How can car companies survive the electric transition? By finding business leaders with the characteristics required to weather this unique change.

How can car companies survive the electric transition? Recruit the RIGHT leaders

Earlier this week, Swedish automotive giant Volvo announced that it would only produce electric or hybrid models starting in 2019, NPR reported. Volvo President Hakan Samuelsson stated that the company expects to sell 1 million such automobiles by 2025 and attributed the internal embrace of new-generation technology to evolving consumer demand.

Indeed, car buyers worldwide are gravitating toward electric and hybrid models in an effort to cut fuel costs and conserve the environment. This mass movement has generated excitement in the automotive industry, as car companies tap research and development resources to design proprietary green engine and chassis assemblies. However, it has also created uncertainty. Enterprises in the space must now abandon long-held ideas and move into alien territory. How can they survive? By finding business leaders with the characteristics required to weather this unique change. Here are two of these key qualities:

Adaptable
Vehicles have always contained many moving parts. However, electric and hybrid models are considerably more advanced than their predecessors, leveraging advanced electronics and mechanical features to facilitate optimal comfort, driveability and efficiency. These unique design features have catalyzed change on the production floor, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. Now, engineers must rejigger their skill sets and embrace innovation to keep pace – and so too should executives. Ever-changing technology drives the automotive industry and business leaders in the sector must be able to design and deploy business strategies that evolve with the product.

"Business leaders in the automotive sector must be able to design and deploy business strategies that evolve with the product."

Collaborative
Electric and hybrid cars depend on core public infrastructure such as government-sponsored charging stations. For this very reason, car makers in the space must not only focus on building vehicles but also work with legislators and other stakeholders to create the infrastructure needed to support these new-age models, Slate reported. Unfortunately, this is not an easy task. In fact, some states are pulling back on incentives benefiting the adoption of electric cars, according to CNBC. With this state of affairs in play, automotive companies must recruit leaders who can effectively collaborate with peers in the public sector and others. While car manufacturers can churn out innovative products in-house, they must work with external parties to prompt real-world use.

Is your organization looking for an executive leader with these skills? Connect with YES Partners today. Our recruitment consultants can put you in contact with the adaptable, collaborative candidates who possess the skills and expertise to help your company move forward into an electric future. 

To see some of the roles we have already successfully placed, click here.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people for all company functions, across many industries.

Many startups conflate or confuse two key technology-based roles: chief information officer and chief technology officer.

CIO or CTO: Which one does your startup need?

As advanced enterprise hardware and software solutions progress, business and technology become further entwined. Few understand this better than startup founders, many of whom lead the companies driving this trend. However, this technological awareness doesn't necessarily translate internally, especially when it comes to hiring and recruitment. The often jumbled search for key technical stakeholders encapsulates this issue.

According to TechRepublic, many burgeoning firms conflate or confuse two key technology-based roles: chief information officer and chief technology officer. While there is some overlap in the skills among these leaders, each performs wholly unique duties that benefit the organization in drastically different ways.

Understanding the CIO
All of the enterprise technology that supports day-to-day operations falls under the purview of the CIO, according to the Society for Human Resource Management. These leaders manage all onsite hardware and software, facilitating essential maintenance and user support activities. Additionally, most work with fellow C-level contributors to align IT operations with overarching business goals to promote scalability and boost profit margins. CIOs might also oversee the collection and application of system performance metrics for organizations that have embraced big data.

In the U.S., CIOs make an average of $151,562 per year, with some earning salaries as high as $230,000, according to data from PayScale.

"While the CIO directs internal IT activities, the CTO works to produce digital products for external consumption."

Understanding the CTO
While the CIO directs internal IT activities, the CTO works with engineering teams to produce digital products for external consumption, according to SHRM. Consequently, these leaders spend most of their time architecting hardware and software, as well as working with stakeholders in the other departments to properly package and promote the assets they design. CTOs normally wield considerably influence within the organization as their activities correlate directly to overall profitability.

CTOs make roughly the same amount as their internal counterparts, according to PayScale.

Startups looking to fill one or both of these positions with transformative talent must take these details into consideration when evaluating potential candidates. Of course, in situations like this, going it alone is not the best option. Executive search firms can help growing enterprises find the technological leaders they need to move forward, providing well-connected executive search consultants who know the space and can find the RIGHT professionals for these roles.

Is your startup interested in taking this collaborative route? Connect with YES Partners today. To see some of the roles we have already successfully placed, click here.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people for all company functions, across many industries.

If you find yourself in need of a CEO to run your growing startup, consult the following tips.

Strategies for hiring a startup CEO

Not all startup founders are equipped to manage the businesses they build. Many look outside the organization for leaders with the executive experience and vision it takes to transform their fledgling enterprises into industry-leading powerhouses. Of course, finding candidates with the ability to succeed in such roles can be challenging. Luckily, there are executive recruitment strategies that address this very situation.

If your growing startup needs a CEO, consult the following tips:

Start with a strategy
Before embarking on the search for your executive leader, you should first firm up your overarching developmental goals, the Harvard Business Review advised. With a blueprint for the future in hand, you can formulate an ideal profile for the individual fit to manage your company. This will enable you to easily narrow the field and select a CEO with skills needed to succeed within your organization.

