What Types of Executives are Attracted to Struggling Companies?

execunetselect-downward-chart-trendMany executives considering a career move are attracted by a company that’s strong, growing and looks like it will be around for a while.

However, those who I refer to as “problem solvers” view security and stability as boring: the messier, the better. How do you know if you – or someone you’re recruiting – are the type of leader who is more likely to run into a burning building rather than away from it?

Here are three ways to tell if your company might require a problem-solver:

  • Major challenge: problem-solvers are wicked smart and assume they can fix the hairiest of problems. It doesn’t scare them that there’s a lot of pressure to produce in the C-suite or a key management position. They’re like first responders in a way: they live for the adrenaline rush and would be bored out of their minds if they were put into a maintenance role at a stable company.
  • Long odds: when I recruit for positions at challenging companies, the executives who are intrigued are those who like to have their backs against the wall. They don’t let others’ lack of success or their own potential failures hold them back. Instead, they’re propelled by their confidence that they’ve beaten the odds before and can do it again.
  • Limited commitment: problem-solvers aren’t in it for the 20-year gold watch. They know they won’t finish their careers at this company and are more concerned about getting their mettle tested. They assume the turnaround will happen within a few years – if it happens at all – and then they’ll be on to their next adventure.

When I talk with potential problem-solvers on behalf of a struggling company, they want the unvarnished truth, not rose-colored glasses. I balance the attractive parts of the job with the ones that might make a typical person say, “No, way.” That’s why it takes a special person to predict potential success where just about everyone else sees an impossible mess.



Hanold Associates

Hanold Associates

Hanold Associates is the leading boutique retained executive search firm focused on recruiting distinctive human resources leaders. With a track record of successfully recruiting CHROs and other key human capital leaders, we have earned a reputation for insightful and nuanced cultural advisory work built on a platform of strong capability supported by a rigorous and artful approach in assessing cultural fit. Hanold Associates works with CEOs, CHROs, heads of talent acquisition and other key stakeholders to develop thoughtful and strategic solutions around transitions in the human resources function.

Throughout our process, you can be assured that you will receive timely, authentic and critical perspectives from the market. We strive to provide innovative and up-to-date counsel to our clients so they can make thoughtful, well-informed and confident decisions about critical human capital moves.

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