Sylvia MacArthur, Madison MacArthur, April 2014
‘The Right Executive Leaders’ are undoubtedly the key differentiator between success and failure in organisations of any size, sector or type – be they public or private sector; listed blue-chip or family-owned; established brand or start-up – the bottom line is all (or mostly) about the people at the top.
When you look at the public sector, especially in the political arena, everywhere you look in this country leaders are failing their constituents and, worst case scenario, increasingly being charged for criminal activities. Just look at the many disgraced politicians that have been in the news over the past few months alone. The reason is simple: we continue to appoint the wrong people to the wrong jobs for the wrong reasons.
What is less obvious, much less visible, and often assumed not to be the case by reasonably literate and intelligent people, is that unsuitable appointments happen in the private sector frequently too….. in spite of (or possibly because of) the many boxes that need to be checked in almost all executive level appointment processes.
Not the least of which is the multiple interviews with stakeholders (direct reporting lines, dotted reporting lines, regional reporting structures, functional reporting matrixes, executive board members, non-executive board members) who will interface with the new recruit.
So while there may be a shortlist of 4 to 5 talented individuals at the beginning of the interview process, the one who ultimately reaches the finish line is not necessarily the most exceptional leader in the group – but rather the one with the best interviewing skills, the one who is the most diplomatic, and the one who poses the least threat to the above-mentioned stakeholders. One who is also on occasion the ‘wrong’ person!
And then there are organisations who are willing to make bold decisions (many of them among our clients, thankfully), led by boards who are willing to secure leaders who ruffle feathers from time to time, who are unapologetic about excellence, and who know what it takes to get there! These companies appoint the right leaders, to the right jobs, for the right reasons.