Homework for the Candidate President

Hiring someone to lead an organization, even with a terrific recruitiment/assessment process is a crapshoot (technical term). “You do everything right and your odds of a fit for the long term are 50/50,” said one of my CEO Group members to another.

The process may include behavioral interviewing, serious (third party) reference checking and assessments, dinner with spouses, a golf or other outing, interviews of candidates by senior executives and board members and on and on for the top position. And they are all usually both necessary and worthwhile. But something else is incredibly revealing: a homework assignment .

One CEO recruiting a president/potential successor has had the final candidates sign an NDA, disclosed financials and the stratplan and given the candidates one week to turn in these homework assignments:

– critique of the stratplan
– their own vision for 2016
– their first-90-day milestones
– a brief essay on the rewards and challenges of being #2 to this specific CEO

Those who won’t play are probably not worth pursuing. And, when I have seen this approach in the past, it has been revelatory of who can and who cannot read financial statements, think strategically, see the business as a whole, think outside the box. Later this year, I will post about the results of this most recent activity because the talent market is different from a few years ago.

That’s just my view. What’s yours. Please leave a comment.


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What Made jack welch JACK WELCH

How Ordinary People Become
Extraordinary Leaders

by Stephen H. Baum (Random House)

Most leaders of American companies started out as ordinary people. What prepared them for the top job?

Countless more ordinary people of equal talent never developed the leadership core required to run the show. Why not?

"Lessons for life about the core leadership traits of character, risk taking decisiveness and the ability to engage and inspire followers."
--Jim Clifton, CEO, The Gallup Organization


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