"Prospective candidates for the CEO spot at your organization should exhibit grit."

Look for cultural compatibility, conviction
Though you may be in the process of building a more traditional internal infrastructure, your enterprise is different than most industry stalwarts. You most likely manage passionate, mission-driven employees with whom you maintain close relationships.

As a result, it is essential that you bring on an executive leader who will fit within your tight-knit team and feed off of the enthusiasm that fuels your business, Inc. advised. In short, find a fellow true believer to take over at the helm.

Focus on grit
Often, the hours spent working at a startup are long, the pay is low and the successes are few and far between. Only individuals with tenacity and a willingness to work in the trenches survive in such environments. Prospective candidates for the CEO spot at your organization should exhibit such qualities, Fast Company reported.

Think you might need some additional help looking for your first executive leader? Contact YES Partners! Our executive search consultants have the expertise and industry connections to link you with proven candidates who are more than qualified to take your company to new heights.

On many occasions a startup-CEO is asked to join when the company is still in pre-funding stage, i.e. the startup at that stage has virtually no money and therefore is not able to pay any salary but needs to attract the (right) candidates willing and able to work for initially equity alone. This narrows the available candidates with specific experience quite a bit. Due to the early stage nature it however is even more important to find the RIGHT candidate for a company.

To see some of the roles we have already successfully placed, click here.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people for all company functions, across many industries.

Can strong leadership stop 'zombie companies?'

Just because a company has demonstrated strong growth doesn't mean it will sustain it without the right person at the helm. Businesses need to maintain the right c-level staff to ensure that they don't simply grow fast but also have the long-term plan to keep developing into a long-lasting company. Otherwise, the organization risks drying up and turning into a "zombie." This term basically refers to a business that is no longer profitable and drains resources even if it once seemed promising.

While it's particularly important for startups to stop this sort of effect from growing, zombie companies are a wide trend. One article for CityWireGlobal quotes investment expert Bill Gross, who connects the problem to low interest rates that fuel bad corporations. However, there's a possible solution to this problem: good management.

Sathvik Tantry cites this as one of the ways venture capitalists have to counter stagnating businesses. Tantry also lists some options available to those who head these companies.

"Tech entrepreneurs can do their part by identifying their 'local maximum,'" Tantry says.  "Founders must think about the implications and expectations of raising money and assess whether they are actually realistic. If they aren't, it's better either to raise less or sell the company," the author adds.

To please the venture capitalists behind a new company, younger businesses might seek out a retained executive search firm able to commit to finding someone to fill an executive role within a specific timeframe. That way, they can find someone who will keep a company thriving as it moves into a new era.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

Setting up a great investor-executive relationship

The CEO at the head of a startup company may have to develop a strong professional relationship with the investors and VCs behind the business. In a practical sense, this can mean understanding what the business' goal is and how to achieve this through long-term strategies. Before this person is identified, executive search consultants can bring the right person within their reach.

An Entrepreneur article by Martin Zwilling recently looked at some of the factors that can influence a better financial projection of a startup's performance. For example, Zwilling writes that businesses can estimate funding expectations utilizing cash shortfalls. He also notes investor return as an important item to display to create more outside investor interest.

Marc Lederman, an investor himself, has his own opinion on the best qualities a startup CEO should have, based on what his own experience at an investment firm has taught him. He notes the particular between "tangible" executive attributes (work experience, education etc.) and the "intangible" qualities that are harder to measure.

"They are the more abstract concepts such as leadership skills, loyalty and ability, capacity to coach and to be coached, work ethic, and integrity," Lederman writes in an opinion piece for Philadelphia Magazine. "With no proven science or standard by which to measure such attributes, we utilize our networks to find people who know candidates or have worked with them in the past."

Create a stronger business and lay the groundwork for more improvements by using an executive search firm to locate the executive talent who will follow company rules and abide by the general strategy for growth.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

Rising venture capital funds could require new leadership

Is your startup ready to take advantage of venture capital opportunities? According to recent statistics, the amount of money dedicated to VC funding has been booming lately. So far, the United States has seen more than $7 billion worth of venture deals: this activity suggests that the number could meet or exceed last year's aggregate total of $9.3 billion.

This data comes from PitchBook, which announced the figures as part of a larger look at the growth in venture investments over the past six years. During this time, 584 private equity firms have financed "at least one venture investment," and the past eight months have witnessed 181 venture rounds to date, more than half of the 2014 high.

For growing startups, this could mean opportunities for extensive financial support. Cromwell Schubarth of the Silicon Valley Business Journal referenced some of the large-scale deals tied to the upswing in private equity deals.

"The massive increase in corporate venture, private equity and mutual fund money flowing into venture-backed businesses has raised the stakes on early investors and VCs," Schubarth writes. "The trend has fed eye-popping $1 billion funding rounds in the past two years at astronomical valuations for companies like Uber ($50 billion) and Airbnb ($25 billion)."

