The Leader Hunter

He made a stable career, but did not want to be a banker for life. Then the phone rang. Now Philippe Caillé himself has become the caller with the opportunity that can change people's lives and careers.

Philippe Caillé

Position: Advisor and Partner

Employer: Hartmark Executive Search

Master of Business Administration with Major in Marketing and Finance

Today, far higher requirements are set for what skilled leaders should be concerned about. They must understand the subject and know their industry very well, and they must be able to lead by recognizing and motivating.

- It is always fascinating how coincidences affect our lives, says Philippe Caillé from a bright fifth floor at Skøyen in Oslo. He is an economist who became a banker and media manager, before moving on to the real estate industry and so on to the recruitment profession. For the past 20 years, he has been the man who helps companies find the right leaders.

- Many of those who received a phone call from us had not imagined the opportunity we present. But once it opens up, the career can take a whole new course. Life consists of many coincidences; I often see this when I ask people what lies behind their working life choices. It is more often coincidences that play together, than a carefully thought-out plan that is followed. I have a feeling for just this. It makes life a little more exciting, says Caillé.

- After many years in the bank Kreditkassen (now Nordea), my phone suddenly rang - and a few months later, I had changed industries, and became the CFO of Egmont. I did not have any plans of my own to enter the media industry, but now I got to use my experiences in new areas. And once you have mastered such a transition, it will be easier to envision new opportunities later.

We are at Hartmark Executive Search in Hoffsveien. Here it is all about new opportunities. Caillé is a partner, with twenty years of experience, in an industry he never imagined when he left BI in 1980.

Philippe Caillé's family - with Norwegian mother and French father - moved to Norway when he was six. For the first few years, they moved to wherever his father got jobs as a doctor. Eventually, they landed at Smestad in Oslo. When Philippe had to choose an education, the young football player chose the school closest to the training ground. It was BI.

And the reality that met him after his studies were utterly different from what business Norway is in 2020.

- When I left BI in 1980 and started in banking, I encountered a system based on hierarchy and authoritarian management models. You could actually see based on the office chairs of people where they were on the career ladder.

Caillé smiles when he explains the system:

- The chairs were an essential symbol of promotion and position. As a regular clerk, you got a simple office chair. If you became an office manager, you got a chair with armrests. If you moved up to deputy manager, you also got a higher chair back. As an assistant bank manager, there was a neck pillow on the high back. And should you move up to the largest office and become a bank manager, you got all this - but maybe in leather.

It is easy to laugh at this in 2020. But in its time, this tangible symbolism was also part of the motivation for those who wanted to move up and forward.

- Today, far higher requirements are set for what skilled leaders should be concerned about. They must understand the subject and know their industry very well, and they must be able to lead by recognizing and motivating. Many of the best employees have no desire at all to be managed and controlled by anyone. Today we also see that the best candidates make entirely different demands when they consider a new opportunity.

What kind of demands are made today that you did not see to the same degree before?
- Well-qualified people have high expectations of the management and the content of the position itself and the working environment and the reputation of the company as well. Desired candidates will work close to public transport hubs, modern premises, and flexible work arrangements. The balance between work and leisure is a big issue. I predict that we will soon see services that rank jobs based on reviews from those who work there.

A kind of Tripadvisor for working life?
- Exactly. A service where those who work there can give the company a grade score. We already have EqualityCheck.it, which Isabelle Ringnes and Marie Louise Sunde have established to show which companies take gender equality seriously. Going forward, I think we will see more of this, where the employees themselves score their employers on criteria such as work environment, management, opportunities, flexibility, development opportunities, environment, and sustainability.

Will it not be easier to be a leader in the future?
- It was obviously more comfortable to be an old-fashioned boss in the ‘80s. Now we no longer believe that a good leader can lead anything. But we find very skilled managers every week, who fortunately have entirely different goals than the best leather chair in the largest office.