Sometimes it’s worth taking the extra step to understand what’s really going on, rather than just trying to power through. Say you’re a new chief marketing officer or operational executive in a company with lofty goals to achieve. Building a new team, or reconfiguring an existing one requires really understanding all of the individual personalities/skills/experiences within the group and strengths/weaknesses with which to draw from and minimize to ensure success.
The short version of the story
A newly acquired company in the financial services industry brought in a new CEO and CMO and needed to build out a senior management team in short order. I had worked with the CMO in a previous capacity and we stayed in touch. We put our heads together on the business goals and people capabilities needed to ramp up quickly and achieve results for the Private Equity owner. The answer was a diverse team of marketing and product experts capable of developing the strategic pathway and closely managing the operational execution.
Growing from one to many
Recruiting is a journey that should lead to strong relationships that stand the test of time.
A few years ago, a senior executive whom I had known for many years asked us to become a partner to build a new team. He needed to define the next level beneath the C-Suite, decide upon areas of responsibility, develop KPI’s, and marry all to the company goals and objectives.
This group would become the foundation for the next several years. And there was no clarity around the exact mix of people needed to accomplish the results.
You can probably appreciate how this is a critical moment in my client’s career: he needed to be on target with these hires.
This leader was putting together a senior management team. He was also creating the foundation of a culture based on ethos and purpose, and he understood the value of diversity and inclusivity (before it was fashionable).
We collaborated on a team development approach. First, we worked backward from company goals to understand the competencies needed. Then, we mapped those roles/goals to possible titles and career stage experience. We set out to understand all the potential combinations of roles/titles/experiences before connecting with any candidates.
We weren’t looking just to individual contributors in isolation. The idea was to build a cohesive team: complementary skills, personalities, and viewpoints would be critical. And diversity of thought, background, and experience was paramount.
And one more thing
Given the nature of the organization, we needed people that truly embraced an ‘entrepreneurial mindset.’ So, all candidates needed to exude confidence, crave ownership, love risk-taking, and exhibit a comfort working closely with the executive team daily.
These are decisions you cannot afford to rush, even when you’re in a hurry. Each new hire had to count and hit the ground running. The approach we used to identify the right combination of skills, experience, and mindset was more critical than the simple goal of filling positions.
The journey was as important as the destination. We collaborated in a way that allowed a free exchange of information. We wanted deeper personal connections to emerge from the process. Observing the chemistry among candidates was part of it.
It was a unique experience for all involved.
Trust, the X factor
This was one of those projects that took a tremendous amount of trust. As the person who brought an outside perspective, I’m grateful for the trust the executive team placed in me. I had the opportunity to assist in building a team that would become the foundation of a truly successful company.
In turn, I trusted that senior management would listen and see me as a true partner. The candidates trusted that the hiring process was fair and true to the company’s vision and mission. Our goal was to identify the best team for company success.
Everyone’s onboarding was filled with excitement, conviction, and an understanding of the challenges ahead, the company’s goals, and their specific role and responsibility to make them happen. How we achieved the hiring goal was even more important than the actual goal.