Case Study: Creating a High-Performing Executive Team
Developing a management team in a newly acquired subsidiary
Medium ($100,000,000 annual revenue)
Creating a High-Performing Executive Team
Situation: A large Southwest utility purchased an energy company in an adjoining state with the goal of increasing shareholder value by adding revenue. The subsidiary was less encumbered by existing state regulations that limited how much cost could be passed onto customers. The CEO of the parent utility wanted to make certain that key management staff of the new subsidiary would possess the right management capabilities and skill set for making the new company successful. It was important that the new entity be more entrepreneurial and able to move quickly in a less regulated environment.
Process: Myron Beard Executive Consulting (MBEC) was engaged to help the CEO identify the best individual, from several candidates, to become the President of the subsidiary. A second phase was the help the new President, once selected, to create his/her staff from among either existing subsidiary employees or external candidates and to help the newly formed team become effective quickly.
The MBEC Difference
With the assistance of MBEC, the CEO assembled the right management team to stabilize and grow a new subsidiary and add significant revenue to the parent company.
- Creating a Profile of Success: The CEO of the parent utility identified those leadership characteristics deemed critical for leading the new subsidiary. From these characteristics, MBEC was able to create a Profile of Success against which a new President would be hired. This profile included both formal assessment competencies as well as those identified in face-to-face interviews.
- Candidate Comparisons: The Profile of Success allowed candidates to be evaluated and then compared on key leadership characteristics, such as strategic and critical thinking, interpersonal skills, planning and execution, managing an organization, self-confidence, and how the executive would likely react under pressure. By having this comparison, it was much easier to note relative differences between candidates.
- Evaluating Candidates for the President: Using the Profile of Success as a data point, the MBEC consultant interviewed and assessed several individuals identified by the CEO as suitable candidates for the position. By having a clearly established profile, the selection of the best candidate was more targeted and made more easily. Within a relatively short time, the CEO was to able select the best candidate for the position.
- Onboarding new management team: Once the subsidiary President was in place and his team selected (using the same process as above), it was important for the team to all be “on the same page.” The President wanted to create a high-potential management team and requested that MBEC facilitate an offsite meeting to help accomplish this. This was a multi-step process that included:
- Individual Interviews: Prior to the offsite meeting, each of the management team members were interviewed to identify the most important issues on which the team should focus and how, as a leadership team, they should work together.
- Shared Profiles: Since team members and the President had been evaluated, the first agenda item was to help the team members get to know one another. Profiles of each member were shared and discussed, acknowledging both strengths and challenges for each individual. These discussions created both openness and trust among the members. They were charged with creating a shared leadership environment in which everyone is responsible for helping team members succeed.
- High-Performing Team: The characteristics of a high-performing team were presented and discussed. Based on this discussion, the team developed both team and individual expectations of behavior and a plan for how and when the team would meet. The outcome of the discussion was that each member committed to adhering to the team agreements and to holding one another accountable.
- Critical Issues: The major themes from the individual interviews, as well as other issues already known by the CEO, were discussed to focus the executive team on the business priorities. Each issue was discussed and triaged, owners were assigned, and timelines established. This set the tone for the management team both owning the results of the business and creating a cadence of accountability.
- Developing and Coaching: Individual team members continued to work with MBEC over the next year to help them better leverage their strengths and to mitigate their challenges. This work was parallel to the team working on major business issues and continuing to gel as a high-performing management team.
Outcome: With the assistance of MBEC, the CEO was able to hand off management of the subsidiary to the new President and his team in short order. The President, with the assistance of his executive team, was able to both stabilize and grow the business. This included expanding their service area and signing up substantially more customers in the less regulated market. Now the subsidiary adds significant revenue and profitability to the parent company.