Business owners that are looking to take a step back from their business need to find the right person to run it, which can be a difficult task. To get it right, there are three key questions to ask, according to Andrew Laurie, entrepreneur, CEO and elite business coach.
Andrew Laurie said, “Business owners need to look at role definition, selection and hiring, and induction. These are key steps to ensure the right person is chosen for the right role.”
1. Role definition
Defining the role upfront is key to ensure the right person fills the job. It’s counterproductive to put a new manager in place who isn’t prepared to take on all the activities expected of them. For example, some owners are simply looking for someone to oversee daily operations, while others might need someone who can handle more complexity including strategy development, handling mergers and acquisitions, dealing with investors, or government relations.
Andrew Laurie said, “As a business owner, it’s key to decide how much to step back and how that might affect the future of the business. This will help to establish the kind of person that will be needed and will have an impact on the cost of bringing someone in.”
To make the role’s responsibilities clear, it’s key to develop a comprehensive position description which should clarify:
- the purpose/objectives of the role
- key accountabilities such as profitability in line with targets and execution of plans for the growth of the business
- other responsibilities such as managing staff, or building and implementing the organisation’s systems and processes, and representing the company at industry events
- key performance indicators (KPIs) such as meeting revenue goals, brand reputation, and customer, employee and shareholder satisfaction.
2. Selection and hiring
The selection process might be made easier if there’s a strong internal candidate however it’s important to consider all options to get the right fit. Filling the role is the next step. There could be an internal candidate, or the search might need to be external. Regardless, there are two key things to consider during the interview process:
- Say very little. Leave the talking to the candidate. Particularly for a business-leading role, the candidate needs to be comfortable leading the conversation, they need to have prepared for the meeting, and they need to have clarity and cohesion when they speak.
- Get the candidate to present to management. It’s a good idea to give the person a brief like ‘how would you approach the first six months in the role’ or ‘where do you see the business in two years’ and then get them to present to management. It’s a great way to assess the person’s capabilities and will show the chemistry and dynamic in the team before a person is chosen.
In addition, it’s key to run reference checks. Make sure to speak with former bosses, employees and teammates, and perhaps even customers and suppliers.
The final step is onboarding. Business owners should develop a comprehensive induction plan to assist a rapid and effective start of the new role. It’s ideal to start the onboarding process as early as possible. This can include inviting them to a company function or team lunch, and giving them documents to review so they can start preparing for the role before the official start. It should also include preparing all back-office functions like payroll, IT access, office keys, laptop, mobile phone, company car, and any other tools that will let the person be productive from day one, rather than filling out paperwork or waiting for their passwords.
Andrew Laurie said, “Once you’ve chosen the right person, it’s important to invest time in them so they can get up to speed quickly. This is among the most valuable ways to spend time so it’s really important not to rush it. The induction plan should outline a list of subjects/activities to become familiar with, people to meet, and a complete schedule for these activities.
“During this process, business owners should offer lots of opportunities to clarify certain parts of the role, and provide guidance and corrections where needed. Making sure the person is completely clear on the expectations of the role will be the best way to set them up for success.”
Andrew Laurie is an entrepreneur, CEO and elite business coach.