“The Story of Leadership Transition”
I was approached by a good friend back in 2018 who was CEO of a Tech firm on the West Coast. The business had just been bought by a Private Equity firm and he knew that his days were numbered.
He had been “head down” growing and building this business for the previous ten years and prior to this had a long corporate experience. In essence he hadn’t looked for a job for 25 years!
Faced with the fear of suddenly being on the job market he reached out to me and asked for help. I wasn’t sure what we could do, as I get asked for help everyday from senior leaders but something about this case was different.
Search consultants can help only 1% of their network at a time, they work on select, discreet and confidential roles.
Fact; There is only a 20% chance as a C-suite executive that your next challenge will come from a headhunter!
Most executives fall into the trap of waiting for the phone to ring, believing they have existing relationships with the Big 5 search firms who will look after them. This never happens.
Reality; search firms are engaged by their clients to typically search for very specific skill set. If you are a square peg you won’t fit!
Becoming tired of corporate life after 25 years is also a regular occurrence couple with a view that this next role could be your penultimate or ultimate executive role before you lean into your Board portfolio stage .
So back to my friend, he wanted help as the family were mobile and there was a strong desire to move back to the U.K. where the kids were born BUT the problem was he was even less networked there!
Together we assessed the problem and created our “reverse headhunting” and “4 bucket strategy” approach.
Our feeling was that he could impact in both executive and non-executive roles of certain growth stage or investor backed firms BUT he needed visibility on these business and investors.
So we broke it down. first looked at;
How visible was he on the market? Who knew him and who did he know? Where was he plugged in? How many Chairs and NED’ did he know?
We created our own “Visibility Quotient” diagnostic tool to assess how visible each executive is (try it on the link below, it’s complimentary and gives you a scoring versus your peers globally)
Here we assessed his CV, LinkedIn and Board Bio, he scored 5/10 on CV and LinkedIn, and didn’t have a one page Board Bio, so we set the team to work with him on scoring 9/10 and building his Bio.
He we looked at his 4 bucket strategy. What were the roles and businesses he felt he would impact in and have fun with, in this case;
Private Equity owned business where he could be the CEO
Taking over from an Entrepreneur who needed a more experienced leader to take the business to the next stage
Getting his first paid for Board role
Getting involved in sustainable businesses on a Not for Profit board.
From here we assessed his level of connections with decision makers across these 4 buckets. Our research team worked directly with him to build out 25 key contacts across each bucket. We then mapped out the key decision makers and helped him script various templates to make warm introductions.
From here the fun started, he began having conversations and conversations with many of these people, learning more about their challenges and building his confidence how he could help them. At the end of the process he was faced with the difficult choice of which opportunities to take!
The bottom line is you can let your transition happen and get luck or you can embrace it and own it. We are the team in your corner to support you through the core six months of your transition where you can set yourself up for success. Our team operate globally and specialise in C suite executives.