Establishing a strong leadership team
Establishing a strong leadership team, from senior management through to executive board, is critical to the sustainability and future success of a business. While all recruitment decisions are important, choosing the right board members can be one of the most challenging tasks a company can face. Assembling a team of high performing leaders who will drive strategy, mentor and invest in staff, shape company culture, and ultimately work effectively with each other requires skill, time and thought.
Jodie Woodrow, Pure Executive comments: “Senior personnel are key appointments that will impact the strategic direction of a business, ensuring that employees are engaged and motivated to deliver the planned vision of success in line with company values.”
Diversity and combined strengths
When looking to build senior leadership teams, diversity is widely accepted as being fundamental to sustained growth. A business needs a mix of voices, which reflects its breadth of stakeholders, chosen for their respective abilities and aptitudes, not just their experience in a role or industry. This results in stronger governance, better decision making and business strategy.
“This can be achieved through gender, ethnicity, age and different backgrounds, as well as looking at the skills and experience you already have in place and identifying any skills gaps. Appointing non-executive board members can also be a highly effective way of achieving this mix, providing not just relevant experience but an external viewpoint as well as acting as a ‘critical friend’ to the business ” explained Jodie.
The search criteria can also vary depending on the size and history of a business. Jodie commented: “The skills and experience needed to launch a business are different to the ones needed to manage an established company. Even when a business is well established, further strengthening the leadership team can support future growth by bringing in new ideas and experiences to help shape strategic direction.”
For example, Pure Executive has recently supported Stephen Walters and Sons Ltd in Sudbury to strengthen its board, appointing two new directors. This ten-generation family run business, which custom designs and weaves high quality fashion and furnishing fabrics, has been established for more than 300 years.
Julius Walters, Managing Director commented: “The decision to strengthen the board to this extent may be unusual for a family business of this size, but it is in line with the company’s ambitions as an industry leader. A strong, professional board with varied experience at the highest levels in related industries, brings a broader approach to setting and delivering tangible strategic plans.
“However, the strength in the board room must be complemented by a high level of engagement from the management team and the support of the company’s staff. This combination will allow the managing director and owner to focus on developing a company that continues to enhance customer value and is fit to meet the challenges of the future.”
However, for an appointment to be a long-term investment, Jodie believes that executive recruitment decisions must also take cultural fit into consideration. “It’s not just about finding the right skills and experience but also selecting those who will best suit the culture of the organisation. The candidate will need to be able to gain credibility and trust among existing teams and will only be able to authentically lead by example if they genuinely share the companies vision and values.”
Article was written for Suffolk Director Magazine October 2017 - https://www.suffolkdirector.com/
Jodie Woodrow is Senior Manager at Pure Executive, which specialises in identifying exceptional leaders for organisations across the East of England. To discuss strengthening your leadership team, contact Jodie on firstname.lastname@example.org.