Selecting Leaders to Lead into the Unknown

Posted: Updated:

No organization wants to accidentally select as CEO the business equivalent of George Donner, who in 1847 led a group of settlers on a journey to California, only to have them become snowbound, starve, and turn to cannibalism. Yet selecting a new leader is one of the toughest challenges facing organizations today.

Companies searching for new leaders often encounter a lack of promotion-ready internal candidates, so they look elsewhere, pinning their hopes on an outsider to lead through uncharted territory. Even in organizations with an heir-apparent, business realities may suddenly dictate new skills and competencies in order to address challenges presented by advanced technologies, global competition, new channels for selling, diverse employees, and more.

How can organizations get their arms around such an unexpected and amorphous assignment of hiring a new leader? Usually, the hiring guidance exists—it just needs to be assembled. If you’re looking for your next executive leader, here are tools you can look to:

  • The latest strategic plan
  • Input from key stakeholders
  • Executive competencies and core competencies
  • Behavioral interview questions based on the competencies and target experiences
  • Due diligence when checking references


Once the new leader is selected, a careful onboarding process will considerably enhance time to productivity. In addition to learning about products and services, meeting key stakeholders, and spending time meeting all levels of employees in the organization, the new leader may need:

  • Coaching to aid assimilation.
  • A retreat or other leadership development opportunity with his or her new team.

With the pending retirements of Baby Boomers, more organizations must prepare for new leadership. Even if considering internal candidates, it is wise to adopt a comprehensive approach so that the best possible candidate may be selected and succeed. If not, don’t be surprised to find you and your colleagues stuck in deep snow and growing very, very hungry.

Nancy S. Ahlrichs is an author, columnist and national speaker. She is a Business development Consultant for FlashPoint, a global talent development consulting firm.

  • Perspectives

    • How to Find a New Audience After Hitting a Marketing Plateau

      It may sound like a marketer’s dream scenario: efforts have proven to be so successful it appears a company has completely saturated their target audience. While it may be a good problem to have, it still may be a problem. Hitting a marketing plateau is an opportunity for companies in any industry to reevaluate, re-energize and come to the table with new ideas for better understanding existing customers and engaging new audiences.

    More

Events



  • Most Popular Stories

    • (photo courtesy of WTHR-TV)

      Andrew Luck Retiring from NFL

      In a shocking development following the Indianapolis Colts' preseason loss to the Chicago Bears, quarterback Andrew Luck has announced his retirement from the NFL. Luck, who did not play in Saturday's game, said the number of injuries he has suffered throughout his professional career "has taken my joy of this game away." Luck teared up during a news conference in which he made his announcement. "After 2016 where I played in pain and was unable to regularly...

    • (image courtesy of The Times of Northwest Indiana)

      Crews Start Demolition of Carson's in Hammond

      The face of downtown retail in Hammond is changing once again with the demolition of Carson’s department store, the one-time the anchor of Woodmar Mall. Our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana report excavating crews have started to demolish the last vestige of the shopping center which stood since the 1950s. 

    • Shaina Keck

      Pier 48 Manager Named

      FK Restaurant Group has named Shaina Keck sales and banquet manager for Pier 48 Fish House and Bar in downtown Indianapolis. She previously served in sales at Kilroy's Bar & Grill. Keck is a graduate of Indiana University Kelly School of Business with a bachelor of science degree in finance and accounting with a concentration in international studies.  
    • On-Air

      Find out when and where you can watch and listen to our reports.

    • Fort Wayne Tops 'Hottest Real Estate Markets'

      Fort Wayne just opened its brand new riverfront Promenade Park to pomp and pageantry, hoping to make it a draw to Indiana’s second largest city. But now the Allen County community has something else to celebrate. The editors of Realtor.com declared Fort Wayne as the hottest real estate market in July for the entire country.