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Can you lead a high performance team? Do you have the right “bench?”

Key tips for identifying the right candidates for executive leadership within your organization

Many companies are so busy running the business that they simply don’t take the time to properly cultivate their most valuable asset; the talent of their people. Having the right people in the right roles can release the creativity and power needed to win in a competitive marketplace. This is especially true with regard to the executive team. It’s not easy feat to lead a high performance team, nor is it easy to chose one. As an effective leader, there are many things to consider in selecting the right people to be on your executive team. Who you have on the “bench” is more important than you may know.


Properly staffing the Executive Team requires:

  1. Clarification of vision and values. You simply can’t know the kind of talent you need on the leadership team until you know where you are going and how fast you want to get there.  The most powerful executive teams have a shared dream that they are fully committed to fulfill.  Your dream will identify holes in your “bench”.  Clarifying your values allows you to know who will fit and not fit your corporate culture. The better the fit, the more collaboration, communication and support the team will experience.
  2. Select competencies. Now that you know the roles you need to fill on the team to fulfill the vision, you can determine the competencies requires for each role.  One of my clients sold all of their products to the Department of Defense. Their vision is to diversify into the commercial market.  They desperately need a leader of business development who has many different competencies than the person who now holds that position.
  3. Nominate candidates. Now you know what roles you need to add and when you need to add them.  You also have defined the competencies for each role.  You can now evaluate talent throughout your organization to see who might be able to grow into those positions.  Growing internal talent is a wonderful incentive to others in your organization who want to expand their career.  Nominate those with potential to participate in development for the needed roles.  Where you don’t have internal nominees, consider hiring new employees who have the needed competencies. In doing so, you increase your bench strength.
  4. Development.  Create development plans for each nominee. Development plans should include new assignments, cross training, coaching, educational opportunities and mentoring all of which is designed to hone the competencies needed to function effectively on the Executive Team.  Even though not all nominees will ultimately be added to that team, they will all become more useful to the organization through this process.
  5. Selection.  You now have a wealth of talent who are all reasonable candidates for leadership positions.  It is so important that you make the “right” selections for participation on the Executive Team.  Even though it may be difficult for those not selected to feel okay about being passed over, it is easier to accept when it is clear the best candidate was chosen. Moreover, your growing business will have other opportunities for strong and competent leaders.


It will take some work to develop and run a talent management system for your company. But, such a system will be continually growing and expanding the talent within your organization.


About Jack Skeen

Jack Skeen
Jack Skeen, founder of Skeen Leadership, has been coaching bright and successful leaders for close to two decades, spending thousands of hours addressing every imaginable leadership, business and life issue with wisdom and professionalism.

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