized. What changes have impacted a business over last three years (i.e. leadership, competition, market growth/erosion)? Determine what distinguishes the company from others. Analyze where the company is in their life cycle.

Culture is not always obvious. Attempt to understand what motivates the company. Discover how leadership manages and communicates. Whether a matrix or straight line structure, how will your performance be measured? Does the business reinvest into human capital through education and resources. Understand why and if employees are loyal. Observe whether other employees are energized and encouraged. Ask what are the three most important reasons why employees stay with the company. Validate opportunities to contribute beyond the job description. To be career driven, one must understand short term (1-6 month) and annual objectives of the department, division and company. Evaluate the opportunity for personal growth and reward.


Read the fine print when filling out employment or disclosure forms. Review closely disclaimers or legal releases on security, background or reference checking. There are many examples of confidential searches being totally exposed due to signing off and giving approval to check references of current employer.

Remember, only in a dictionary does “success” come before “work.” If you want your career to mature, then you have to initiate processes and efforts that will support career growth. Be smart, plan wisely, and make it happen. Employ career wisdom. Know what you want to do, learn how to do it, and then have the virtue to accomplish what you want to do. 

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4th Quarter Reality

Wednesday, September 21, 2016  by julie

The 4th quarter is an interesting time for both businesses and employees. This is the quarter for next year planning as well as promotions, rightsizing and reality checks. Will the company meet their revenue targets, metrics, and EBITDA? If not, what changes will be made to correct key drivers? If yes, what new initiatives will be discussed and enacted on as head into 2017? Whether you are a hiring authority or career driven contributor, here are a few of the variables that occur in and around the 4th quarter:

Confidential Replacements: Annually about 30% of the searches that B&B manages are confidential replacements and the largest number occur in the 4th quarter. Leadership recognizes there are internal roadblocks and expectations are not being met. Most often these are tenured employees who are not proactive managers, lack business partnering skills, and/or unable to embrace change and evolution. 

Acquisitions: More acquisitions are completed in the 4th quarter than any other quarter. Depending on whether one is on the “acquiring” vs. “acquired” side, there will be changes in reporting structures, leadership, operations, and culture.

Performance Evaluations: Both the company and the employee will have their performance evaluated. This is the season to encourage best practices, correct inconsistencies, and identify opportunities to achieve business strategies.

Organizational Alignment: Having the right people in the right roles at the right time is difficult to accomplish. Most companies are out of balance. Different functions (e.g. engineering, marketing, finance. supply chain, IT, product development, human resources, and sales) have alternating values even in direct competitors; some are of higher value to the business than others. “A” roles lead and impact strategy; “B” roles lead and impact tactical drivers; and “C” roles are doers. As companies evaluate the correct alignment, do they have “A” and “B” talent in the right roles?

Change Management: The business world is constantly evolving and the 4th quarter is the “Change Quarter.” This is the time that functions can get outsources or outsourced functions can be internalized; reorganizations and rightsizings are announced; movement of internal operations to other geographical locations; promotions and award grants; new leadership from 1st level managers to Board level; and changes in functionality, hours, reporting structure,  benefits, and compensation. 

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Effective Hiring

Thursday, August 18, 2016  by julie


Every business has a uniqueness due to culture, organization structure, tenets, practices, and goals. Competition is everywhere, opportunities for growth abound, challenges are multiple, and technology is forever changing. A key to business success is improving productivity with less effort and resources. People are the backbone of all organizations and bad hires cost a business financially, productively, and emotionally.

Roles do not always have equal value in parallel businesses. There are three levels of value with a lot of degrees of separation: strategic, tactical, and maintenance. Competition for talent has increased since 2014 and hiring effectively means both correctly and quickly.  Here are a few suggestions when recruiting, evaluating, and hiring a new employee.

Identify a small team of decision makers: Less people involved is quicker and more efficient. Often companies preach being proactive, forward thinking, and customer focused and then effuse a hiring process that is cumbersome and too lengthy.  

Develop a time line: Assume that the best candidates are being recruited by other companies and will not be available for long. Best practices means being efficient. Establish a time line for first and second interviews to move through the evaluation process as quickly as possible. Try avoiding more than a 2 step process. This is a positive message to all parties.

Create a scorecard:  The hiring team must all be on the same page regarding responsibilities, value of role, ability to contribute, and first year expectations. Go beyond the job description and create a score sheet of core competencies that include knowledge, experience, and soft skills that are essential. Not all items on the score sheet are equal. Identify how the team is going to evaluate items on the score card. Meet after interview and discuss scoring. 

Ask interesting questions: Behavioral interview is quite common and viewed to be 50-60% predictive of future performance. Be premeditated and create questions that are aligned to the score card. Ensure that hard and soft skills, knowledge, experience, and acumen are appropriately evaluated. Believe it or not, there are hiring authorities that do not ask questions, end up talking too much, and then wonder why the new hire did not meet expectations.

Be prepared to sell: All candidates need to feel positive following the interview process even if they are not the candidate of choice. If a candidate warrants future interest, leadership needs to sell the opportunity, culture, synergies, business future and any other positive insight. This is the “pull” factor and essential to securing talent.

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