Shane Phillips – CEO of The Phillips Group
By Shereen Shabnam
The Phillips Group (TPG) is a global, exclusive, retained executive search firm founded by Carlton A. Phillips, the CEO who specialises in Board and CEO placements. For almost 40 years, TPG has been the premiere choice for board and C-level executive placements, for multinational companies.
We meet with Shane Phillips – CEO of The Phillips Group. With over 15 years’ experience, Phillips works with Boards and CEOs to help them transform their business, realise their vision and achieve their organisational objectives. We get some industry insights from him over a long coffee session in Dubai.
Give us an overview of The Phillips Group?
Since inception, TPG has focused on quality service, building strong leadership teams through its relationships with clients, as well as its market knowledge, worldwide. Today, we operate from principal business centres in Toronto, Dubai, London, Budapest and Beirut. We specialise in and CEO leadership talent as well as help family offices realise their vision and strategies.
How did you start your career in HR?
I was born into it as our entire family is part of the business. Our dinner conversations revolve around what makes a great CEO. I did an undergraduate degree in Psychology from the University of British Columbia and an MBA from the London Business School and this helped me what the scope of work I handled at TPG. After working in the business for years, I went on to author two books – “CEO Assessment & Selection” and “Get Your Dream Job”.
Tell us about your role at TPG?
We focus on sound human capital management practices and strategic hiring, and my job is to go above and beyond to find the right fit for our clients. We make sure our customer experience remains the best in our industry and hence we will have a training arm soon. We veto all the candidates first and that’s where our strength is as we do the assessment first. We have a book CEO assessment and selection from which we work through the key elements below.
1. Personal vision
2. Professional vision
3. Industry Vision
4. Organisational Vision
5. Can He Utilise Vision (To be able to realise the vision)
We assess the candidate on these areas first to see if the candidate qualifies and especially if the person can utilise the vision. Most companies go out of business as they do not know what kind of motivation is needed to make an organisation perform exceptionally.
How do you identify the right candidates?
While competency assessments are commonplace amongst search firms, we start with understanding our client’s company vision, strategy and objectives. This information is then used to develop critical success factors necessary to achieve these goals and identify the right candidate. Someone that will not only help clients achieve these goals but exceed them.
Where do you find the candidates?
If a person comes to us, then we do not see them as top performer. We want candidates who are competent. We do ‘Physicality Sourcing’ where we actually go to our candidate’s office and we sell the vision. When you sell a vision, it gets candidates excited.
Digital capability is important as well. We do video job descriptions. Front end of the job involves focusing on who in the industry is making money, has the majority shareholder and who is the architect behind the success. Why are they the most successful and this is where the success lies. Policies, systems, procedures that work and who is responsible for these are the people we look for. We do the financial analysis first – then the strategy then we know the type of CEO required for the job.
Give us some insights into Ownmycareer.com?
I am a board member at Ownmycareer.com, the largest online career management site. We started in 2009 and gave free career sessions and now we have helped over 2000 people. During the pandemic, our CSR involved sharing a number of free videos on our site including our CV templates etc.
I am also a Board Member at Digital Analytica, the digital transformation company. Our clients are digitally competitive and the positions are getting very technical so we partnered with Digital Analytica to help us with searching the best talent in the IT business.
What is the HR’s role in optimising the work culture in an organisation – do you stay in touch with clients to check on the performance of candidates you put forward?
We do stay in touch with clients after the hiring is done. We suggest working with the CEO before joining to get familiar and have a dinner every two weeks with the Board. Boards who do not invest that time will lose that touchpoint. One of the key things is to ensure the Chairman and CEO sit down and communicate in the first few months as this is the most important relationship to get results, generate revenue and attain landmark achievements. Then the Boards can play a supportive role afterwards.
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