Ask for help and never assume the first decision is correct.
Keith Mann has been working in the executive search industry for over 15 years and is an expert in hedge fund compensation, staffing and hiring strategy. Keith Mann was previously a Managing Director at Dynamics Executive Search where he recruited for global financial services firms. He launched the Alternative Investment Practice within Dynamics Executive Search in 2002 after identifying the hedge fund industry as a rapidly growing market that was underserved by the search community. In 2006, he expanded the practice into the private equity industry, and in 2009, Keith Mann established Dynamics Search Partners (DSP) as a premier executive search firm dedicated exclusively to alternative investment firms. Keith Mann is currently the CEO of DSP and is responsible for the day-to-day management of the firm. He assists his clients in hiring investment, marketing and internal strategy professionals for their existing teams, as well as in building out new platforms. DSP works with firms across the alternative investment industry in the United States, Europe and Asia, and fills over 200 client mandates each year.
Where did the idea for Dynamic Search Partners come from?
Dynamics Search Partners, spun out of our previous firm, Dynamics Associates. We wanted to keep the name consistent, so DSP was formed. The original idea for Dynamics Search Partners, came from years of experience in the industry specializing in alternative investments. I was groomed for this position from growing up in the New York area around tons of executives in these industries. The need for our services was there, so we decided to fill it. + it’s nice to work for yourself.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
Non-stop! It’s a combination of meetings, calls and lots of emails. How do I make it productive? Just hammer away and stay focused.Exercise before work really helps me to make the most of my time in the office.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Again, to me, it’s a matter of finding a need and filling it. My ideas stem from needs, whether it’s a change to the structure of how we interview candidates or the idea to hire more employees and expand our reach, it all starts with a need. With so much going on, I wait for the ideas that I know will improve our current system to act on them.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
Honestly, diversity. In my industry, we always want to produce the best candidate for each position that we possibly can. I think over the recent years, this has been a trend the decision makers who hire our candidates are looking for.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
A morning workout. It really helps me stay focused and get the day started right. For anyone, working the same job day in and day out can be challenging. It sounds quite silly, but its amazing how much it helps me work efficiently throughout the day.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I was a trading assistant for a large bank working on a foreign exchange desk. I absolutely hated it. I learned really fast that I wanted to be my own boss.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
Nothing. I am blessed to work with great people who I can learn from every day. I would not change a thing.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Ask for help and never assume the first decision is correct. As we do in search, I like to collect as many data points as I can.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.
Incorporating technology in everything we do. We have created an online portal for our candidates and clients, which has been a tremendous timesaver for my team. In earlier years in this industry, you couldn’t just hire a developer to create your visionary portal. Being open to technology and how it can make my life easier has been a great strategy for me to get on board with.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Not to sound smug, but this question was hard for me to come up with an answer for. I would have to say early on we made a bad hiring decision, which could be considered a ‘failure’, but the issue was swiftly corrected. We recognized it early on that this employee was a great person, but not a great fit. We had to make that break. Our current team is the best one I could ask for.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best recent $100 I spent was taking my kids to a pizza making class. They loved it.
What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?
I’m a huge fan of all Google products. Docs and spreadsheets are great for collaboration, allowing more than 1 person to work on them at a time. Obviously, LinkedIn is huge in our industry as well. Other software/services I might recommend could be considered our ‘secret sauce’, so that’s all I want to disclose in this interview.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman. It’s a great book for anyone who has a job and wants to be successful. I loved it. Fascinating.
What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?
Michael Bloomberg. He has accomplished so much in his life and has always led by example.