Companies must continually evaluate their senior management teams to determine if they are composed of the right executives, today and for the future. As companies mature and grow, the senior executive team should also evolve. What a company needs from its senior executives will change as it reaches $1 million, $100 million or even a $1 billion in sales. Does your company have senior executives who can evolve with your company?
Answering that question requires, first and foremost, an understanding of your company’s current position in the marketplace, your culture and structure, your decision-making process, and your future growth plans. Will your company grow organically or through acquisition? Or are you maintaining the status quo to remain at your current size?
The next step is ensuring that your executive team has representation from a number of functional areas or disciplines. Each company, no matter what business it is in, should have senior team members who manage the following areas: leader/CEO/president, finance/CFO, operations/COO, HR, sales/marketing, and IT/technology. In order for a company to continue to succeed, each of these areas requires someone with deep knowledge of the functional area and a thorough understanding of what the company needs from that function to continue on its growth path.
Once all of the critical functions are represented,
it’s important to assess the individuals who are responsible for each of those areas. Are they proactive? Do they think both tactically for current situations as well as plan strategically for the future? Are they keeping up with trends in your industry and the marketplace and are they continuing to grow as individuals? Are they open to new ideas and willing to change, given changing trends? Flexibility and the passion to continuously learn are key attributes for senior executives to stay “fresh” and be helpful to a company’s growth.
As companies grow and evolve, they face new challenges that the current management team may or may not be able to handle. Recognizing when a senior executive needs to be replaced can be one of the hardest things a company must face, especially if that person has been loyal to the company. However, allowing one area to suffer can ultimately be a detriment to the entire company.
Finding the right person to add or to replace a member of the senior executive team can be tough. New people must fit with the culture of the company and with the personalities of the rest of the executive team. They must understand where the company has been and where it hopes to go. They must also be willing to listen to others and diplomatically implement change. In other words, experience and training are important, but fitting in with the rest of the senior executive team is the most critical factor.
Utilizing personality tests or an outside recruiter can help a company identify candidates who have the right blend of experience and personality traits. Often, it takes an outsider to highlight areas within an organization that may require a higher level of expertise or to objectively assess whether an executive will be the best fit for the company.
With a strong team in place, a company can grow and flourish. Without it, the future of the company, as well as all of its employees, can be at risk. That’s why it’s important to continuously evaluate your executive team to ensure
it is the right one for your company’s needs today as well as those in the future.