Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Complex Executive Searches Take Different Directions

The complexities of an executive search sometimes reveal an unexpected direction that a nonprofit must take to effectively fill its leadership needs.

In its December issue of “Leadership Matters” Bridgestar features a case study of the search process for a chief operating officer (COO) at Fellowship Health Resources (FHR), a Rhode Island-based mental health services agency.

Here are five elements of the process:

  • Look at the search process strategically. Evaluate your organization’s growth and senior management needs. Consider the type of structure and the types of leaders you need.
  • Consider all candidates. Even if an organization has strong internal candidates, it’s important to open the search to a broader group. Vet internal candidates as carefully as you would external ones.
  • Have an open mind and be ready to shift your thinking. Many organizations mistakenly believe that the job requirements they determine at the beginning of the search are set in stone. As hiring managers meet candidates, they gain additional insight into the needs of the organization, the right fit for their culture and the important requirements for the position.
  • Have realistic expectations. The initial COO job description included a daunting list of required skills, as well as the expectation that the candidate would split time between the mid-Atlantic region and New England.
  • Reflect on the qualities of hires that worked and those that didn’t. The driving requirement for the search became finding a candidate who would thrive in FHR’s hands-on organizational culture and who really understood the nature of FHR’s business.

This article is from NPT Weekly, a publication of The NonProfit Times.
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