MAY 22, 2019 – IMSA Search Global Partners, an international network founded in Switzerland more than 25 years ago, was named one of the top global senior level executive search firms. “Each solution is enriched with the force of cultural diversity. That is the backbone of our success.” says Monika Ciesielska, IMSA Search President, commenting on the debut in the Global 30 Ranking by Hunt Scanlon.
We meet at the IMSA Poland (Carpenter Consulting) office downtown Warsaw, where the champagne is still sparkling, and several vegan brownies and cupcakes are still left on the shiny plates. A small celebration took place on this sunny May afternoon, in an office with a spectacular view of a vibrant European capital city. The news about their success was released just a moment before. Monika Ciesielska runs a Polish branch of IMSA Search Global Partners, an international executive search company. She also holds the position of President of IMSA Search, running its global operations.
IMSA Search: Two years ago, after being appointed President of the IMSA Search Global Partners Network, you assumed that it would take at least three years for IMSA Search to find itself among the top 30 Global (report by Hunt Scanlon). IMSA Search reached this goal in 1.5 years. How do you feel?
Monika Ciesielska: Happy and proud. This is an astonishing achievement for all of my colleagues around the world, and a reward for all the effort we’ve put into building a new attitude towards IMSA Search over the last eighteen months. Our work is not complete yet, and we are going to search for tools and solutions which will take our company to the next level, through adding value to our main service, which is the executive recruitment process. We aim to satisfy even the most sensitive recruitment needs of our clients, on middle and C-level positions.
You refer to IMSA Search as a company, instead of an association. Can you explain why?
It all comes down to the strategic goals we agreed on 1.5 years ago. We thought about ourselves as an association. And we acted like an association back then. We had great meetings two times a year, and we exchanged emails a few times a month, but that was all. Then it hit us. Being an association was not enough. We needed to become a company, even if our offices are spread all over five continents. We needed to share more information, exchange knowledge and communicate with each other on everyday daily basis, just like in traditional companies. So we did. We built inner channels of communication and started to see our role as members of IMSA Search in a different way. I believe that the change of perspective was crucial for us. When we achieved that, other processes started almost naturally.
Could you explain what kind of processes you are thinking of?
Basically – sharing knowledge and ideas more freely. Every day, I gain some knowledge from other IMSA Search members. We share interesting articles, inform each other about the status of our mutual projects. We cooperate and support each other, we really do. This is important, because this results in mutual trust. This kind of certainty is essential, when it comes to a decision about transferring a client to another IMSA Search member, who has more experience in a particular market or field. This very abstract value that the members are consistently communicating with each other, has a direct impact on the effectiveness of the IMSA Search Network.
Could you tell more about the IMSA Search business model?
Yes. I think that this is the source of IMSA Search’s success. Thanks to our model, we have an awareness of the global market, and we can act globally. But at the same time, we provide our service to the Client on a local basis, having all the necessary knowledge on the market and its specifics. Our joint projects are truly effective on these terms. Failure is not an option. Also, this model forces us to pay especially close attention to each extension of our network. In the coming months, we plan to expand our network to Asia, South America and Africa, but we are not interested in quantity. We invest in quality.
We put a lot of effort into the process of recruiting new members, which is long and demanding. We want to make sure that we not only acquire the best specialist in the country to IMSA Search, but also people who share the same values, business model, quality of work and fit our team in terms of personality and business approach. This is essential, because the head hunters of IMSA Search are strong personalities and entrepreneurs in their own companies. Plus – we are very culturally diverse. At this moment, we are operating from 50 offices across 23 countries, spread along 5 continents. And each decision is made through discussion and debates.
The discussions might be truly challenging!
Oh! They are. Despite everything we have in common, on a business and personal level, we differ from each other and those differences stem from different cultures, perspectives, maturity of the local businesses and many more. This fuels our professional local expertise – we work globally, but are able to recruit locally, with the touch of local business environment look and feel, which differs between the countries and regions. We are open to expand our global network, because the global executive search capability is a strong asset of IMSA Search.
Do you think that cultural diversity is IMSA Search’s strength or weakness?
It is our strength. Making consensus-based decisions inside a diverse group, full of people with strong personalities is challenging. On the other hand, during this conversation, we can understand the big picture, and improve initial ideas. I would say that each IMSA Search solution is enriched with the force of this cultural diversity. This is the backbone of our success.
What will IMSA Search’s next goals be in the future?
We are finalizing our latest project IMSA BaronsAI, which is a database for C-level candidates based on artificial intelligence. We are going through a GDPR audit right now, but the new tool should be ready in several weeks. We believe that AI-based solutions can be incorporated into executive search in its small part of the process, which is screening the candidate resumes that we already have inside the database. Nevertheless, the networking part and the evaluation of competencies, for now, can hardly be replaced even with the smartest machine.
We are working on developing new assessment tools, because we believe that the constant search for new ways of testing the candidate is necessary. Acting differently than competition, more efficiently, bringing more knowledge on candidates to our clients, are currently our main focus areas. Personally I think we are experiencing a technological revolution in our industry. The coming years will abound in new challenges and opportunities, and my wish for IMSA Search is to not only to be the leader, but also the agent of change.