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C-suite roles, networking, executive recruiting and more
As the CEO of a privately held business, you wear many hats. In addition to setting and communicating goals and objectives and charting your firm's strategy, you must help achieve those objectives and navigate that strategy. However, once you reach a certain point, it can be overwhelming, if not impossible, to do all of this alone. Use these tips when you're hiring executives to help build out your C-suite.
1. Know what each C-suite role represents
The C-suite is typically comprised of the CEO, chief operating officer (COO) and chief financial officer (CFO). However, more and more companies have a chief marketing officer (CMO) or a chief technology officer (CTO). Knowing what each role represents will enable you to be strategic in the build-out of your team.
The CFO will help track and manage your money by forecasting future cash needs and making you aware of financial issues before they become serious. A CMO can help to drive the marketing portion of your strategy in a highly competitive market where your business strategy may depend heavily on your marketing efforts. Since a COO drives the more complex aspects of your operations, this will be a key addition if your business is operationally intensive or has ongoing operational issues. If advanced technology development is critical to your strategy, then a CTO will be vital.
2. Hire to your most immediate need
For most companies, one of the first team members to onboard is the CFO, since tracking and understanding financials is critical to successfully operating any business. According to McKinsey, a high performing CFO is a change agent, with a strong finance background who also has strategy and leadership skills. A good CFO will work with you and others in the company to ensure that everyone understands the financial drivers as well as the basic financial metrics they impact and how that affects the company's financials.
If you're "losing" revenue to returns, reworks, or re-deliveries or incurring additional costs due to customer service or vendor issues, your profits will drop. To address these situations, hire a COO. Similarly, if you are having problems with sales or raising prices, hire a CMO who, according to Entrepreneur, will help you position and differentiate products and services while making customers crave your offerings.
3. Network to find candidates
If you already have a sizable network or enjoy networking, let everyone know what position you want to fill and the kind of person you want to fill it. You may be able to raise your networking profile by polishing not just your firm's online reputation, but your own as CEO.
By raising your profile through interviews or thought leadership initiatives delivered via podcasts, videos or articles, you can lessen the work required to identify candidates as they may actually self-select and reach out to you.
4. Use executive recruiting assistance as needed
Hiring executives — recruiting, interviewing and onboarding — to round out your C-suite can be very time-consuming. According to Entrepreneur, executive search firms, although expensive, can be well worth it as they perform due diligence and provide well-screened candidates that fit your criteria, thus saving you significant time. These firms will usually have a much broader reach than you do, specializing in your industry or geography and providing you with extra expertise.
5. Maximize the value of your C-suite
You can build cohesiveness by setting long-term goals with your executive team and crafting a strategic plan. Holding bi-weekly meetings with clear agendas and assigning actionable deliverables as a team will also build trust and inter-reliance. Be very clear about responsibilities and keep everyone accountable through quarterly reviews, whether informal or formal. By doing this, you will fully maximize the value of your executive team to you and to the company.
Hiring executives to build your senior management team is an important step in your firm's growth trajectory. The right mix — not just of skills and abilities but also of personalities and management styles — is foundational to a cohesive team that embraces your firm's mission and goals.