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How to Find a CEO

Succession of a CEO is a challenging process. A CEO's role in shaping up of the company is tremendous. Considering these factors, the Board and the current CEO can improve the chances of appointing a better successor. A few guidelines can be offered on this process. There are 3 simple yet crucial steps in making it work. They are - Definition, Extension and Evaluation. These guidelines can be explained in brief.

CEO searches become a failure if the search is based on the person rather than defining the roles that the person is required to do. The Board and the CEO might have a list of prospective candidates on their minds. The point, however, is to ensure that the successor performs more than the current CEO. A candidate might just slip into the shoes of a typical CEO. A CEO's role can neither be delegated nor be decreased. The Board should see to it that the candidate will take the company's future towards the right direction with convenience.

The company might try its best to train the candidates for the designation of a CEO. It is a natural assumption to think that an insider will do the best job as he/she is already equipped with the company's policies and regulations. But that is not always the case. An insider's views might be limited to the values that has already been taught. His performance might reflect his past experiences and prejudices. Surprisingly, an outsider may be the right man for the job. An outsider's values will have a broader view than the insider. The best solution is to combine the experience of an insider and the extensive views of an outsider.

Normal evaluation of an individual for the job of CEO will involve a conservative observation of occasions like board presentations and conferences. Such kind of observations may give a fair perception of the individual but the Board needs to get a bigger picture. For an insider, the Directors must fully test the individual to check whether he/she is qualified for the job. For an outsider, reference checking is mandatory. The Board needs to get a clear picture of the person, the potential flaws and personality traits. Dependency on just one source of information would be foolhardiness. Personal networks must be adopted to learn about the individual.

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