Business

The Search for Executives

When you’re running a company, you need a team under you that you can rely on. If you can’t trust your executives, you’ll never be able to delegate effectively. Even if you assign out tasks and priorities, if you have a team you don’t trust to turn your targets into action you’ll find yourself hovering over them, micromanaging rather than being able to sit back and let your executives work for you. At best, you’re crushing a talented professional who could actually get you some great results. At worst, you’re exhausting yourself running your entire business effectively by yourself – that shouldn’t be the case beyond the early days of a start up and the founders who try it burn out hard and burn out fast.

That’s why it’s important to find yourself a team of executives who you can trust, and today we’re looking at the hiring process to help your search efforts.

Get the Professionals In

One of the most important things you can have in your C-Suite is a diverse group of people, with broad experience and talents. If you repeatedly hire from the same pool, you end up with all the senior decision makers in your business sharing the same narrow vision cone. That means you can’t see threats (or opportunities) that originate outside that vision cone.

You can’t build a broad base of experience and expertise, and give your company a broad vision cone if you’re only hiring the executives from within your own professional network. You can save yourself labour and also get access to a diverse pool of candidates by using a professional recruiter, and if you’re serious about your search, finding a global executive search firm.

Interviewing

Interviewing for an executive position is a very different prospect to interviewing for lower level jobs. You can, it is to be hoped, take their skills and qualifications as read: if they’ve been working at this level, they’ve earned it. What you need to assess is if they’re a good fit for your company, and if not, why.

You need to come up with questions and scenarios to dig into what they value and how they make their decisions. Try to not to deal in hypotheticals – don’t ask how they would deal with a problem you’ve made up, get into their history, find a challenging situation they’ve dealt with and break down their reactions. Why did they make that choice? How did they deliver this bad news? What drove them to a specific action?

Be prepared to be challenged: if someone makes decisions in a different way from you it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re wrong. It’s precisely this difference that could make them an asset. You need to decide how much divergence you’re comfortable with in your company, and be prepared for your assumptions to be challenged, and if you can’t justify them, deal with change!

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