Appointing leaders with 'situational experience' to achieve growth plans

As an ambitious SME owner/founder, you might well have prioritised ‘industry experience’ when making appointments to your leadership team. 

It only makes sense, right?

You sell software (for example), so you want your next Senior Leadership Team (SLT) member to know how to sell software. We would describe this as appointing someone with the ‘domain experience’ that matches your business. 

This can work out, but sometimes it doesn’t.   

If you only focus on leaders with matching domain experience, you run the risk of missing out on excellent candidates who have the right ‘situational experience’, i.e. they’ve already been on the same journey your company is on.

Business leaders like this could complement the existing SLT to drive your SME’s growth.  

Leadership Dynamics

Leadership Dynamics can identify those business leaders whose situational experience makes them perfect for your unique needs, based on your SME’s value creation plan and stage of growth. Find out more here.

Recent successes

Rowan recently appointed a Sales Director from a B2B technology company to a hardware manufacturer.   

The hardware business needed a leader who had PE experience, and who had personally driven a high-growth strategy and led an international team.  

We used the PACE tool to assess the candidate’s behavioural tendencies and international leadership ability, as well as the behavioural tendencies of the existing SLT. We then ran a complementarity report to assess how the candidate would potentially fit into the SLT and whether they would be able to successfully help execute the business’ value creation plan.    

The report confirmed that this Sales leader – who had an innovative approach to sales, a track record of digitising sales processes, and direct experience growing an international sales platform – was the right candidate for this particular SME’s growth journey. 

Additionally, we recently appointed a CFO to a healthcare business, whose background was in B2B wholesale. Our client had received primary PE investment, and their value creation plan involved scaling up, expanding the service offering and increasing operational efficiencies. 

We identified that this finance leader had situational experience that would be valuable to our client. He had been on a comparable growth journey with a privately owned B2B business, and had helped prepare the business for a sale and driven efficiencies to increase EBITDA.  

An arm’s-length analysis of the candidate against the client’s SLT showed excellent complementarity, and our team assessed that he had the potential to be an excellent match for the SME. The client confirmed this at the interview stage and hired this finance leader as CFO. 

The right business leaders for your journey

When you’re on a growth or transformation journey, having a business leader alongside you who has played a key role in a similar journey with another business, regardless of the sector, is likely to bring you more success than just focusing on a domain expert.

‘Complementarity’ is the most important factor in ensuring your leadership team is right for your company ambitions, and the Leadership Dynamics tool enables us to ‘plug any gaps’ and enhance the knowledge and experience of the SLT.

Contact us to find out more about Leadership Dynamics, and how it can help you to find the right business leaders to drive your SME’s growth and achieve primary investment.