Keith Mann has greater than 15 years of experience succeeding in the executive search industry. He’s also a hedge fund compensation expert and very knowledgeable regarding staffing and hiring strategies. Keith Mann has worked as for Dynamics Executive Search where he was a Managing Director charged with recruiting for global financial services companies. In the early 2000’s, he recognized the hedge fund arena was growing quickly and was not well served by the search industry. Keith Mann responded by starting the Alternative Investment Practice within Dynamics Executive Search. By 2006, the practice grew and began dealing with private equity. In 2009, Keith Mann founded a company exclusively serving alternative investment firms, Dynamics Search Partners (DSP), which was lauded as a premier executive search firm. Presently, Keith Mann is CEO of DSP. He helps his clients to hire better professionals in investment, marketing and internal strategy departments. DSP helps companies throughout the alternative investment industry across North America, Europe, and Asia by filling more than 200 client requests annually.
What inspired you to develop Dynamic Search Partners?
The name Dynamic Search Partners came from our previous venture, Dynamic Associates. It seemed best to keep the names similar. DSP was originally developed because of my past experience in the alternative investment industry. I was raised in New York City and exposed to these industries and I got to know the executive members. It was apparent there was a need for this type of service, so we decided to take action and seize the opportunity. And, it’s always nice to be your own boss.
What does a normal day look like for you and how do you stay productive?
It’s really hard not to be productive with such a busy schedule. My day is a mix of meetings, calls and emails. So many emails. I work hard at staying focused and when I’m focused I’m productive. Plus, I always schedule time in the gym before work which helps keep my energy up throughout the day.
How do your ideas become reality?
For me, it’s just recognizing there’s a need for something and satisfying that need. If I see something is needed, my brain just starts trying to invent ways to meet the need. Anything from company structure or candidate interview techniques, it all begins with a need. I’m always thinking of new ideas, but I really try to wait for an idea that can enhance our services and jump on it.
Can you give me one trend that’s really exciting for you?
Recently, I think diversity has been a growing trend. In our industry, we’re trying to find the best of the best for each client. Increasingly, our clients are looking for a diverse set of employees.
What part of your routine helps you most with productivity as an entrepreneur?
My morning workout. It definitely helps me wake up, get focused, and stay energized. I’m not sure if it’s the same for everyone, but I’m amazed by how much better I work throughout the day after I’ve exercised.
What’s the worst job you ever had and what useful experience did you gain from it?
I worked as a trading assistant at a foreign exchange desk. I truly hated the job. I guess I learned that I wanted to be my own boss from that awful job.
Is there anything you would do differently if you started over today?
Not one thing. I really believe I have the best team and we are doing great things. I wouldn’t change anything.
As an entrepreneur, what is one thing you repeatedly do and would suggest everyone else do?
I’ve never been afraid to ask for help when I need it and I never assume the first decision is correct. It’s best to collect many viewpoints and decide the best strategy from there.
What’s the one policy or program that helped you develop your firm?
Embracing technology. Our online portal has been the biggest time-saver for my clients, and my team. I always look for new tech that can make our business, and my life, easier. Staying on the cutting edge of tech has proven to be the best strategy for success.
Speaking about technology, what’s your favorite software or web service?
Google’s products. Google Docs and spreadsheets allow my team to collaborate easily. I love that multiple people can work on a file at one time. Lately, LinkedIn is really big in the industry. We do have other software and services I could recommend, but I think these could be considered our “secret ingredients”, so I’ll have to keep those to myself for now.
What was one failure you experienced as an entrepreneur, and what did you do to move past it?
The biggest failure I can think of was a particularly poor hiring decision back in our early days. Luckily, the issue was able to be quickly rectified and we really learned from our mistake. We now know that even though someone is a really good person, they may not be a good fit for our vision or our team. After learning that lesson, we now have what I consider the best team we could as for.
What’s the best way you spent $100 lately?
The best $100 I spent recently was on a cooking class with my kids. We made pizzas and they absolutely loved it.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
Everyone should read Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking, Fast and Slow. The book is great. I loved it. It’s good for anyone, at any job level, who just want to be better.