Wednesday, April 8, 2009

THE RIGHT LEADER: Selecting Executives Who Fit
By Nat Stoddard with Claire Wyckoff

"I wish that all the interviews I did where ascomfortable and professional as yours, and that the interviewers came as well-prepared with relevant questions as you did. You really made the entire experience a pleasure." -----Nat Stoddard

As I read the author's credentials, "Chairman of Crenshaw Associates, former CEO of a leading kitchen products manufacturer and a former president, and CEO of GE's Canadian appliance affiliate, Camco, Inc.," I was very impressed. There is no doubt that Stoddard knows what it looks like from the top. My initial question was "What does this book have to do with someone like me? I am just a regular employee. I have always looked up at the top executives in the organization from somewhere in the middle."

As I read the book, I began to understand the importance it has for me and for anyone else involved in an organization.

The book is well-researched, interesting and thought provoking. The statistics about the failure rate for top executives in corporate America are staggering. The amount of money wasted would sustain a small country for at least a year. Why do organizations give top executives such "golden parachutes" when they do a bad job and are replaced? Why can't Boards and Teams select the right person for the job in the first place? They seem to be looking at the wrong things and not asking the right questions.

Stoddard and Wyckoff present a Match-Fit Model that makes a lot of sense. There is also information about how to put together the selection team. There are recommendations for questions that should be asked as well as a discussion of the organization's culture. Doesn't it make sense that if there is success at the top there will be success at the bottom of the organization? Don't we all want to be part of a successful and stable organization with solid leadership?

I believe this book contains ideas that are useful to any group choosing new leadership, whether it's a church group, a non-profit organization or a major corporation. The idea of actually choosing the right person the first time just seems like common sense. but I read a quote the other day that says, "Common sense isn't so common any more." What do you think?

hear the interview

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