Tips for hiring leadership in 2016


With your eye on the next year, it is important that you have good leadership in place right from January 1. This means that if you haven’t yet started planning your leadership team for the next year, you are behind by at least six months. A leader will help you grow, overcome challenges or meet mid to long-term goals. It does not matter who you are as an entrepreneur or a business leader in a global firm; you know you are only as good as your leadership. This critical function needs significant focus and direction.

So, is your leadership team in place? After all, it takes even senior leaders about a quarter to settle in and get your business on the road to high performance and high impact. If they aren’t on board on January 1, how will they understand your business, build plans, and put them into action, starting April 1? You could push it out by a quarter, so that new people join by early April and you still get nine to 10 months to execute plans.

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So, let’s talk about your hiring needs, and bucket these into categories that you can quickly identify. For each category, we present some skills and competencies that you should look to hone into the right candidate quickly. Let’s look at the three broad categories that you might need to hire next year.

Organic market developers

Organic market developers are good at incubating a business or business unit and taking it to the next level. Technology, new media and e-commerce businesses will hire OMDs this year, while some large Indian conglomerates will look at the same skills to incubate new business units as well.

If this is what you need, then look for a person with an entrepreneurial outlook. The incumbent must have the agility to quickly put the building blocks of an organisation with the right value propositions. The outlook for such a role must be at least three years. Along with these basic competencies, also ensure the incumbent has relevant experience in the local market and in incubating similar businesses. Without this knowledge, it may take the person too long to deliver.

Once you find the right market developer, he or she will ease your market entry.

Inorganic market makers

Most organisations aim at a growth that is significantly faster than the market. If the organisation has a similar vision of growth, then it needs inorganic market makers (IMMs). Stable organisations growing at industry standard or thereabouts needs IIMs. They are senior executives that can grow marketshare by identifying new markets, products and services quickly. They are also adept at using innovative strategies to grab the marketshare from competitors.

An incumbent will have a track record of achieving these goals in previous roles and organisations. He or she would have done so by either scaling presence in the market, or new product development and launches. If you need to hire an IMM, then look at competencies and experience in exponentially growing the business. Domain experience and expertise must supplement these competencies.

An IMM has years of experience in relevant domains and can handle process operations with a strong leadership role. They are senior to mid-level employees that band the management and junior employees, creating a strong execution engine for the organisation.

Turnaround specialists

Typically, organisations that are under-performing but are in high opportunity segments need turnaround specialists. If you have the right product or service but are unable to create or gain share over the last year or two, review your business and leadership. You probably lack the right leadership to create healthy growing business or gain marketshare. You must hire a turnaround specialist with a great track record.

During the hiring process, focus on an individual’s track record of successfully re-launching exciting products or services. This person must have redeveloped and redesigned distribution or sales strategies. If your financials are looking weak, then also focus on someone with proven record of restructuring debt and financial structures while reorganising the business.

Domain doyens

These are people on the expert track. They are specialists and thought leaders. They handle top responsibilities, heading departments and business verticals. Ideally, these resources are deployable, in research and innovation, new product development, or putting together mid to long-term strategies based on predictive analytics. Their competencies would necessarily be the ability to think through any opportunity, identify the building blocks, and develop strategies, to address specific market opportunities.

If you want to make a difference in your business, look for visible thought leaders with a proven record. A person who has created or developed innovative businesses knows his sector, product, and geography.

In 2016, we see a huge demand for domain doyens in digital marketing and analytics. While these resources may seem priced much higher than in the last two years, remember that this person will have the capability to manage a complete business unit. So, look for domain experts with strong experience and proficiencies backed up by strong knowledge of their field, tools and techniques.

About the Author:

Punit Vanvaria is the CEO of Corner Office Advisors, a global retained executive search brand. As a talent adviser, Punit helps organisations develop people and organisation strategies linked to business priorities. Punit worked at Microsoft India for nine years before turning entrepreneur. During his stint at Microsoft, he was a part of the India Leadership Team for three years.

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)


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