Michael (Mike) Hyter, Managing Partner at Korn Ferry, continues to make innovative paths in the Human Capital industry as a senior leader in Korn Ferry‘s Advisory Group. His work within the CEO and Executive Development practice is well regarded around developing CEO Successors, C-Suite leaders and high-potential talent. This is a long way from the city of Detroit, where Hyter grew up, as an ambitious young man whose familiarity with the corporate world was limited. Raised by working-class parents, as the eldest of five children, a strong work ethic was born, and yet his primary interest was working versus going to college. Fortunately, he attended Michigan State University after high school, and it was there where he found his voice, when he transferred into a newly formed program in Human Resources Management.
After graduation, Hyter joined an iconic Detroit institution, Hudson’s Department Stores, where his HR career began. He vividly recalls a discussion he had as a young professional at Hudson’s that he would never be a Vice President there since the company never had an African-American in an executive leadership role before. Despite the gut check, he worked hard, accepted as many visible projects that he could plus additional opportunities, exposure, mentorship and sponsors. Eventually, he made it to the C-Suite as a VP for Community and Government Affairs for Dayton’s, Hudson’s and Marshall Fields.
Hyter isn’t sure what trajectory his career might have taken had he not participated in an Efficacy Training session with social psychologist Jeff Howard Ph.D. “Before that experience, I was preoccupied with being better than everyone else, working longer and harder than anyone else and simply just being good at my job,” he reflects. “The training taught me how to focus on forging my own path versus comparing myself to others.”
Hyter learned that strategic relationships and influence skills, along with taking risks and effective effort was the key to accelerated growth, and that it was about having the power to choose whether he was responsible for his development or it was left in the hands of others. It’s a message that influenced him to write his book, The Power of Choice: Embracing Efficacy to Drive Your Career. The message of personal responsibility, accepting feedback and being strategic about your development decisions was the catalyst for increased confidence, and that’s when his career flourished.
In 1996, Hyter joined J. Howard and Associates (Dr. Jeff Howard’s diversity training company) to help with growing the business. He was named President and CEO in 2001. Along with his colleagues, he built the company into one of the largest Diversity and Inclusion consulting firms in the world, and in 2012, sold the company to the executive search powerhouse, Korn Ferry. His reputation in the market for seeing Diversity and Inclusion was being maximized in a sustainable way when integrated in the entire talent development system with organizations, and he experienced much success in helping many organizations improve in that area.
Since being a part of Korn Ferry’s Advisory Group, Hyter has led major D&I consulting projects for Korn Ferry clients as well as managing Korn Ferry’s Washington, DC office. He has worked with many Fortune 1000 executives, helping organizations grow and enhance their business through innovative talent management solutions. Hyter is member of the CEO and Executive Development practice within Korn Ferry, where CEOs and other C-Suite level executives are guided through an accelerated journey to grow as a person and as a leader, one who learns to bring their core talents, values, beliefs and purpose to their awareness, effectiveness and impact.
Helping leaders enhance their legacy through that journey is a passion for Hyter, and other leaders are currently making a huge contribution because of his work. “What’s important to note is that I’d like to see more women and professionals of color participate in this C-suite development journey,” he says. “There is definitely a need for more to be included in the CEO Succession track.” He is committed to helping leaders to experience and contribute these purpose-driven behaviors. His life-long purpose is to help leaders create an inclusive environment where all gifts are valued and applied.