Acquiring the Right CEO to Rewire Your Culture

  • CEO Success Demystified

By Doris Hofmeister

Are you facing the challenge of finding the right CEO to steer your company in a new direction and change a stagnant culture? This guide will provide valuable insights and strategies to achieve this transition successfully while retaining valued employees.

  • Assessing the Current Situation: Before embarking on the search for a new CEO, it’s crucial to understand the existing challenges within your organisation. Identifying these challenges is the first step towards addressing them effectively.
  • Defining the Desired Culture: Determine the kind of culture you want to cultivate within your company. Clearly outline the values, attitudes and behaviours that will support the desired culture.
  • CEO Search with a Holistic Approach: In the search for a new CEO, take an approach that considers the broader context. Look beyond technical expertise and focus on finding a candidate who aligns with your desired corporate culture, who effectively can manage teams and who possesses the necessary leadership qualities to succeed in your unique context. At MU, we work with a science-based method that incorporates specific context, assessment tools, personality examinations and evaluating the candidate’s values and work style.
  • Assessing Candidates and Recommending the Right Fit: Conduct thorough assessments of CEO candidates using a variety of tools and methodologies. These assessments should enable you to compare each candidate’s compatibility with your desired culture and their potential for sustainable success. Consider their experience, leadership style, ability to adapt and potential for growth. Based on these assessments, provide a recommendation for the best candidate who can lead the transformation effectively.
  • Successful Onboarding and Integration: Once a new CEO is hired, it’s crucial to ensure a smooth onboarding process. Provide the necessary resources and support to help them integrate into the organisation seamlessly. Encourage open communication, establish clear goals and align their strategies with the company’s vision. Engage the existing employees in the transition and emphasise the benefits that come with the new leadership.
  • Monitoring and Adjusting: Monitor the progress of the new CEO and the cultural transformation. Regularly assess their performance, collect feedback from employees and make necessary adjustments to the strategies if needed. Stay committed to fostering a positive and inclusive work environment that supports the long-term success of your organisation.

By following this guide, you can successfully hire a new CEO and navigate a culture change without losing valued employees. Remember to focus on the specific context, assess candidates holistically, embrace their strengths and foster a supportive and collaborative work environment. With the right leadership and a shared vision, your company can thrive and achieve sustainable success.

Changing the Culture of a Company

Sometimes, the most surprising results for an organisation can come from within. Self-reflection is always important for an organisation, especially for a company with an entrenched culture. This case is a great example of that.

A somewhat old-fashioned and inefficient mentality was noticeably present

It all started after a rather extensive executive search project for some high-profile leadership positions for a client. As the project came to an end the CEO wanted our advice on how to change the organisation’s culture towards becoming efficient. A somewhat old-fashioned and inefficient mentality was noticeably present, so we proposed to conduct a leadership development review of the entire management layer to figure out if the leadership team were willing, motivated and able to change.

This culture change really became a priority when the organisation added another company to its portfolio and realised that it needed
to rework its overall profile and hire new leaders. As a response, they embarked on a slew of different executive search projects, however, the initiative that proved to be vital for their transformation was the leadership assessment of the organisation’s entire management structure. This type of culture change project is not an easy task, but the trust in our communication and approach was already established from our previous work with the company.

Identifying Issues and Working Towards Solutions

The findings from the leadership assessment were quite surprising for the organisation. Instead of having many of the long-term managers breeze through, which initially was assumed, it quickly became apparent that some of the veterans would not be able to clear the leadership assessment. And since they had come to trust our judgement following our successful search project, they now turned to us for advice on this matter.

Through our analysis, we determined that the problem first and foremost was a non-existing will and motivation to change among individuals, but there were also capacity issues to keep up with the new demands. We recommended they confront the most critical issues and work with the leaders who were willing to change. We also offered executive coaching to support the ones in need of guidance.

Through our analysis we determined that the problem first and foremost was a non-existing will and motivation to change among individuals

This case reinforced the idea that the best insights sometimes come from challenging the norm and entrenched thinking. Because in the end, it is all about assessing whether or not you have the right leaders in the right positions. If not, you need to identify the issues and be willing to work towards a solution. And it is in cases like these where our thorough leadership assessments and measured reliable advice can make a difference for the client.