Transition Management Consulting, Inc.

Executive Search

An executive search is a key event in the life of an organization and a basic function of a board of directors. In fact, it may be the most important task a board undertakes. Hiring the wrong person to lead your organization can be a disaster – financially, politically, and strategically.

The cost of replacing and retraining a top-level executive is estimated at a minimum of 1½ to 2 times the annual salary of the executive. More importantly, a bad or short-term hire can set back the organization's forward momentum, and it sends a negative message to the organization's staff, members, and stakeholders.

Executive searches conducted by search professional typically produce a significantly better outcome for two important reasons. First, the pool of candidates recruited by a well-qualified search consultant will be of higher quality than those that come simply from posting an advertisement. An active recruitment strategy that seeks candidates who aren't in the job market is critical. Secondly, a search consultant brings a fresh perspective to the organization enabling the association to hire an executive who fits the job and the organization's culture. You can teach skills, but if there isn't a good cultural fit, the new executive will have marginal success or no success at all. The risk of a bad hire is simply too high.

The key to a successful executive search is finding the optimal "fit" between the organization and the candidate. The best executive search results are obtained by knowing where the organization wants to go and what executive competencies and characteristics it wants and needs to move in that direction. An independent assessment can help the organization see through the eyes of others.

TMC's executive searches are a partnership with the board and search committee. TMC takes a planning-oriented approach to the search process – utilizing stakeholder questionnaires, focus groups, or interviews designed to solicit feedback and create buy-in from stakeholder groups. In the end, the organization gains so much more from the process than to simply fill the vacant executive position – board and staff development, public relations, internal political assessment, and more.

Previously, TMC's search consultants served as executives in associations and nonprofits, and as such, they understand the unique role of executive leadership in voluntary organizations. In addition, we are skilled and highly trained organization development professionals who design and facilitate the executive search process that best supports the organization. We work together collaboratively.

Optimally, TMC bundles our executive search services with our interim executive services to create an unparalleled opportunity to critically assess the organization and find the executive who is best suited to meet both the current and future needs of the organization. Serving as the interim executive, we have an insider's knowledge of the organization, its culture, and the executive job. This allows us to find candidates who are most likely to fit the organization's culture – a key determinant of success.

TMC's approach to executive search differs from some others in the field and we believe that our customized approach provides the best outcome because we:

  • Served as executive director and other association positions previously – know what it takes to do the job.
  • Take a whole system, process approach to our work, soliciting input from multiple constituencies.
  • Focus on optimizing fit – aligning the future CEO with the culture of the organization.
  • Use principals to conduct the search, not associates or junior-level staff.
  • Spend time with our clients to best understand the client's needs and industry.
  • Remain involved with the incoming CEO to ensure the organization's success.

To understand the pros and cons of using an executive search firm or conducting an in-house search, please see TMC's Analysis of an Executive Search.