Large companies can craft robust succession plans, while middle-market and start-up companies often need help developing successors. CEOs impact the company’s strategy, execution, and business and financial performance. Finding the right CEO is the board of directors’ most important task. From the board perspective, no one on the outside could completely understand the nuances of your business, culture, and your company’s situation within the industry better than an insider. External candidates will always need time to adjust and require the guidance and support of the board to succeed. So how do you find the right CEO, and what resources are available to you?
First, to get what you want, you must know what you want. What are your objectives?
What is working, and what is different from your current situation? What criteria are you going to measure
each candidate against? How will you measure success once you hire the person?
Second, exploring multiple scenarios and planning for contingencies is always a good idea. You may be looking for the right person for a little longer than you would like. Do you have a member of the board of directors step in temporarily? Do you hire an interim executive? Who within the company
could take on some of the responsibility?
Third, assign a board member to oversee the search and drive for results. This person needs to make finding the right CEO their highest priority. Often it is best not assigned to the Chairman but to another board member. This person works to define the expectations and goals for the position, works with the executive search professional to develop a position description, performs the initial interviews, helps build consensus among the board members, and assists in creating a smooth recruiting and hiring process ( which is essential to attract quality talent).
Fourth, look for qualities that are universal to high-level performers. Some of the things you want to
look for are:
Track record of demonstrated Good Judgment
Capable (experience with a similar situation/industry)
Capacity Builder – will know how to lead you to optimum results.
High Energy and High Endurance
Visionary and Strategic Leader
Inspiring, Courageous, and Compassionate
History of Building Productive Relationships with colleagues, partners, and other stakeholders
Embraces and Leads through Change
Fifth, engage an executive search firm and work with the firm to:
1. Manage and drive the process
2. Build consensus among board members
3. Remain objective about the hire – we know how chemistry alone can result in a poor choice and objectivity will help you avoid deciding on pure chemistry.
4. Reach out to people outside of your network – you will see more and possibly better talent
5. Create a decision partner – someone who has worked with many companies at these decision
points and understands your pressures. You can trust a decision partner to help you make the right decision.
6. Create a choice. Ultimately, you want to choose between 2 or 3 very appropriate candidates who
could all do the job. Then the only decision becomes who is the very best for us.
7. Be a negotiation partner. Often recruiters can help you build trust with the chosen candidate
during the negotiation process by becoming an interested negotiator and helping keep emotions
to a minimum during the often tricky offer process.
Solid CEOs are hard to find, and the process is sometimes challenging to manage without the assistance of a professional search executive. A good search professional will keep the process moving quickly to a solution, build consensus, and minimize pure emotional decision-making. In most cases, working with a professional search executive provides you with higher-quality candidates. A good search professional will take most of the heavy lifting out of finding and securing the Right CEO.
Raynak executive search has over 20 years of working with boards and executive teams to place the right executive – we are so confident we will find and hire influential executives that we guarantee it.