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Snapping up Executives at Snap

Tony Bush

Tony Bush

36 minutes

May 26, 2024

Snapping up Executives at Snap
Interview Highlights

According to Forbes and the Corporate Executive Board CB, between half and three-quarters of executives fail within their first 18 months on the job.

Executives often feel a lot of pressure to perform right away and meet the high expectations of their bosses and stakeholders. This can make them rush into decisions and have trouble dealing with the complexities of their new role.

Sometimes, executives don't get the support they need to adjust to their new position. If they're not properly prepared or their skills don't match what's needed, they might struggle to do their job well. This can lead to them leaving the company early or not meeting their goals within the first 18 months.

 Today, we have Tony Bush, head of executive search at Snap. Let’s dive into his key insights shared during the interview.

Aligning Mindset and Skillset

Recruitment, Tony explains, is not merely about finding talent but about aligning mindset and skillset with the demands of the role. Unlike traditional recruiting, executive recruitment delves deeper into assessing not just qualifications but also the ability to make tough decisions and thrive in a fast-paced environment.


Understanding the High Stakes

The stakes are higher in hiring executives, Tony emphasizes, as their decisions impact not only their own success but also that of the entire organization. A misfit at the executive level can have broad and negative ripple effects, affecting morale, productivity, and ultimately, the company's bottom line.

Embracing T-Shaped Leadership

At Snap, where innovation and agility are paramount, executives are expected to possess a unique blend of depth and breadth in their leadership approach. This "T-shaped leadership," as Tony describes it, involves going deep into understanding the intricacies of their domain while also collaborating horizontally across functions to drive strategic initiatives.


Balancing Hands-On Leadership

But how does one strike the balance between being hands-on and avoiding micromanagement? Tony stresses the importance of leaders being deeply involved in understanding the ground-level challenges faced by their teams while empowering them to make decisions autonomously.


Seeking Diverse Experience

In assessing executive candidates, Snap looks beyond industry backgrounds, seeking individuals with diverse experiences and a proven ability to navigate ambiguity. Adaptability and a willingness to question assumptions are key traits sought after in potential leaders.


Providing Robust Support

Once onboarded, Snap provides executives with a robust support network and feedback mechanisms to ensure their success. Early and frequent interactions with key stakeholders help executives acclimate to the company's culture and dynamics, fostering a sense of belonging and alignment with Snap's values of being smart, kind, and creative.


Fostering Authentic Leadership

As Tony reflects on his own journey at Snap, he underscores the importance of leadership in fostering a culture where employees feel valued and empowered to do their best work. In an ever-evolving landscape, the ability to lead with authenticity and resilience remains the cornerstone of executive success.


Conclusion: Navigating the Complexities

In conclusion, Tony's insights offer a roadmap for both aspiring and seasoned executives navigating the complexities of leadership. By prioritizing alignment, adaptability, and a deep understanding of organizational dynamics, executives can not only thrive in their roles but also drive lasting impact within their organizations.

Official Transcript

According to Forbes research from the Corporate Executive Board CB estimates that 50 to 70% of executives fail within 18 months of taking on a role.

Executives often face immense pressure to deliver immediate results and meet high expectations set by stakeholders and boards of directors. This pressure can lead to hasty decision making, and an inability to effectively navigate complex organizational dynamics.

Additionally, inadequate on boarding processes and lack of alignment between the executive skill set and the demands of the role can contribute to early failures. Consequently, without proper support, executives may struggle to adapt and deliver sustainable value ultimately leading to premature exits or performance shortcomings within the critical 18-month timeframe.

Our guest today is Tony Bush, head of executive search at Snap. Tony, welcome to the show.

Tony Bush: Thank you. Glad to be here.

Felicia Shakiba: We're excited to have you. I can't wait for this conversation.

Tony Bush: Yeah, me too. I was thinking about it this week, and really, you kind of geek out here on assessment for executives.

My first question is what distinguishes executive recruiting from general recruiting? And what does that entail?

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