Pat Haro – Founder of Pat Haro International Executive Search

On weekdays, I work split shifts of six and four hours each, which follow very structured processes. My weekends are consumed by creative tasks such as writing.

Pat Haro is a native of Silicon Valley who began his career in retained executive search in 1984. Mr. Haro recently returned to the United States after 16 years in Hong Kong and Singapore with one purpose in mind: to change the economics of the executive search industry.

Mr. Haro founded Pat Haro International Executive Search to improve the cost structure and effectiveness of replacing senior managers. Pat Haro International works to help companies make the best possible hiring decisions and mitigate the risk of early candidate failure with its 3-Year Candidate Warranty.

As the creator of the SENMEF Initiative for Better Corporate Governance, Mr. Haro endeavors to help companies improve senior management effectiveness by implementing innovative yet simple changes in corporate governance practices. Mr. Haro provides pro bono career counseling, job search strategy critique, and financial restructuring advisement to more than 150 individuals and organizations each year.

He also enjoys serving as a volunteer with the Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada and the Blue Devils Drum and Bugle Corps (where he was a drum major in 1978 and 1979). Mr. Haro received a Bachelor of Science in organizational behavior from the University of San Francisco and a Master of Business Administration in corporate finance from the University of Chicago.

Where did the idea for Pat Haro International come from?

The biggest challenge the retained executive search industry faces is delivering more value to customers, and the best way to do this is to focus on transactions rather than time-based consulting. The business model we came up with is more closely aligned with M&A advisors, not leadership consultants. In 1994, we created the 3-Year Candidate Warranty, and today, ours is the only major executive search firm to guarantee candidates for three years.

What does your typical day look like, and how do you make it productive?

On weekdays, I work split shifts of six and four hours each, which follow very structured processes. My weekends are consumed by creative tasks such as writing.

How do you bring ideas to life?

I look for simple, elegant solutions to difficult problems and apply the formal economic concepts of division of labor and specialization in visualizing solutions.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

A broad and rapid acceptance of the need to remedy the inequities of women in senior management positions and the broader workforce, including representation and compensation.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I never procrastinate.

What was the worst job you ever had, and what did you learn from it?

Being “Cookie Mom” for my daughter’s Girl Scout troop. It was a frustrating experience that showed me how differently men and women operate in organizational settings and how much more I need to learn to be more effective in leading, collaborating with, and following women.

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

I would have attended my high school senior prom.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Get sanity checks. I will accept feedback in any form that it’s delivered, whether it’s a soft, nurturing tone or a note tied to a brick lobbed through my front window.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

Getting intelligent, passionate people excited and involved in my success.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I built a rapidly growing retained executive search firm generating millions of dollars of revenue, but I didn’t understand why I wasn’t becoming wealthy. I took two years off to get an MBA in corporate finance and discovered what I was doing wrong.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Senior management effectiveness. There is a fundamental problem with the way we currently govern public corporations, which can be remedied by a simple change in corporate governance practice. It’s the future of executive staffing, and it’s an idea more people should pursue.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I gave $100 to my ex-wife just because I knew it would make her day $100 better.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

I live in and Facebook. At my age, Salesforce is essential to recall the thousands of people I have met, and Facebook is essential to give me a sense of belonging to a broad, interesting community.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.” Traditions die hard, but they ultimately die nonetheless. Resistance to change is a natural human response. Dramatic organizational change of the magnitude Billy Beane accomplished in Major League Baseball will be realized by North American corporations within the next five years.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

The late, great Zig Ziglar, whose legacy includes his passion for helping others, influenced me. A quote of his that leaves a lasting impression is “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.”

Melinda Gates is another great influencer. It’s her influence on Bill that has helped them come together to become the best philanthropic team in history. Without question, he wouldn’t be where he is today without Melinda.

Dwayne Johnson, “The Rock,” is a newer hero of mine. He comes from Hayward, not far from my roots in Silicon Valley. He embodies passion, generosity, and hard work. He said once, “I’m always asked, ‘What’s the key to success?’ The key is, there is no key. Be humble, stay hungry, and always be the hardest worker in the room.”


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