When I start an executive search process it is remarkable that some clients have not developed a strategy to successfully integrate the new executive into the company’s short and long-term plan. The reasons vary. Sometimes it’s assumed the new executive will figure out the plans and develop the strategy. Sometimes the client wants to discuss the strategy and plan with the candidates, and, sometimes there is no short and long term plan.
- Does this sound confusing?
- Why do I think it’s important to have a strategy and a plan?
Starting The Search – It Is A Process
When I engage a client to perform an executive recruitment I know the client has invested their financial and talent resources expecting a strong return on their investment. I know from experience that “A” level talent expects to see a client’s short and long-term plan. After all, it’s part of their evaluation of the company’s ability to set and achieve goals and their own capacity to influence the achievement of those goals.
In a recent search for a CFO the client had not developed a short and long-term plan or the strategy.
- So, which came first, the chicken or the egg?
- Could they get there from here?
- Where is the start – the end?
- What did they want the CFO to influence?
Three Important Tasks
I knew that the highly qualified CFO candidates I interviewed would be asking us a series of questions about the company’s plans, so my role in this process became threefold:
- First, I worked with the client to identify the short and the long-term plan and goals,
- Second, I developed the strategy to integrate the CFO into the company’s short and long-term plan, and
- Third, I conducted the search.
The first task involved a series of interviews with key staff as well as a records review of policies, procedures, and financial data. These interviews and reviews enabled us to work with ownership to clarify past accomplishments, and create a benchmark for the short and long term plan, as well as clarify the client’s mission and vision, and to define their goals, strategies, and action steps. I then helped them quantify these using the One Page Business Plan® process. A couple of things happened once I did this.
The client determined that:
- They needed to reallocate their sales force to a more clearly defined competitive market for their services,
- They needed to invest talent and resources to develop these services, and
- They needed a different type of CFO for the position, especially one who would take ownership of and provide leadership to the company’s short and long term plan.
After completing the first and second step I developed a very clear and concise profile of the “A” level CFO candidate. I understood the profile for the candidate: their personality, their values, and how they thought and made decisions. I understood the kind of experience they needed to succeed and overachieve in the position.
“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.”
When Benjamin Franklin (amongst others) opined about the preparation of a plan he included the consequence. When a business decides it wants to grow – without a plan – there’s a 40% chance it will succeed – or not. When a business decides it wants to grow – with a plan – there’s a much better chance, often upwards of 70% chance that the business will grow.
A Focused Planning Process
As an executive recruitment specialist, I know that if a client wants to grow their company they must grow their people. A well-constructed and focused planning process when coupled with a well-designed executive recruitment process will help the client retain executive talent that will help them to achieve greater leadership through improved:
- Strategic Thinking,
- Goal Setting,
- Decision Making,
- Execution, and
At the completion of my search for the client who needed a new CFO, the owner told me that initially he thought taking all that time and effort to establish their plan and strategy would be a time waster; after all, he thought he just needed to hire a new CFO.
He wondered why I thought it was important to do more than help him to hire a new employee, but he answered his own question by stating he was thrilled with the process and the results.
The answer to me is simple. I believe that for my search process to be successful I need to create an opportunity for your company to grow and be more successful through my efforts.
Yes, I am an executive search firm that has a firm grasp and expertise in the search process, as well as expertise in business planning, strategy, execution. It works for me, my clients, and my talent.