Case Study – Providing Value During The COVID-19 Pandemic


Laurens had been successfully servicing an international brand in the footwear industry for many years when they engaged him in early 2020 to search for an APAC sales director who would lead the company’s expansion in the Asian market. He came close to a successful candidate introduction, but then the coronavirus hit and their headquarters froze HR budgets worldwide, leaving the APAC region with an even more urgent need for leadership, someone who could drive growth through the crisis. Laurens decided to explore creative ways to continue providing value that didn’t involve direct hiring of new employees.


Negotiation, Search, Challenges

Historically, Laurens’s relationship with the client has been exceptionally tight. He knows all the national/APAC stakeholders, and, obviously, the candidates he and his team have placed there over time. He is also on a first name basis with the global leadership team, making business interactions with the company consistently warm and personal.


When Laurens realized the client was facing serious trouble for reasons beyond their control, he immediately and indefinitely suspended all invoices to ease the financial burden on them. It came as a pleasant surprise to him when they countered with a proposal that he himself come on board as the APAC sales director instead. This was possible only because, although hiring expenses had been frozen, there was still budgetary room to engage a limited number of contracted consultants. With b2c-recruitment suffering heavily from the coronavirus pandemic, it was a mutually beneficial opportunity: Laurens could solve the client’s leadership vacuum issue and at the same time maintain cash flow for Zensho Agency’s commercial team.


The shift from recruitment consultant to commercial director for a global lifestyle brand seemed daunting until Laurens reasoned that the same dynamics applied to both, requiring him to:


  1. Build industry relationships and know the market;
  2. make a sales plan;
  3. execute the sales plan;
  4. treat all stakeholders with common business courtesy and always assume good intent.

The learning curve for point 1 was steep for Laurens, but from the client’s experience working with him, they knew he could manage points 2-4, which were always the top priorities in their hiring criteria anyway.



As soon as Laurens signed on, he saw that although the company had been nested in Japan for over twenty years, it had made hardly any connections in the APAC region. He therefore made it his first priority to expand the distributor network and raise the company profile to match those of its industry peers. To these ends, he leveraged his expansive recruitment network, gathering recommendations regarding which distributors he should partner with to achieve the client’s growth objectives – a move that is already having a significant impact on the company’s public profile and reach.


Laurens’s stellar track record of service with the client inspired them with confidence in his ability to provide value in a significantly different role. The relationship is ongoing, and Laurens even now continues to receive new requests from senior management to take on additional responsibilities. He is grateful for their trust and rewards it with proactive ingenuity, deepening their faith in him with each successfully completed project. His next major assignment is to open retail stores in Shanghai, Bangkok and Jakarta.

Zensho Agency is an exclusive, remote-first, technology-driven brokerage leading the global recruitment rebellion. Authentic and present, we’re a tribe that has grown together through a genuine desire for collective success. Including yours. So, why work with us? Because those who enjoy liberation, empowerment, and maximum rewards make the most trusted advisors to the people they serve.


Our freedom. Your potential.®

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Values: A message to our awesome tribe

Years from now, you may not remember the particulars of deals you closed at Zensho (or what the returns were). You will remember your colleagues and how it felt to work with them. The imprint you left on the world.

We invited you to join our tribe because you impressed us as someone who shares values intrinsic to our culture. But just to ensure we’re totally on the same page, here they are, spelled out in black and white and trimmed in our corporate colors.

Freedom is Zensho’s central pillar. Beyond the mere state of being free, for us the word carries with it a sense of obligation: “Freedom to…” What follows should define you as a person. Of course, to provide your business community with amazing service, but also to engage and give back to the world. And that’s where Autonomy comes in. Unlike the general implications of self-rule, ours leads not to detachment but to a broad and radical sense of interconnectivity. One that enables each of us to commune with others in infinite ways. Together, these two values empower you like nothing else on earth, and they’re here waiting for you.

So, what do we ask in return?

Transparency means not only having open books, but being one yourself. No secrets or ulterior agendas. It is to share personal and industry information without seeking to leverage it for profit or motivate others in any way. Its cousin, Clarity, is about including precision and context in the communication process. At Zensho, we always try to anticipate the details a fellow partner might need and supply them up front.

Which leads us to…

Collaboration. That is, to cooperate meaningfully. Because only through recognizing individual strengths can we thrive as a whole. For us, collaboration requires presence as we listen and respond, evolving toward a collective goal represented by the name of our charity initiative: Ayni (reciprocity). This can’t exist without Collegiality. How we care for each other and the tribe as a whole, share both opportunity and responsibility with open hearts – that’s what empowers us to excel as a firm.

With these six in place, our seventh value happens all by itself.

Harmony. When your environment manifests balance between all people and things – even forces that oppose each other – life just flows. Living completely becomes a state of being. After all, that’s the very meaning of Zensho.