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She lists three key insights every business owner should remember when starting a Search:
As the business grows, owners of family businesses face a challenge to transition towards more structured management, rigorous strategic planning and the need to bring in new skills to improve efficiency and profitability.
Oftentimes it means a search for new CEO with strong track record of leading growing enterprises and success in international expansion.
In the majority of cases, recruiters have to consider more factors than usual, including a company history, family dynamics and core values, traditions and expectations of the workforce.
Furthermore, it is critically important to ensure that the owner and candidate share a joint vision regarding the owner’s involvement into decision making once the new CEO is in place.
For an external CEO to be successful in a family businesses he/she needs to build strong relationship with the owners. It is impossible without shared values and beliefs- these are as important as professional skills and competencies.
In fact cultural fit is a critical element that makes or breaks long term future collaboration. Therefore the sourcing of candidates should include a particular emphasis on the candidate‘s ability to connect with the company’s values and mission.
How fast does the the owner want to reach the targets? How is the timeline viewed by the new CEO? How long and what errors will be tolerable? When and how will both the owner and CEO know their relationship works? Both sides tend to rush and to forget that expectations should be specified in great detail and efforts should be made to establish a realistic rather than an optimistic timeline. A time buffer should be in place bearing in mind that the owner knows what they want, but knowledge transfer does not happen in a couple of weeks.
To understand the candidates’ market is not an easy task for those who never dealt with it. Hiring for family owned business requires deep expertise and abilities to facilitate the dialogue between the owner and potential hire to ensure the match. Furthermore, it requires a well detailed on-boarding process which often gets forgotten. Experienced consultants should be the advisor to both parties in order to ensure an optimal outcome.