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Advice on the Exec Team

We've grown to the point where we need to hire a VP of Operations. The CEO has been filling this role and the District Managers have been filling Strategic Operations/Executive levels. We have recently added our 11th store and are not seeing the growth we need to see in our store and district managers. Things have stalled on this status quo mentality.

The issue is we do not feel either DM is ready for this role for many reasons. The one has been with the company for several years and worked his way up to the DM where he has been for the last four years and feels entitled that this next postion should default to him; although he has made some comments that he is "afraid" our CEO may want someone to fill the CP role who has experience in that area. So he's thought about it, which is good.

My question for the group is when we implent this new person and the DMs are no longer filling executive level duties and they are now free to fully support their stores; what does this look like? I've had some jealousy type issues with this same person (where is he has outwardly expressed jealous views about my role with the company). So now; the exec team will include myself but he will not directly be involved. I want to know for me; how I can best handle this and support the situation.

Answers

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

I think you need to take a small step back and create an [extended] executive team alignment.

Consensus must be reached (using whatever methodology works for your company) on the strategic vision for the company, the problems, the possible remedies and the desired results.

Team playing, and why the team must band together (and you can make the dollar connection on increased sales and increased bonus/salaries/keeping their job) to reach that strategic vision as a group, not as individuals.

So, if it is felt that an outsider should become VP of Operations, and the DM's go back to what they know best, with alignment everyone would understand and maybe not happily, but in compromise work together.

Communication and Team Work is paramount.

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

Wayne,

All of us unanimously understand the need for this new position. They also know it may come from outside the company; we have been open about that in discussions. As with any transition we are humans and have emotions and I think we need to understand that there are going to be some hurt feelings and possible animosity until the forward momentum picks back up and everyone transitions to their roles respectively.

I am looking to take on a proactive approach to dealing with the transition rather than a let's wait and see how this all works out. Maybe that is the best approach?

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

If everyone is on board, then just move forward.

Those who just can't adjust to the new "normal" will leave, either by their own volition or with a maybe not so gentle push.

Anders Liu-Lindberg
Title: Regional Finance Business Partner
Company: Maersk Line Northern Europe
LinkedIn Profile
(Regional Finance Business Partner, Maersk Line Northern Europe) |

Growth is great... isn't it? The fact is that when a company grows it has a setup that can sustain growth to a certain level however if that level is passed, as in your case, structural changes need to happen. Everyone on board would think that's great so I will get more challenges and opportunities however more often it means that roles are split so certain positions instead of being jack of all trades - master of none have to be master of one trade only.

We experienced something similar just last year when preparing for 200% growth in our local office. Our previous CEO realized that his role would be split into two and decided two leave. A big loss for the company for sure, but on the other hand we needed people to be more focused on their core capabilities. Other people has followed the CEO out, but instead we now have new operations managers focusing on what they do best (operating drilling rigs) and a location manager to head up the support functions.

My point is that you need to do what you need to to prepare for and excel in this new phase that your company is in regardless of what senior leaders might think. If they cannot change with the company then perhaps they are just not a good fit for the company anymore. Will your districts take a hit if one or two of them leaves? Most likely, but that is more than offset by setting an executive team that is ready to lead the company into the next growth phase.

Topic Expert
Christie Jahn
Title: CFO
Company: Prime Investments & Development
(CFO, Prime Investments & Development) |

Thank you Anders and very well said. You set my mind at ease. We are definitely ready for this and it has been a long time coming. We should be able to handle it if one of them leaves as we do have some great people in the back ground shining. I need to remember to remain objective; I do my best work from that place!

Anonymous
(Director of Finance and Accounting) |

You need to communicate to the DM their value, and have a clearly mapped out career path for this person within the organization. It is clear from your description that this person is highly ambitious, and it sounds like they are a key player on your team that would be in your best interest to retain. You have to understand what motivates them and figure out a way to appeal to this.

Once this individual knows that the company values him/her and is consciously making an effort to appeal to their specific career objectives, they will have no problems with this new position.

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