From Bill McComb, CEO at Fifth & Pacific Companies, Inc:
Drill a well before you need a drink—Start looking for the unstoppables and don’t stop the hunt. Meet people outside the company to learn, not judge. When I switched industries, leaving Johnson & Johnson to join Liz Claiborne Inc. (now Fifth & Pacific Companies, Inc.) I knew I had to learn everything I could about fashion and retailing. To do so, I began “interviewing” talented people in the industry. Quickly I accumulated a talent map of the industry. My goal wasn’t to actually hire at that stage, but to know a broad range of leaders at competitors— and to find some unstoppable leaders in my new industry. Some meetings were a waste, sure. More often, insights were shared, friends were made, and a network of potential future candidates was built in the process. I continue to talent map today, well after fully staffing my leadership bench, and always will.