You have heard every adjective to describe what it takes to be a leader in these quickly changing times. Now, let’s focus on the most important practicalities of delivering the right outcomes….“The Who” among leaders that will provide what it takes to establish priorities, align resources (including team capabilities) and with agility to pivot to meet progress benchmarks and moving targets.
“The Who” in Leadership Selection
Very often, leaders who engage us comment that they are seeking to improve their “who” leadership selection success batting average.
While companies we serve may/may not be in similar sectors and requirements, the dynamics and issues for each are different as no two organizations are the same. For us, a critical first step of determining “The Who” is gaining insights into each client’s situation and the balancing of those factors that make their priorities clear, “owned”, sorted & tackled now and going forward.
Having completed 98% of our engagements, we know that identifying leaders who’ll persevere in transformation is, oftentimes, “the” differentiating factor in evaluating candidates given each client’s needs… their current situation and barriers to creating enterprise value and, the cultural aspects of how leadership teams make decisions are all critical determinants in winning against “the swans.”
Two Recent Searches: Delivering Uncommon Value
In a recent board recruitment engagement, we advised on governance effectiveness and successfully recruited three new directors, each representing a priority strategic initiative based on our client’s current situation, challenges and aspirations. It reinforced our way of advising and providing insights that make a difference i.e., treating each client’s situation which requires a deep dive discovery regardless of our extensive experience and track record of having led successful searches for several hundred board of directors over the past 30 years.
To underscore this point, we recently completed a CFO search for a privately- held building materials company controlled by three investors, all with slightly and subtle differing views of the necessities and priorities of this role. In determining the qualities and competences from the ownership group, we assisted in gaining consensus from the owners what must be addressed immediately by the next CFO along with understanding the importance of building trust between and among the ownership group. If we just considered the Position Specification of basic requirements as provided to us, as most search firms do, while there may be many qualified for consideration who meet the basic bar of acceptability as stated, our experience suggests that few, in the end, would possess the critical benchmarks…“The Who”… to succeed within our client’s unique set of circumstances.
Deciding and Evaluating “The Who”
Be a Tough Grader. Think about relevancy from a holistic view. While words can describe leadership characteristics, it’s the actions taken within specific circumstances that will/won’t bend the curve upward. Evaluate whether your leaders are hitting the marks with agility and resilience to address the “unforeseen”.
Align Each Leadership Position to Enterprise Value. Be clear and consistent about the expected contribution… “The Who.” Stick to the most important evaluative factors in selecting the best qualified. Don’t over-weigh the “nice to haves. To prepare for ‘pivots unknown’, continually and critically assess how your leaders are aligned to contribute going forward.
The Velocity of Change Requires Drilling Down. Holding onto your old “tried and true” leaders may keep your organization from advancing. Don’t wait to make leadership & leadership responsibility changes when warranted. Keep in mind that putting off decisions about “The Who” will be very costly to reverse and repair.
Attracting the Best Qualified. As no two situations are the same, when seeking a leadership change, be concise about what is truly unique about your organization; what you need now and in the future expectations from that role. While every company and leader believe that their situation requires a well-rounded, talented, and fully competent leader, few truly can describe “The Who” in detail, what that leader must provide to advance their organization. Make an upfront investment to identify and truly and deeply evaluate the “success subtleties “ when seeking true “bend the curve” difference makers.
To get “The Who” right, call on us. You will experience a difference.
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