Executive Search: Ensuring a Correct Match for Your Company’s Future

Every company that weathers the test of time will eventually require a replacement, succession, or enhancement to the founder, executive, leader, top-level manager, or the career path for top performers. Before getting to the point of promoting from within vs. hiring from outside, which both have risks and rewards, there are more steps and strategies needed to assure the smooth continuation of the company’s ecosystem.

This article will discuss steps to help avoid leaving results – and the future of the company – to chance. It will also explore how to focus an executive search on the type of person who will fit the organization’s culture, what to look for in a candidate, and how to use the results to plan for the company’s succession.

Strategic Plan Implementation

A company’s current and future executive, managerial, and operational human resources (HR) structure must be part of its strategic plans for growth, stability, and sustainability.

High turnover at any level of the company can have devastating results in organizational performance and outcome. However, low turnaround can be just as problematic if overall strategic plans aren’t being met with the current resources.

One important topic that cannot be neglected is the measurement of growth and stability. In addition to measuring growth by financial performance, organizational growth and stability can and should be measured by such factors as:

  • Positive work environment
  • Stable workforce
  • Full engagement

Favorable changes at any level cause positive and negative ripple effects in the company’s performance. An exchange at the highest levels of the organization can be as difficult to manage as trying to combine two company cultures after a merger and acquisition (M&A).

Assessing the Company’s Internal Environment: What Does “Success”ion Look Like?

In order to accept an internal or external replacement or enhancement, a company’s executive search should start with an internal assessment of its current structure and capabilities. A true assessment of the organization’s environment focuses the search on the type of person who will fit the company’s culture.

Do owners want the company to succeed beyond them? Do stockholders want to retire with enough money to enjoy life? Should the company be or become independent of its founders or owners for survivability?  

In most businesses and organizations, founders and owners are part of the glue that holds the company together. Separation is a significant emotional event, so an assessment of the current state of the business and the founders or owners will help identify the appropriate candidates for the job.

Many companies use headhunters or HR firms for executive searches or rely on their banks for M&A valuations; however, it is likely that those external parties will only look at it from their own center of expertise. An independent assessment should start with an understanding of the past successes, ownership, and operational models that have assured those successes and also provide a look ahead to what the business needs to survive and thrive in any future conditions.

To begin the assessment, the company’s structure and operational model should be identified as traditional, transitional, or professional.

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