July 27, 2017

The Rudiments of Attracting Fresh Leadership

By Sean Sposeep, Partner, Life Sciences

Leaders with a unique perspective and a desire to make a difference aren’t necessarily attracted to the Amazons or Googles of the corporate world. Rather, a solid internal culture and proven organizational support mechanisms at smaller or lesser known organizations will often appeal to motivated leaders (or leaders-in-the-making) more.

Many leaders have priorities for the first 90 days of their new job — and for the next ten years. They know the direction they want to go, and they probably know how to get there, too. But the best leaders recognize that their role is that of an enabler, and for them to succeed in that role, the framework of a robust organization need to be evident.

Without this framework – a relevant corporate mission statement that is accepted and understood, a culture of collaboration between management and staff, and healthy external relationships and partnerships – marches toward the future will stall before they get off the ground.

The most iconic leaders are often described as a visionary, but to make those visions a reality, leaders need a productive, supportive environment. But how can a company show that it has what it takes to change, attracting fresh leadership and innovation in the process? Here are four organizational characteristics that will motivate leaders to join your organization on its journey, bringing fresh perspectives with them — and more.

1. A Culture of Change

Does your company understand the implications of innovation? Strategic operations require considerable investment as well as disruption to existing processes. Can your company show evidence that change isn’t just something that happens, but part of its culture? How easy will it be for your company to change strategies or even directions if innovation requires it?

Organizational change may mean shaping and anticipating the future of the company as well as process restructuring and improvement, all of which can be extremely stressful for existing employees. But ultimately, change makes an organization more resilient: any company that has a history of effecting change will be more attractive to leaders because those companies will be more likely to embrace change again.

2. Support from Existing Leaders

The roles of a company’s board and its CEO or president can be conflicting and confusing. But no matter what, there must be agreement on corporate mission and responsibility: do your company’s leaders understand and support strategic operations and new product development?

Without good governance, a substantial R&D budget, and a desire for operational excellence at all levels, successful change is an uphill battle for management. But management, in turn, must convince a company’s leaders that new strategic directions aren’t just for short-term gain — they’re for the long-term sustainability of the organization, which includes attracting new leaders.

3. Potential for Growth

A corporate culture that emphasizes healthy communication between the management and staff bolsters morale and underscores the goals common to every employee — and these qualities will be attractive to leaders regardless of the size of an organization.

Even small startups can find great leaders who would prefer to join them than a larger and more prestigious firm. Visionaries are often attracted to the mission rather than the money: they’ll stand a better chance of making your their in a smaller environment rather than at an industry giant, where there are already many would-be leaders.

4. Strategic Partnerships

Does your company have a good relationship with its partners as well as its competitors? Does it have a good reputation amongst customers as well as an extensive network? One of the many jobs of a leader is to ensure that his or her company is leveraging these relationships to their fullest extent.

Take PayPal, for example. PayPal is rapidly becoming a global leader in digital payments by supporting rather than resisting banks’ entrance into digital channels. As a result, PayPal has positioned itself as a partner both to merchants and to banks and card issuers. Good leaders know that without relationships, future operations and expansions may be unattainable.

To attract great leaders with fresh perspectives, a company doesn’t need to have the latest and greatest technology or the best numbers in its industry. The fundamentals of a healthy, progressive organization – a culture of change, supportive management and staff, and collaborative networks – are the best tools to work with, and they’ll be attractive to leader who want to change the status quo. Nurture these qualities in your organization and your next leader could help build your business in profound ways.