Building Your Senior Management Team

In the startup stage of every enterprise, it’s a matter of survival to create the most cost-effective operating system.  Naturally, this requires owners to do as much as possible on their own. But with growth comes a massive shortage of time which means eventually, building your senior management team will need mandatory.

Especially if your plan is to take the business to the next level.

Building the best team demands matching people’s strengths to specific jobs.  So while your best buddy from grade school may feel like the right choice, you’ll still need to cross-reference strengths and skills to job requirements prior to signing an offer letter.

When assembling a senior team, you’ll want to take the time and consider all the critical areas of your business. At the rudimentary level, we’ve assembled a thorough recap of senior-level roles. 

A Breakdown of the Roles.

Chief Executive Officer (CEO). 

Basically, and without much exaggeration, the CEO is the boss of everyone and everything (but reports to the Board of Directors). Realistically, you’ll either be the CEO or hire someone more suited to the depth of the role. Which is not entirely uncommon. 

Owners are oftentimes ‘too close to the center’ when it comes to determining the company’s executive strategy. Therefore, hiring your own boss is fundamentally in the company’s best interest. 

Your CEO will have the ability to rise above the daily details and decide where the industry and business are headed. An exceptional CEO must be a remarkable strategic thinker.  They must be able to decide the company’s best route for navigating the future market conditions. 

That being said, the CEO’s ultimate skill is in hiring and firing. It is essential to assemble the right management team as support for your CEO. As a result, your chosen CEO will need to be able to identify and hire the best, fire the ones who don’t work out, and run the show all the same.

Chief Operating Officer (COO)

A COO handles a company’s complex operational details. Think about UPS moving three billion packages in the two weeks before Christmas: The company’s COO ensures the business can deliver day after day. Their team creates the systems to track the measurements and take action when the company isn’t delivering as expected.

When ensuring smooth operations become a big part of your business, it’s time to hire someone who revels in measurements, operations, and details.

President

To be honest, the role of a president is a little less specific than other executive team members. Presidents can oversee staff functions–human resources, finance, and strategy–while the COO oversees daily operations. In some organizations, the title of president is a synonym for COO, especially in smaller companies. Sometimes, the president fills gaps left by the COO and CEO. Other times, the title goes to someone you want at the strategy table but who doesn’t have an obvious C-level title.

Additionally, not every enterprise needs a president as many find this title fully covered by the efforts of a CEO and COO.  All things to consider when looking at your own enterprise.

Chief Financial Officer (CFO)

Plain and simple, your CFO handles the money. They create budgets and financing strategies. They figure out if it’s better for your business to lease or buy. Then they build the control systems that monitor your company’s financial health. Money is your business’s blood, and in entrepreneurship, cash flow is everything.

If you don’t know the difference between cash flow and profit–go find yourself a CFO.

Chief Marketing Officer (CMO)

Many current business battles are battles of marketing. Especially when corporate strategy hinges on marketing strategy. As a result, companies have been bringing in a marketing expert at the C-level rather than as a traditional vice president role. 

The CMO owns the marketing strategy–and that often includes implementation of the sales strategy. Your CMO will learn your industry inside out and help you position your product/service, differentiate it from your competitors’, enlist distributors, and make sure customers learn to crave your product.

If your business’s success depends mainly on marketing, you need a CMO. That could be you–but only if you have time to keep up with competitors, oversee the marketing plan, and still do the rest of your job–and do it well.

Otherwise, you need to look for the person with the right kind of buzz for the job, ready to keep up on what’s hot and what’s not.

Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

This role is only really significant if your business or industry is impacted by technology. Specifically, if your company’s chosen programming language affects the overall company strategy. In this case, you may need a CTO.

Is your enterprise tech-based? If so, delve into your professional network and find yourself a strategic thinker rooted in the tech industry. If you are not tech-based, you can sit this hiring process out and keep the focus on the above mentioned senior-level roles.

Building Your Senior Management Team

Ultimately, trust your instincts when interviewing and hiring. You have successfully grown your business to the level of needing an executive team, which is a major win all in itself.

As always with leadership; hire smart, fire fast, keep working that strategy to get the work done.

If you need inspiration for job postings at the Executive and Senior-Level, we’ve got some great site resources available in our Career Help section.

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