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Time for Change: The Ultimate Guide to Bringing in New Leadership

Jo's Musings

Time for Change: The Ultimate Guide to Bringing in New Leadership

If you find yourself here, it’s because you’ve recognised that your business has outgrown its current leadership. You’re ready to embrace change, but how do you navigate it all?

Hiring new leadership doesn’t need to play out like an episode of Succession. With the right approach and expert support, finding that next generation of superstar leaders should be an exciting, pain-free chapter in your business’ success story.

Five Steps to New Leadership

As I always like to remind my clients, every hiring search is a journey. Chances are you’ll end up somewhere far from where you originally thought you’d be when you started out. It’s why I’ve created this 5-step guide: to help clear the path and set you on course to find that perfect-for-you leadership structure.

1. A New Leader or a New Partner?

Finding new leadership isn’t always about stepping down; for some, stepping aside can be just as impactful. From the get-go, you’ll need to make some critical decisions. Do you need a new CEO, new leader, new co-founder or new thought partner?

If you’re unsure, retrace your steps and reflect on your strengths and limitations. Can you still offer something unique and business-critical?

Take time to understand the difference between Executive and Non-Executive roles. Maybe your best fit is as a Non-Exec Director, offering strategic insights and high-level guidance rather than handling operations.

2. Succession Planning vs. Replacement Hiring

Next, distinguish between immediate needs and long-term succession planning. Do you need a quick fix to solve current challenges, or are you looking for a strategic leader to futureproof the business?

Immediate hires address urgent issues, while succession planning ensures future growth. Align your hiring strategy with your broader vision for the future.

3. Time for Leadership Roleplay

Once you’re clear on the timeline, it’s time to define the new role.

Think of your business as a growing person, evolving through stages from infancy to adulthood. Early on, a company’s identity often reflects a founder’s personal vision. As it matures, it requires more sophisticated structures and external expertise to manage growth and overcome new challenges.

If you’re turning over £10 million in a business where growth has plateaued, it’s clear you’ll need a different structure compared with a high-growth scaleup chasing £50 million.

When you’ve decided on that leadership change - moving on, hiring a new co-founder, or building a board - you need to focus on shaping that list of essential and desirable skills. The latter is a chance for you to wave that magic wand and have it all; conjuring up the perfect person, or people, who would revolutionise your business.

4. Bring In Outside Expertise

You may think you can do this all yourself. But it’s vital you find someone to hold up a mirror and give a fair, unflinching view about what is and isn’t working within your current leadership structure - always with one eye on the future.

To help with this strategic thinking, I recommend that you work with an external expert, whether that’s JD&Co or another trusted advisor. The right partner will be someone who has the battlescars from leading these journeys before.

5. Think Internally, Look Externally

Take time to deep dive into your potential talent pool. Consider both internal and external candidates, thinking carefully about whether anyone will have their nose put out of joint if you search externally for new leadership.

Perhaps there is a rising star within the business, or maybe it’s time to introduce fresh perspectives and expertise. It’s a delicate balance, and one that your hiring partner should have the sensitivity to navigate.

Enjoy the Journey, Not Just the Destination

With a defined role and archetypes in place you can prepare for the search. Embark upon the process as if it were an adventure. Explore different avenues with your hiring partner and be prepared for unexpected turns that lead to the right fit.

And remember: 99 out of the 100 people you reach out to won’t get the job, but they will become advocates, brand ambassadors, or future partners. It’s important to enjoy the journey that you’re on and not to become too fixated with finding that perfect candidate.

You’re not just finding a new leader - you’re crafting the future of your business and architecting your own legacy as a founder.

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