Hiring Executive Management – Qualities That Stand Out

Jevin Sackett Blog LeadershipThe best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants
done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.
— Theodore Roosevelt

Hiring Executive Management – Qualities That Stand Out

Last week, I discussed the five core qualities that I believe most businesses seek when recruiting a new employee. You can read the full article through my last blogpost here.

This week, I’d like to shift the focus to the leadership level, and review the core personal and professional attributes that I believe are desirable in the best candidates for senior management. Allow me to stipulate from the start, the desired management qualities I will be discussing are—obviously—not carved in stone; there are many variables at play when selecting a company’s management team, including familiarity with the unique traits of the organization’s specific business sector (i.e. managers in the IT industry vs. the food service industry vs. the public sector, etc.)

That said, not unlike the previously discussed process of recruiting top-notch employees, hiring top quality management can also be a daunting task; in addition, the quality of the individuals charged with leading an organization can—and often will–have a significant impact on the company’s overall success.

As Chief Executive Officer of Sackett National Holdings, I take seriously my role in the decision-making process regarding who is hired to fill senior management positions within our company. I believe that one of the many important roles played by the CEO of a successful, growing organization such as ours is to surround his or herself with qualified, skilled executives who can–and will—pick up the proverbial corporate ‘ball and run with it.’

As any CEO will confirm, time is one of the most valuable commodities we have and as a result we need to know that we can delegate authority to senior managers who are fully capable of fulfilling their assigned tasks, with very limited supervision.

While once again stipulating that each organization is unique and will, therefore, likely require leaders with personal and professional qualities suited to that company’s individual needs, here are five core leadership qualities that I believe are shared by all of our company’s highly skilled management:

• Leadership skills: It should be self-evident that someone tasked with providing leadership within the company should—themselves–possess core leadership skills, most notably communication abilities; employees can only successfully achieve goals that are clearly delineated and communicated effectively

• Strategic skills: SNH, like many growing companies, is a diverse organization, and our senior managers need to be highly skilled at developing a strategy for their particular business unit, and possess the ability to successfully execute that strategy to its completion

• Quick Thinking: In today’s 24/7 business world, circumstances change quicker than ever before; combine that fact with the rapid growth that our company–and other successful organizations—experience, and it’s easy to understand the importance of hiring senior managers that are quick-thinking enough to thrive in a hyper-growth, rapidly changing business environment

• Expertise: As previously mentioned, SNH is a diverse organization involved in an equally diverse range of business sectors (financial services, automotive, employment screening and energy) Senior managers tasked with providing leadership in each of those sectors must possess the acumen, perspicacity and industry experience required to ensure that each of our business units remains an innovative leader in their respective business sector

• A ‘Good Fit’: Perhaps the most challenging of the core qualities sought in a successful senior manager is that he or she will ‘fit’ well into an organization; despite an often abundance of similarities, no two businesses are run exactly alike, and therefore a talented manager who succeeded at Widget Company A may not necessarily fit well into the differing corporate culture of their competitor, Widget Company B. In the case of SNH, a unique company with multiple office locations–offering a wide variety of products and services across several business sectors–the task of recruiting senior managers who are a “good fit” for our unique business structure is both challenging—and rewarding.

Whether it be in business, government or the military, the quality of an organization’s leadership matters.

And from a CEO’s perspective, Teddy Roosevelt’s sage advice still holds true: recruit the very best men and women leaders available, then allow them to fulfill their own leadership potential–and in doing so, make their own significant contributions to your company’s overall success.

The Year Ahead – I’m Feeling Bullish

Jevin Sackett market newsAs a new year beckons, American businesses find themselves on the precipice of what most economists are predicting will be the healthiest economic growth since before the Great Recession began seven years ago.

After several years of sluggish economic growth, that’s welcome news for American businesses large and small. Still, in the wake of previous predictions of strong economic recovery that ultimately proved overly optimistic, some U.S. business owners would be forgiven for being skeptical about the painting of an economically rosy 2015.

However, this may well be the year that economists are finally correct in predicting solid economic growth. Putting all the rhetoric aside, the recent economic ‘arrows’ point convincingly towards a strong economy in 2015.

A few economic signposts worthy of consideration:

  • According to the federal Bureau of Economic Indicators, real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the U.S. grew by an impressive 5 percent in the third quarter of 2014; that is on the heals of the previous quarter’s solid 4.6 percent growth
  • Personal income, another strong measure of consumer confidence and economic growth, was also up by .4 percent in November
  • Gas prices are down—way down—from where they were last year. A barrel of crude oil has declined from over $100 a barrel in the first half of 2014, to below $50 a barrel at the beginning of this year. That savings translates into hundreds of dollars more in the pockets of the average American consumer
  • The stock market has, repeatedly, set new record highs over the last several months, and corporate profits are healthier than at any time in recent years
  • And perhaps most importantly, unemployment has been steadily declining, with the most recent unemployment rate in the U.S. down to 5.6 percent

While a healthier job market is good news for American workers, and signals overall strength in the economy, it also presents the prospect of a more challenging recruiting environment for American businesses. As more companies look to hire new employees, businesses will have to hustle to ensure they can recruit their first choice of new hires.

At Sackett National Holdings, we are on the front lines of the recruiting efforts of American businesses, as our SettlementOne Screening employment screening products play a key role in helping companies ensure they’re hiring the best available candidates.

And when one considers that U.S. businesses hired 252,000 employees in December—after hiring an impressive 353,000 the previous month—the laws of supply and demand dictate that 2015 is likely to be a far more challenging year for companies looking to hire new employees.

In addition to our company’s employment screening experience, as CEO of a rapidly expanding business, I also have first hand experience with the many challenges of ensuring the quality of new employees.

And so while I–like all American business leaders–welcome the long-awaited arrival of good economic news, I also recognize that with that positive news comes added business responsibilities.

If American businesses hope to ensure that economic predictions for a strong 2015 are reflected in their own corporate performance, they must also ensure that their company’s business—and hiring—plans are reflective of, and responsive to, the nation’s dynamic economic environment.