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Sunday, June 28, 2009

4 Steps to Building a Successful Executive Team

The solution is so simple - hire the right executives! Great; how do you do that? Everyone has heard horror stories. John Doe, president of ABC Technology Solutions, hires highly credentialed, recommended, and well presenting Bob Starkey as CEO, who is going to grow the company and take it to the next level. And, here is a real life example of an outcome that is too common: despite everything going really well several months into Bob's role as CEO, with new clients and engaged employees - it is all actually a delusion. Within twelve months, the company is almost bankrupt, the CEO has to be fired, and there is a major staff turnover.

The wrong executive can wreak havoc on your business and cost you several times the salary you were paying them. The path to a successful executive team involves 4 steps for hiring the right leaders and setting the stage for success:

1. Articulate a compelling purpose for the position, one that is clearly defined and meets the values and vision of the organization. It will drive your efforts in the right direction.

2. Make sure that each position and that each person you're considering will leave the other people in your company feeling stronger and more confident. If this executive is not supporting the employees you have, you've just created more work for yourself and are jeopardizing productivity and the company culture.

3. Identify detailed, thorough criteria of the right person including professional, technical and psychological qualities. If you don't know exactly who the right executive is, you won't know precisely which characteristics to target or be able to find her or him.

4. Outline the tools and processes which all the executives (including yourself) will be using and then cultivate them with strategies of effective senior teams. It will lay the foundation and be your path to "walk the walk" of success for your company.

While the solution is simple, hiring the right executive for your company is not something you should do alone. If your executive coach has training in team dynamics, assessments, and can assist you with processes and screenings, this person is your ideal choice to partner with in your search for the right executives. Along with expertise, they are likely to have some of the most intimate knowledge of you and your company including your vision and the needs of the company. Another trusted advisor could be the next place to look for support in this endeavor.

Remember, though, diligence in the roll-out is just as important as good decision-making! To prepare for and lay the foundation for success of the new executive, clearly identify: your vision for the organization; how you will evaluate their effectiveness; and the principles and strategies you will use to solve problems.

- Vision: For each position, list the major goals that directly contribute to the company's vision. The executive's buy-in of the goals is critical to their achievement.
- Progress Monitoring: List the metrics of successful benchmarks under each goal and set periodic review meetings. It is important to adjust strategies within reasonable time frames.
- Approach to problem-solving: Problems are inevitable. To circumvent major consequences, avoid making assumptions, be honest and candid with the executive, and participate in training and development. 


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