Successfully building off of newly available capital will be easier when your business has the right leadership in executive positions. With a dedicated retained executive search firm, companies will locate the right person for any open c-level position within their target timeframe, which could correspond with important periods of funding and the resources currently available.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

Finding a head of sales with the right skill set

When it is time to hire a head of sales, CEOs need to weigh the decision of whom to appoint to this position carefully. The right person will drive growth and bring in more related sales talent, contributing to profits on an ongoing basis. Writing for Forbes, venture capitalist firm partner Dev Ittycheria explained some of the key qualities for success in this role.

The ideal sales executive, according to Ittycheria, is able to recruit high-performing new employees and put them in a place to succeed, but is also coachable. He or she is able to train sales personnel effectively while remaining willing to learn new things, paying special attention to the specifics of their environment.

One factor Ittycheria highlights is the importance of placing candidate skills and performance over specific industry knowledge. He recommends that the candidate for a leading sales position be considered based on their competency, and suggests the best hire could be from an unexpected source. 

"Many times I see companies getting excited about hiring someone from the competition or a related space," he said. "While having a relevant background on the company's market is always a plus, I would never compromise on trading fundamental sales leadership skills for domain expertise. In fact it's often very helpful to have someone new come in who will challenge the status quo."

Before hiring someone to fill this position, CEOs should consider the way candidates have performed in the past and whether they've been able to meet previous sales goals. Executive search consultants give CEOs a helping hand in finding the person with the right leadership skills.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

Business plans should focus on the present, not the beginning or end

There is a lot of pressure on startup CEOs to grow their businesses from the very beginning and win venture capital. This reality raises the question: What are the traits that investors look for in a CEO and a company? An article by Fast Company's Jim Madden highlights some of the most important elements of executive behavior.

One of the most important items on this list is an emphasis on quality over immediacy. This means that the CEO shows he will be in charge of a productive venture with a plan for the future. While the periods of immediate growth that a business goes through are necessary, investors are more likely to support a business with the potential to last, starting now.

CEOs shouldn't only think about the beginning of their company, but also a possible end. In a Forbes piece about advice for young CEOs, Dean Drako, head of Eagle Eye Networks, said that planning on a final sale of the business shouldn't obscure the need for strong performance in the present.

"You can be open to selling the company, but planning for it as your goal is a flawed strategy as it detracts from your customer focus," he said. "Most acquirers are interested in a successful company. Build one. Measure results and adapt quickly.  Smaller companies can change and move fast – use that to your advantage."

Your company's concept for the future should be balanced against all of the current projects you have to do now. An executive recruitment professional will help your company find someone with the skills to think ahead while working hard today.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

Startup CEOs should be able to manage new sources of venture capital

Ambitious companies that are paying attention have many opportunities to secure venture capital.

In a piece written for Entrepreneur, experienced venture capitalist and CEO Mitchell Kertzman divulged some of his advice for those looking to help a startup blossom. Citing examples from his own CEO tenure, Kertzman identified the ability to successfully balance expenses and use capital wisely as one of the defining aspects of a good executive.

Handling these revenue streams and actively pursuing new ones appropriately is essential for success. Kertzman discusses how being able to successfully negotiate money matters can make an executive shine.

"Success almost never comes as fast as founders think it will. About once a quarter, I encourage founders to look at whether the company is meeting its revenue goals," he said. "If it's falling short, I try to understand whether it's because the product is not competitive or whether the market is developing more slowly than anticipated."

There are certainly plenty of sources of capital should an executive need to seek additional resources. The advent of crowdfunding, for example, has allowed anyone with a great idea to test the market and raise money. 

The New York Times recently reported on a fund called Upside Partnerships that rewards founders and the startup companies they head with a cut of the profits made from its funds. These resources can support growth—if the CEOs who receive the money know what to do with them. 

Does your CEO have the drive to seek out funds and use them for success? If you aren't sure, you should turn to one of the top retained search firms for assistance in finding someone who can handle the challenge.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.

The right approach to startup recruitment

What can your startup business do to make the executive recruitment process simpler? It's all about finding exactly what your company needs at that formative moment of its development and looking for executives who not only have the same values, but are at the right point in their careers.

In the words of venture capitalist Mark Suster, what a company pushing toward expansion may need is someone who can demonstrate a similar attitude to their work as your business. In a piece for TechCrunch, Suster examines the right attitude both the searching company and candidates should have.

The approach detailed by Suster puts an emphasis on moving forward, improving and always being on the lookout for potential positive additions to the company and its culture. This is summed up in his phrase "attitude before aptitude," which focuses on examining the ways that candidates think and behave.

"Try to set out guidelines for hiring," Suster writes. "Try to live them yourself or people will see through it. As times get tough you'll value this culture. Even in uber successful times where you're hiring like mad you'll want to know what somebody who embodies your culture is like."

Others have expressed this opinion about startups before, saying that it provides a unique field for executives to develop the skills and CEO experience they need without coming in with too much of a pedigree. Every startup may be its own Petri dish for success, and that's reason enough for your company to think carefully about the mindset of every candidate.

Finding people is easy, but finding the RIGHT people is not. YES Partners helps companies FIND the right people – for all company functions, across many industries and globally.