Building Your Senior Management Team

BUilding your senior-level 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.

Q4 Outlook for San Francisco 2019

Q4 Outlook 2019 San Francisco

To begin with, we want you to know we have good news in the 2019 Q4 outlook. According to data-driven insights from the leading global workforce solutions company ManpowerGroup, Q4 in the San Francisco area is promising.

Hiring trends were found pretty much EVERYWHERE.

  • Durable Goods Manufacturing
  • Nondurable Goods Manufacturing
  • Transportation & Utilities
  • Wholesale & Retail Trade
  • Information and Financial Activities
  • Professional & Business Services
  • Leisure & Hospitality
  • Government

Correspondingly, positive job forecasts were reported across all 50 states with 100 of the largest metro areas reporting a +20% national Outlook for Q4 2019.  This is a 1 percent increase from the previous year-over-year report.

To put in perspective, the last time this survey reported a Q4 Net Employment Outlook as high as +20% was in the fourth quarter of 2006.  See, we told you we had good news!

Relating back to ManpowerGroup® findings specifically for the Bay Area

  • employers are expected to hire at a solid pace of 23 percent growth
  • 25 percent plan to hire more employees from October through December.
  • 2 percent plan to reduce payrolls
  • 72 percent expect to maintain current staff levels
  • 1 percent indicate they are not sure of their hiring plans.

Interestingly, a study of 2800 IT leaders reported the challenge was finding skilled technology professionals. The study was conducted by Robert Half Technologies and was sectioned into major cities accordingly.

We loving this great little infographic made by the team at Robert Half which speaks directly to the state of high tech specifically in San Francisco.

Yes, the tech skills shortage is real.

In previous blogs we’ve talked tech growth and hiring trends, so we’re already aware of the industry boom, however, closing Q4 this strong is a great thing to report. While all aspects of IT have a need for quality employees, if you’re less than fulfilled in your current role or just starting out, now is most certainly the time to revisit the resume.

Our team at PWU engages with all sectors, specifically hundreds of IT professionals. Our business model is perfected for navigating ATS and recruiter profiling. Connect with us when you plan to make career moves through Q4 2019 and beyond.

Warren Buffett and the Benefits of Plain English Writing Techniques

Plain English

This is an excerpt from an article that highlights the benefits of plain English writing techniques as developed and implemented by Warren Buffet.  Even though Buffet’s writing techniques are geared more towards financial documents and business proposals, the teachings can be applied to how we communicate to coworkers, clients, friends, and family.    

Original article click here.

1. Start Early

Developing a Plain English document takes time – the first time! For your first Plain English proposal, allow extra time to write, edit, and revise. Add more time than you would expect to your usual schedule if possible. The next time it’s easier.

2. Study the principles of Plain English

Remember: you want your request for proposal to be understood in one reading. This means you need to:

3. Promote Plain English amongst your Staff

Once you’ve seen the benefits of plain English compared with other writing styles, you can promote its values to your own staff and senior management. You need to get your staff onside so that they will begin writing in this style. Likewise, you also need to convince your managers of its values and possibly funding for a training program. Explain to both camps how they will benefit. Outline a high-level roadmap with timelines for the overall program.

4. Contact an experienced proposal writer

The first time you write a plain English proposal, you may find it time-consuming and more difficult than you thought. If this is the case, you’re on the right track! Everything worthwhile is difficult the first time round – soon you will get the hang of it.

You can also approach a writing consultant, especially someone who has a proven track record of writing good, clear English.

5. Review previous Proposals and see where you can improve

Before you start writing, consider the following:

  • Literacy level. What level of education is required to understand the Proposal? Use the Fog Index to test your proposal’s readability.
  • Clarity. What parts of the Proposal are hard to understand? Are the sentences too long and complex? Does it use technical terms and acronyms that the target audience will not understand?
  • Organization. How easy can you find relevant information? Would the Proposal be clearer if you reordered the main sections and possibly the sub-sections within it? Does the table of contents and index need sharpening? Are there too many/too few levels of information in the TOC.
  • Repetition. Is the same information repeated in several sections? Does it have any real benefit?
  • Headings. Should the headings be re-written in the form of questions that each section answers?
  • Format. Do you need to add more bullet-point lists? Put keywords in bold? Use more white space?

6. Create an outline to help readers find information faster

One very effective writing style is to write headings as questions,which each section answers. If you include sub-sections, use a numbered outline format (e.g. 1.2, 1.3) for the section headings. This helps the reader find the main sections quickly and see the relationship among subsections.

7. Write the RFP, section by section, using plain language techniques

If some sections are hard to write, read them aloud and see where they are difficult to understand. Go through the document section by section.

Write the first draft of key sections first, and then work on the inside sections. Once you’ve written these, refine the text by editing each section tightly. However, make sure your text does not become too cold and dry. Write as if you were speaking to a colleague whom you respect; this often helps control the tone of the document.

8. Review and Revise

Once you’ve finished the first draft, get it reviewed internally by colleagues who can add value to the review process. Don’t choose colleagues who are too close to the Proposal, as they will not see errors. Instead, get a neutral reviewer if possible. After getting the feedback, make the required edits.

If possible, ask volunteers from the target population to review the draft Proposal. Ask them if they can locate information easily. When interviewing ask open questions and you will get a better response.

Avoid closed questions, such as, is this a great RFP? Most will say Yes, just to please you – and make you go away!

Ask how much they could read in one sitting. Again, revise as needed.

9. Create an easy-to-read format

Format the document to make it easy to read and attractive in presentation. If you have time, prepare a template that can be re-used for all future RFP’s. This will reduce the time spend on preparing the document.

  • Leave a blank line between paragraphs
  • Use bulleted lists
  • Highlight main points with bold and italics
  • Use boxes for examples
  • Use white space generously
  • Include margins of at least one inch all around the page
  • Use two (2) columns to increase readability, if practical

Use several different type sizes for headings. In many documents, the headings are in San Serif font (i.e. Verdana) and the body is in a Serif font (e.g. Times New Roman). Use a contrast in style to add emphasis.

10. Get feedback – and share it

Lastly, see if the Proposal works! Ask the external reviewers how they felt using the ‘new’ plain English Proposal. Get feedback from personnel involved in the review process and collate it for distribution.

  • Did they find that the plain English Proposal made a better application?
  • Was it easier to write the application, and what made the most difference?
  • What worked and what needs more refinement.

Summarize what you learned and share this information with colleagues. Encourage them to try writing plain English Proposals.

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