How Leaders Make Change


Today, Heidrick & Struggles, a leading provider of global leadership consulting and on-demand talent solutions, in partnership with the Global Blockchain Business Council, launched a study titled, From Financial Services to Blockchain and Crypto: How Executives Are Making the Switch.

The blockchain and crypto industry has taken the world by storm, especially in recent years. It has now become so popular and in demand that financial services have to put it on their agenda whether they like it or not. The sector is also attracting the attention of executives from traditional financial services firms who are increasingly comfortable joining this often volatile new industry.

This study was undertaken to explore how executives are making the transition from traditional financial services companies to blockchain and crypto companies – and what they need to know when considering doing so.

Some key findings

Nearly half of survey respondents (49%) joined the blockchain and crypto industry after holding positions in investment banking, having held senior positions at their previous institutions , such as senior vice presidents (33%) or general managers (28%).

The study shows that a number of senior executives from traditional financial services companies are more open to joining blockchain and crypto companies as it becomes clearer that cryptocurrencies and blockchain are driving forces for the future. future of financial services.

Nearly a third of respondents said they left their old job to start a business (31%). The fact that so many executives are willing to take risks in a new venture underscores the role of blockchain in the broader financial industry.

Another interesting finding is that 43% said their businesses are in the start-up phase, and another 23% are growth-stage organizations. Only 9% said they worked for large private companies. Therefore, the fact that these executives are in leadership positions in their respective companies shows the future they see for the financial industry, and that is in blockchain and crypto.

Comparing the total compensation of blockchain executives overall with that of traditional banking, nearly half of executives said they would expect the same or lower compensation for blockchain executives and crypto and are often willing to accept a lower base pay rate. They know they are taking a risk entering the field, but they also know that the potential rewards in terms of equity are significant as the investment volume keeps growing. One respondent even stated that “blockchain is constantly evolving and requires adaptability skills, curiosity, genuine interest, and a strong belief that we are doing the right thing.”

Considerations When Considering Joining a Blockchain/Crypto Company

Blockchain and crypto companies offer exceptional room for individual growth. Because the field is young and growing, duties and responsibilities are less clearly defined than in other industries and therefore less rigid. Blockchain and crypto companies are more willing to hire professionals with less experience in a particular role and are ready to promote them and expand their responsibilities on an expedited basis.

Flexibility means leaders can shape how their business operates. Flexibility is a key incentive for executives effecting change, and as hierarchies, processes and roles are less defined, traditional factors such as time in the office have faded in relevance as the pandemic of COVID-19 was progressing and working from home was becoming commonplace.

The blockchain and crypto industry requires different leadership capabilities than traditional financial services. To meet the demands of a rapidly changing field, successful candidates need courage, resilience and the will to go all out. Leaders who want to join the blockchain and crypto industry must have high risk tolerance and the ability to operate at a significantly faster pace than more traditional industries. Companies are also prioritizing cultural impact over role-specific experience. Blockchain and crypto businesses seek professionals with enough industry experience to fill the gaps required by their specific context, but needs change as the business evolves.

Looking ahead, one thing is clear, the blockchain, crypto and digital asset space will continue to evolve in unpredictable and dramatic ways. In the past few months alone the crypto market cap has hovered around $2 trillion and is expected to continue to grow over the long term and with that growth you need the right people at the forefront of your organization to lead it and guide her to success.


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