Comprehensive Executive Search Should Include Leadership Cultural Assessment

An adage in the search world goes something like this: “Candidates are hired for skills and experience but fired for fit.” Seldom do you hear that a leader didn’t work out because they lacked the skills or experience needed to do the job. Rather, you may frequently hear comments like:

  • “She just didn’t fit in with our culture.”
  • “He had a hard time getting along with other members of the leadership team.”
  • “His style wasn’t a good match for our organization.”

Although these reasons are somewhat vague, they are symptoms of a broader problem, which could have been addressed on the front-end of the hiring process. The result would be that the new hire becomes a successful and productive member of the team, rather than leaving the organization due to cultural differences.One way to determine if a candidate for a senior position will be a good match is to conduct a Leadership Cultural Assessment. This assessment yields an evidence-based determination of the actual culture versus the perceived culture of the leadership team. Candidates can then be evaluated by their communication style using the existing culture as context. The leadership cultural assessment tool will benefit the individual hired, his or her work team, and the entire organization by optimizing the talented individuals working together toward common organizational goals. With the completion of this assessment, the subsequent search process can identify candidates who fit the existing culture. Once a finalist is selected, executive coaching should be considered to help the new hire acclimate to the new role. This assessment and onboarding process will:

  • Help ensure results from the new hire
  • Provide an early warning system if there are any issues
  • Aid in long-term retention

Retention is crucial. Forward-thinking organizations must understand that the preservation of key executives and attentiveness to building culture are the two strategic differentiating factors for success in the future.

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