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Our expert in-house capability provides accurate, up-to-date and incisive research to deliver swift, precise outcomes. Targeted individuals are engaged with care and professionalism and the client opportunity presented in a clear and well-prepared format.

Our News

Our expert in-house capability provides accurate, up-to-date and incisive research to deliver swift, precise outcomes. Targeted individuals are engaged with care and professionalism and the client opportunity presented in a clear and well-prepared format.

Why living your values is so vital for corporate success

A group of people follow a leader across a mountain

By Chris Green, partner

Values make or break a company’s success.

It’s a bold statement, but one that I hold true. Without true internalised values, I don’t believe that a person can incisively see through the noise to the crux of the issue at hand, and make the right decision for their business.

Values are about so much more than company mission statements. A person’s own values are intrinsic to their outlook on the world and they impact on every decision they make — knowingly or not!

I prefer to think of values as a moral compass and it’s a real litmus test in business. I don’t think I’ve ever delivered a search brief where a candidate’s moral compass wasn’t important or considered. And it’s always one of the first things I seek to ascertain — namely, what is this person actually like? Would they be a good boss? Do I want to work with them? Would I follow their directions? Because if the answer to these is ‘no’, I can’t in good faith put that person forward to a client: they will never be the right choice.

Values underpin the search and hiring process. Toxicity within a business is like rot, it’s highly contagious and is often linked to poor values. If a senior figure genuinely has no regard for the welfare of the team, for example, because it’s not in his or her nature to value other people’s progression, then this spills over into the ranks and breeds a culture in which progression isn’t important. Staff start to leave as a result and the company is weaker for it, not just through loss of loyal team members and all the historic knowledge that goes with that, but also through the financial costs associated with replacing exiting employees, and the cultural loss that follows.

Values in practice

This year, we have all had to face crisis. There’s scarcely a business in the world that hasn’t faced the risk of failure. Crisis brings out the best in some people — and the worst in others. If you’re a business facing crisis, you need people at the helm who are going to show leadership, strengthen your team and tackle problems pragmatically. Not those whose internal moral compass is telling them to be ruthless with people, with emotions, with money. And certainly not those who seek to protect number one above all else.

That’s why it’s always important to put value on values, so to speak. So that if a crisis happens, you have the right people at the helm.

Leaders lead from the front. That much has always been clear. It’s the difference between a leader and a boss and it’s my experience that a leader will always garner better results.

How do you define values?

It’s hard to definitively establish what someone’s values really are. In a hiring situation, most people will say the same kind of thing: they’re proactive, they’re a good leader; they’re commercial. It’s our job to cut through the noise and understand how a candidate truly operates.

Our research team is invaluable here, extensively researching candidates’ backgrounds. Our interview process also involves psychometric testing, situational examples and references so that we get a round picture of the individual.

But often a well-developed insight is the most valuable tool we have as executive search partners.  We know the questions to ask to really drill down into a person’s character and internal values. We have honed our skills over years and we’re proud to say that at Howgate Sable we deliver the best candidate for the role, time and time again. Excellent companies deserve excellent leadership. And that’s what they get when they come to us.

The EMI Practice at Howgate Sable really took the time to understand our situation and find exceptional candidates who could fulfil challenging international leadership assignments for a truly global company with a history that spans well over 200 years.

It was a first class experience and positive outcome on many levels.


Barry McDonnell – Director of Manufacturing at De La Rue International

I have worked with the Howgate Sable team on several occasions whilst hiring mission-critical executives. Partnership is the byword for this organisation – they act as an extension of my team and work hard to support me not only in the technical solution, but in the sense of a deep understanding of my specific requirements. Delivery is the key measure of our talent partners and Howgate Sable have always achieved what was asked of them.

Jesper Berg – SVP HR, ABB

Having worked with Howgate Sable as a client and as a candidate I can confidently say their ability to deliver on complex searches is second to none. They not only have a detailed knowledge of the marketplace but also understand the importance of cultural fit. 

Bridget Lea – O2

I was particularly impressed with Howgate Sable’s knowledge and network in the aviation sector, the quality of the candidates provided at shortlist and the availability of Nick and the team to provide us with advice and guidance on candidates when required. Nick was particularly effective in understanding our needs as a Company and being flexible in adapting requirements and plans.

Paul Hutchings – Thomas Cook Group Airlines

I have recently worked with Nick from Howgate Sable to recruit a new Head of Aircraft Operations for Thomson Airways. I was particularly impressed by the wide-reaching search undertaken and the quality of the candidates put forward. The skills match to the brief was excellent and I am delighted with the individual we selected.

Dawn Wilson – Thomson Airways

From their initial call to me the Aviation practice team at Howgate Sable demonstrated a significant difference. Straightforward and to the point, the extent of their network and deep insight into the industry was immediately evident. The added value I have received as a candidate is tangible. An almost instant rapport quickly developed into a focused business relationship which is open, honest, respectful and above all trustworthy.

Carl Gissing