By Tyler Bray, CEO, owner, & founder of The Trailer Parts Outlet.
Many CEOs and senior executives tend to view senior-level hires as empty positions that simply have to be filled. Instead, consider these positions as supplements to your own leadership style. This will give you a way to prioritize which positions you focus on filling first and which roles are negotiable for your unique circumstances.
My first note to fellow entrepreneurs is a piece of advice I would often be wise to take myself: Don’t look at your long record of pulling rabbits out of your hat and assume you can, or should, do it all. No matter how passionate, energetic or talented you may be, you won’t deliver the best for your team if you make yourself do three jobs instead of trusting other people to handle them. So let’s look at how to do this correctly.
If you’re the creative in the room, get a numbers guy in your corner for the practical conversations. You’ve got to work out a reasonable budget for expansion, risk-taking, experimenting and pivoting. If you’re more aspirational and the sky’s the limit in style, let this senior-level hire be more grounded. That way, the two of you can strike a healthy balance.
If you’re all numbers and practicality, don’t be afraid to take on a CMO who can differentiate you from your competition. For example, let’s say you bought a storage building. Fantastic. This is a reliable business model that people always need and understand immediately. But your CMO needs to give you a story to tell that makes you preferable, in the eyes of consumers, to the storage facility down the street.
Remember, this doesn’t just have to be colorful packaging. The right tech hire can offer your customers a better website or options they simply don’t get offered at other facilities. Fortune favors the adaptable and the distinct in our ever-evolving business landscape.
Think Beyond Business Skills
It’s wise to supplement aspects of your personality with others in leadership roles, not just your skills. The fact is, some business leaders need someone who is OK with being the bad guy. Or maybe you can’t quite give that locker room speech your sales team really needs to hear because you’re more quiet and methodical than braggadocious. None of that means you’re a bad leader. It means you’re human and smart enough to get your team the things you can’t personally provide.
How To Know Your Prospective Senior Level Hire Is Right
Build a relationship with the person you might bring on as a senior-level hire first before you do anything else. As long as you can communicate, you can figure out if they are the right fit. After you’re certain that there’s a positive and productive rapport there, be honest if they can fill in the missing gaps you see in your team and your style. I’ve seen some business partnerships fail because two creatives teamed up rather than two people with complementary skill sets. Keep that concept in mind, and it will help you make the right decision.