A strong management team is the most important asset for the executive focused on growth. Strong staffing managers build, develop and motivate top producers, manage the day-to-day operations, and drive critical improvements. All of these elements are crucial for productive operations. In addition, a strong management team combined with a focused and driven executive provides strategic flexibility which can lead to additional service offerings, geographical expansion, acquisitions, and succession planning. Each of these strategic decisions has a high cost of failure and a high return on success. Oftentimes, success or failure is determined by the abilities of the management team. Too often the importance of the capabilities of the management team is simply overlooked.
I witnessed a great example of this when I was eating lunch at a conference. An owner of a mid-sized staffing firm had just acquired a smaller staffing company and was concerned about how the acquisition has negatively impacted the production of both operations. He insisted he had a strong management team and they would figure out how to turn things around even though they were relatively young and none of them had experienced the complexities a merger creates. No more than five minutes later, he was discussing another potential acquisition target.
This may be a fine approach if his endgame is to flip the company for a quick profit, but his desire for rapid growth led him to embrace three dangerous assumptions. The first assumption is underestimating the disruption a merger creates, the second assumption is that the manager has the bandwidth to manage those changes, and the third is that his management team has the skills to maneuver through the complexities of not only one, but two mergers.
Especially when driving transformative change such as a merger, it’s critical for staffing executives to challenge and redefine what skills are required from management and honestly assess their management team’s strengths and weaknesses. This is especially true for executives focused on growth since they demand extraordinary change from their organization.
Questions you should ask concerning your management team when undergoing transformative change includes:
- Can I rely on them to hire, develop, and maintain strong producers?
- Do they have a comprehensive understanding of their operations?
- Can they communicate effectively to all levels of the organization?
- Are they able to craft clear effective solutions to complex problems?
- Are they effective at conflict resolution?
- Do they have the bandwidth to tackle additional initiatives?
Growth driven staffing executives understand that risk is required for exceptional performance. That risk can be greatly reduced with the right management team that is both well prepared and able to effectively manage a rapidly adapting organization.