Of all the personnel your firm may hire, none can be so transformative or so destructive as a new CEO. The right person, with the appropriate character, skills and abilities, can take your business to a new level. The wrong person can send your business into a tailspin and consume enormous amounts of staff time and energy on organizational upheavals. Both the process and the selection must be conducted transparently, thoroughly and disinterestedly.
Bringing on a new CEO, even in the best of circumstances, inevitably is disruptive. An open succession plan can help to alleviate some of the uncertainty and anxiety that accompanies a change in leadership. Even so, every leader is different, and some people’s personalities and values change once they assume the top position. Rarely do candidates possess all the qualities and experience one might want in a CEO, so consideration must be given not only to who is hired to fill the position, but also to who will fill the other needed skills or abilities. It is easy to focus on a new CEO’s strengths and overlook where else the firm may be vulnerable.
Understandably, firms often look for qualities in a new CEO that the previous CEO lacked. The danger is in losing perspective and failing to select a candidate that brings a balance of needed talents and connections AND demonstrated leadership (not management) skills and practices. Someone whose vision is consonant with the firm’s, who will put the firm’s interests first, and who can and will communicate with employees and knows how to earn their respect and trust.
If this sounds like a tall order, it’s because it is. But it is not unattainable. At Design Management Company we have the resources, the connections and the know-how to help you find the very best candidates for your particular firm. We work with you to identify your needs, plan for growth and establish the criteria to screen out unsuitable applicants. Contact us to find out how we can improve your process, outcome and transition for the toughest hire you may ever make.