General Manager – Manufacturing Search Division
“If you like what Bill Russell did with the Boston Celtics, winning two NBA championships in three years as player-coach of the Celtics, you may appreciate the important role Charlie Wilgus plays with Lucas Group.”
Charlie is a self-proclaimed player-coach for Lucas and while he may not have won any NBA championships, he commands respect and produces results for one of the premier executive recruiting firms in the country.
Such a selfless and productive managerial approach has been highly effective for his team and Lucas Group. Consider this recent example from a company in the consumer products manufacturing industry.
“I can’t ask my team to do anything that I haven’t done myself. I need to show them that I’m doing all of the same things that they’re doing. Equally as important, I want their success first. My success is through being part of the team.”
In working with the consumer products company, Charlie and one of his senior recruiters entered an exclusive and confidential search for a Director of Supply Chain. During the search process, a slate of five candidates was presented to the client, each potential candidate exhibiting varying degrees of experience and compensation requirements.
Subsequent to several rounds of interviews, the client narrowed the search to one candidate – one who would ultimately necessitate the most expense to acquire. It was during the final stages of validating work history and compensation for this placement, that several inconsistencies came to light. What the candidate conveyed in the initial meetings with Charlie and his recruiter, contradicted their actual findings, hence the legitimacy of the candidate was challenged. The candidate denied wrongdoing, however the issue was immediately and without hesitation brought to the client’s attention. Charlie and his recruiter understood the ramifications of so doing, and the potential of forfeiting considerable fees.
The candidate was dismissed from the process, despite the client’s critical need to appoint this candidate, who perfectly matched the desired profile. The company ultimately hired another candidate from Charlie and his recruiter, thus saving them money and bypassed hiring a potential dishonest employee.
A relationship constructed on the foundation of loyalty and trust has since garnered Charlie and his team the opportunity to engage and deliver two additional searches for this company.
It really is a family culture. It was started 40 years ago. But we’ve been able to maintain a family culture all across the country—from New York to Miami to LA to Atlanta.”
Charlie is able to foster that type of success because of both the Lucas Group culture and his own mentoring style. His managerial area covers a broad array of industries, with little overlap. “It’s a team environment, but an individual sport.” Nevertheless, Charlie preaches the gospel of peer-to-peer cooperation; not competition. It’s probably no accident, then, that one of Charlie’s recruiters has won the top cross-selling award for Lucas Group in back-to-back years.
He points to the Lucas Group culture as being an important differentiator for him, his team, and his clients. He describes it as a cradle-to-grave environment and really provides recruiters with the tools, support and incentives they need to be successful. “I came to Lucas Group from a culture that was very hard core, management by fear, very high pressure. We work extremely hard here, but we don’t work like that. I came to Lucas to get away from that. We’re changing the way people do executive recruiting and succeeding very well in the process.”
What are his keys to his management approach?
- Manage people differently but treat everyone fairly and equally
- Play no favorites
- Empower people to be more than they ever thought they could be
Such an approach may not win any championships, but it has made Lucas Group the premier executive recruiting firm in North America.