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A Strong CEO and Executive Team Needed to Transform a Global Manufacturing Organization

Need:

More than a decade of failed CEO succession and executive departures demanded new leadership that could successfully drive an organizational transformation.

Solution:

Selection processes for a new CEO and key executive team members grounded in the organization’s business context and the Success Profiles defining role success.

Result:

The right CEO candidate and a strong executive team were selected and onboarded—positioning the organization for a successful transformation.

Churn and Change Put the Future at Risk

A major global manufacturing organization was reeling from over a decade of continual turnover at the top. This included multiple failed CEO successions and associated departures in key executive-level leadership roles. This churn at the top, coupled with a failure to “keep up” with their industry’s changing competitive landscape and customer demands, put the organization’s future at risk.

The board of directors formed a plan to bring stability and set both strategy and aggressive investment to transform the organization and position it for future growth. In support of this, the board turned its focus to selecting a new CEO to drive the turnaround and establish strength at the top by building an executive leadership team equipped to spearhead the effort. They choose DDI to be by their side through this process.

Confirming the Context

DDI first worked with key stakeholders to clarify the business context, namely the Business Drivers, which are the most pivotal strategic and cultural challenges the senior leadership team must conquer in order to ‘drive the business’ forward. Themes included new global go-to-market strategies, process innovation, a more customer-centered culture, and stronger alignment and accountability. Once the Business Drivers were identified, DDI collaborated with the board and CHRO to finalize the Success Profile for the future CEO, including executive competencies and dispositions that would ensure fitness for the demands ahead.

The Business Drivers served as strategic anchor points for evaluating CEO candidates and led the board to the determination that the internal candidates were not ready. Attention then turned to an external search, yielding two strong external candidates, each possessing different skill sets; one with a strong M&A background and a focus on acquisitional growth; the other best suited for driving organic growth through manufacturing optimization and culture transformation.

These profiles were examined more carefully through DDI’s C-suite assessment, tailored to the organization’s unique context. The executive assessment coupled day-in-the-life simulation experiences that mirrored the unique challenges and responsibilities of the C-suite with personality inventories and behavioral interviews.

The extensive data gathered from the assessment allowed the board to confidently choose the best candidate to assume the CEO role and successfully execute the business transformation strategy.

It’s About a Strong Team

Next, DDI established a customized coaching engagement to help the new CEO rapidly gain his footing in his new role. This included an early analysis of his incumbent senior leadership team, taking into account the composition of the “team mosaic.” This entailed considering how individual team member’s strengths, skills, and abilities would complement both his own and those of other team members, as well as how the team would work together effectively to facilitate the needed organizational turnaround. This analysis not only revealed skill gaps on the team the CEO should consider when making upcoming selection decisions, but it also offered compelling rationale for the redeployment of senior business leaders to roles better suited to their strengths.

During this year of transition, DDI supported the CEO in selecting multiple “players” for his team over the course of the next year, by purposely and thoughtfully leveraging assessment data, while keeping in mind the best fit for each role on the team. The board felt certain that each of these players was the right fit because they knew each new team member was selected against the organization’s business imperatives.

And DDI remained by the organization’s side, coaching numerous executives through both evolving and/or new roles; fast tracking their development through individualized growth plans. In addition, DDI helped the CEO re-charter his entire team, aligning the team around shared accountabilities for strategic and cultural imperatives.

With a new CEO and an executive leadership team equipped with the “best players” for the mission, the organization is facilitating a rapid turnaround now, while knowing they have the strength to transform in the future.

Results:

Working with DDI to enhance the overall strength of its executive-level leadership team, this organization was able to:

  • Select and rapidly onboard a new CEO who displayed strength across the Success Profile required to shape new organizational futures.
  • Ensure the composition of the senior leadership team complemented the strengths of the new CEO, while also considering the strengths of team members.
  • Support the CEO in using assessment insights to invite strong new players onto his team and leverage that intelligence to accelerate their onboarding, as well as their individual and team development.
Talk to an Expert: A Strong CEO and Executive Team Needed to Transform a Global Manufacturing Organization
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