Investor Spotlight: How to Guide an Executive Search to Success



As an investor and board member, your unique perspective can help guide an executive search to success. You are more emotionally removed from the day-to-day pressures a CEO faces and this distance puts you in the best place to uphold the mission, vision and prosperity of the organization while remaining a fiduciary to shareholders.
You might at times intuitively sense when a CEO is about to make a mistake. The right board mentorship and participation can help a startup founder avoid serious blunders. One of the worst mistakes a CEO can make is selecting a bad executive hire. Failed executive searches cost up to 5 times the annual salary. The wrong executive hire at a high-growth business costs significantly more than at a slower growth company. It can literally put your survival at stake when an executive leadership role is involved.
On the other hand, the positive impact of a successful executive search is a 1,000 percent ROI. When it comes to your important executive search, the costs add up to one conclusion: get it right the very first time, every time you secure a hire in a key leadership role.
To ensure a successful search and maximize ROI, here are 3 important steps to take:
1. Refocus On Strategic Priorities
The CEO of the company is facing enormous pressure. Either the company is in the midst of tremendous growth and the need for a functional leader will help keep the train from derailing; or, the team is overworked and performance numbers are suffering. In both these scenarios, a CEO might decide to act fast and settle for a candidate that is “good enough” — at the expense of long-term strategic priorities. The right board mentorship and participation can help a startup founder avoid a bad hire, double down and refocus on strategic priorities.
2. Define The Success Factors
After you’ve rallied your executive leadership around the mission and strategic priorities of the company, make sure you are also crystal clear on what the success factors are for the leader you need to place. What do they need to accomplish and what will success look like for them? How will they help drive the strategic priorities?
3. Run A Core Fit Selection™ Process
The biggest factor determining the success or failure of a leader at any company is a core values match between his or her personal DNA the cultural DNA of the organization. Core competencies (the basis for strong technical chops) allow a leader to be effective in a role, while core values alignment (the basis for strong culture fit) is what pushes leaders to achieve their own purpose and the mission of the company. As an investor or board member, you have a broader perspective of what the values of the organization are and what core values a candidate must have in order to align with the mission of the company.
The utilization of venture capital is best applied toward the acquisition of the right human capital.


Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by Steve Jurvetson

About the author: Dave Carvajal

Dave Carvajal built HotJobs (650 employees, IPO & $1.2B market cap then sold to Yahoo!) as Co-founder & TheLadders (400 employees, $80M revs) where he focused on attracting, retaining and developing all employees. These days he’s asked by top VCs and CEOs of high-growth startups to build their Boards and leadership teams with the top 1% of A+ executive talent. He is an Ironman and lives in NJ with his wife where he is co-founder of twin boys and a pup named Clover.

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