If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you know the importance we place on well-executed succession planning (A Roadmap for Effective GC Succession Planning). But what do you do if your GC unexpectedly announces they’re leaving or retiring and you’re without a handpicked successor or qualified potential successors to step in and fill the void?
As you contemplate your next move, consider how the role of GC has very deliberately expanded and become more critical strategically. That realization makes it even more important that the candidates you attract possess the potential to continue the role trajectory that’s been started.
So where should you begin the search process?
Define the Role
Since you’re hiring both for today and the future, you need all stakeholders to be on board with the position description and requirements. You also need to consider the responsibilities the position will assume immediately and those that will eventually become part of it.
Here’s how to approach the challenge of role definition:
- Additional leadership possibilities. Consider leadership responsibilities outside of the legal department, such as HR, government relations, risk, investor relations, and compliance.
- Define strategic priorities. Consider the strategic importance of M&A, expectations around litigation and regulatory requirements, the importance of labor relations and negotiation, and any other business priorities that could impact this position.
- Understand the role of company culture. Define who you are and where you want to take culture as the company evolves. As this role takes major leadership responsibilities, it becomes a key contributor and steward of the company’s culture.
- Understand your pitch to candidates. It’s not too early to begin thinking about what you’re selling to top candidates. Consider how you package the collective vision of key stakeholders.
- Determine preliminary compensation parameters. We’ll cover this subject in depth in an upcoming article.
After defining the role, here are the other important steps you need to take to guarantee a successful search.
Establish Your Timeline
Identify the path forward and the important milestones.
Select a Search Partner
Whether you rely on your senior HR leadership or a qualified search consultant, you need someone to own the process who will have the confidence and trust of key stakeholders.
When we’re brought into a strategic search engagement, we begin with an alignment meeting to confirm and assess the degree to which the noted steps have been deliberately and intelligently completed. The output from this alignment process is an Opportunity Prospectus, which outlines all of the above both for the benefit of internal stakeholders and, more importantly, as a marketing tool to attract the right, top talent.
Now that you know exactly what you’re looking for and have created the tools to help you in that process, it’s time to begin the attraction portion of your search, which we’ll address in detail in part two of this article.