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Executive Search Firms: Not Just for the Fortune 500 Anymore

The practice of executive search was conceived as a specialization within management consulting after World War II to serve very large corporations. The transition out of a wartime economy elevated the need for private sector leaders. The dominating big businesses needed the best leadership talent if their success was to continue in the very uncertain post-war years.

Arguably, we again find ourselves in a wartime economy, just different wars --- a global pandemic; rising inflation; supply chain shortages; shipping infrastructure weaknesses; a “Great Resignation” phenomenon; shortage of qualified talent at all levels; political uncertainty; retiring “Boomers”; changing workplace models…the list goes on.

These factors have affected all businesses, regardless of size. The need for strong leadership has never been more important. But finding the strong leaders has never been so difficult. This is particularly true for mid-market companies.

Now, executive search, which was originally conceived as a service to the largest corporations is accessible to the mid-sized enterprise. Complete with the same level of attention, dedication, thought leadership and follow-up that accompanies the services lavished on the Fortune 500.

Executive search services are no longer the luxury of the largest companies, and there are executive search firms whose sole mission is to serve the mid-market enterprises that remain the backbone of our economy.

Standish Executive Search is a leading example.

As its founder, Stanley Davis, points out, “We imbue the same values as our clients: high-level strategic thinking with lean and efficient operations; an eye towards overhead but also a vision for the future; a recognition that a solid organization needs solid leaders in the right, key positions; and a willingness to invest in the right people for growth and success.”

For owners and leaders of mid-sized enterprises who are working to plan and navigate the road ahead of these unprecedented times, the advice is the same given to large corporations (and the same as it was post WWII): IT IS ALL ABOUT THE PEOPLE.

Now, though, mid-sized enterprises have the same caliber of executive search resources that the largest corporations have enjoyed for over 75 years.


Greg Mickelson is a Principal of Standish Executive Search, a New England-based firm that advises business owners, executives and boards who are positioning their companies for accelerated growth, change or succession.

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