People Intelligence as a Success Factor in Executive Search for Sport

You are currently viewing People Intelligence als Erfolgsfaktor im Executive Search für den Sport

People Intelligence as a Success Factor in Executive Search for Sport

Finding the right managers and experts is a major challenge for any organization, because executives are the biggest lever for a company's success. But who is the right one? And how do the new executives match up to the sport, the company and the culture?
The influence of top management on the success of a company is undisputed. Studies on the most important factors for corporate success show that culture is an even more important factor than strategy or leadership. In other words, in addition to their strategic know-how and leadership skills, successful managers need to be compatible with the existing corporate culture and must successfully develop this culture in the long term.

The annual Engagement Index study by international market researchers Gallup quantifies the potential costs due to productivity losses caused by poor leaders for 2022 in Germany at approximately 150 billion €. The results of this study show in how many areas poor leadership and culture have an impact on employees’ work: internal resignation, high willingness to change jobs, higher absenteeism, more quality defects and poor customer ratings are the result.


What does this mean for executive search, the specific search for executives and experts? It means the fit between the potential new managers and experts with the organization must be the focus of the personnel search and selection. Of course, know-how and experience, network and personality remain important criteria in candidate selection. But without the right fit, these competencies cannot be effective. Miscasts cost companies a lot of time and money.


We believe that in order to be able to competently and validly assess this important fit between potential candidates and the requirements of our customers, a very special know-how is needed. At SPORTHEADS we call this "People Intelligence": the knowledge of the special requirements in sports, the view of the developments in the sports industry and the technological trends that determine this development. But above all, the use of suitable methods for aptitude diagnostics coupled with many years of experience in the sports industry. This sports DNA makes us industry insiders and creates added value for our customers.


But we also ask ourselves how we can use technology and data to improve our services. Social media platforms and databases optimize our processes, VCs fundamentally reduce time and travel costs, both for interviews with candidates and in communication with our clients. However, for us there is still no substitute for personal interviews with the candidates. In addition to numbers and data, personal impressions remain elementary for us to be able to judge the important fit between candidates and the job.


We are looking forward to the development of artificial intelligence and the potential applications for executive search. From today's perspective, however, it is not foreseeable that AI can replace "people intelligence" based on human experience and competence.


Feel free to contact us for more information about our services in the area of executive search and strategic personnel planning or current questions.


Authors: Dr. Marcus Hochhaus ( and Marc Mayer-Vorfelder (, Managing Partners of the personnel and strategy consulting company SPORTHEADS from Munich and Cologne.