sector insights
07 f 2018

The Perfect CEO

Finding the right person to lead your organisation daunts and haunts many Boards.

Through our specialised HR division, HR for Hire, we can guide you through the process, or you can engage us to undertake the search, perform due diligence, on probable candidates, and conduct preliminary interviews to narrow the results to a very short list for your consideration and ultimate choice. 

We will locate candidates with a track record of success, with the right credentials to be your new CEO. We dont just advertise and hope for the best, this is a tired lazy approach of some consultancies. We will also proactively identify a number of people whose experience and achievements look close to the DNA of the person you are seeking.  

Of course, you want someone who shares your values and your Vision for your organisation, someone with a proven track record of producing results.

After the new CEO has been recruited through our process of rigorous vetting, the process by which you transition from the old leadership to the new can make all the difference.

The on-boarding process has to be rich, carefully-crafted, and aligned with your vision for the Organisation.

To do this, an incoming leader must explicitly recognise and accept that their primary purpose is to head towards the Organisation’s vision. A vision that includes the reason the Organisation exists as well as its results, culture, beneficiary characteristics, beneficiary experience, policies, etc.

Once that’s established, the Board and the incoming CEO need to share an appreciation for the knowledge transfer that has to occur between them. No doubt, there’s a tremendous amount of invaluable experience residing in the Board which has to be carefully imparted to the new CEO in order to successfully work towards an Organisation’s vision.

This knowledge transfer can typically take several months, involving hours of time with regular meetings between the President or Chair and the CEO, getting to know each other; building trust in each other’s judgment; and creating continuous opportunities to share thinking, approaches, and outcomes.

This time is also a chance for the Chair/ Board to share the Organisation’s history so that the incoming leader understands how it informs the present.

At some point, the Board has to let go. If the knowledge transfer happens with the mutual care that’s required, this will happen organically in one area of the business after another. As trust builds, and the Board experiences the incoming CEO’s respect for the Organisation they’ve built and their ability to make it better, then the Board can let go of control. The authority for running the organisation is where it belongs: in the hands of the person the Board has hired.

This onboarding process requires a substantial investment of time and energy by the Chair and other members of the Board and needs to be considered when considering whether to terminate or rehabilitate the existing CEO.

To maximise the chances of recruiting the right, high performing CEO, then simply trusting the background and experience of the incoming CEO to do what they consider is best is a risky approach.

If you recognise that personal investment in a better way to effect the transition to a new CEO, then there is a better chance to develop an organisation without the need for control by the Board. However, letting go of control does not mean failing to oversee.

Phil Day and Ron Palmer from NFP Success combined to write this article and between them have assisted many Boards recruit high impact CEO's.