How to find a great company by evaluating the CEO!
Changes to the role and demands on CEOs matter to every employee in the company, entry-level to top strategists. It also matters to every jobseeker who is considering an offer from a company. Part I of this blog, introduced these important points.
In this post, I’m addressing why every jobseeker should be tracking the C-Suite of their current employer and why every jobseeker should carefully research the all members of the C-Suite. I’ve included tips to every jobseeker on how to do that. Then I’d like to offer a great example of a company that demonstrates best practices and why I’m making all the commotion about this topic.
The non-traditional C-Suite and some important observations.
I admit to some head-shaking when I looked at this Wikipedia article and found over 67 C-Suite titles. A few of my favorites included:
- Digital Prophet
- Chief Electrification Officer (another CEO)
- Chief People Officer (CPO), not to be confused with the:
- Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO), and of course:
- The Chief Relationship Officer (who probably keeps everyone’s identity intact)
I noticed that the Chief Evangelist Officer was missing…yes, yet another CEO position. It’s easy to see why people are snickering in the background. I too, have to catch myself.
In conversation, and in his blog on this topic, Neil Patrick made the comment that many of these positions don’t report to the CEO. He also made the comment that companies are rethinking how they will integrate into the digital age. (Please, if you didn’t read his article, here’s the link again.)
So the ever-changing C-Suite positions are in flux. If you are a part of this new dynamic you may attest that positions can shift without warning. Having the title of Chief Evangelist, Digital Ninja or Chief Commercial Officer, may be a hard sell on a résumé during a jobsearch and frankly, they look a bit “over the top” on LinkedIn as well.
These changes in the C-Suite are giving us important cues about company culture. They cause shifts in the use of resources…yes, including the “human” resources. Are you seeing the importance of this to your jobsearch? …to your job security?
and track what’s going on in the C-Suite.
The shifting of titles and responsibilities should capture the interest of every employee and jobseeker.
Tips for jobseekers:
- Great companies exist! Many CEOs, frustrated at the shifting job market, are starting their own companies. Find these companies!
- Identify and follow top leadership – those making the news headlines may not be ideal.
- Do your homework on the history of CEOs in the places where you want to work.
- Did the CEO come from a “sweat-shop environment?
- What do employees say about the culture under their leadership?
- Is the company growth steady and organic or exponential? (I suggest you favor steady and organic growth. Exponential growth can be unnerving and hectic for everybody.)
- Is the new company watching and embracing new and appropriate technologies?
- Does the target company have a vision to integrate into global commerce or an awareness of the impact it will have?
- Is there evidence that the revenue streams are recession proof, or at least an indication that there is a resumption plan?
- If you are still thinking that a large company is the safest and most reliable career move. Please reconsider. Small and medium companies have traditionally led economic recovery. It is likely that large companies, at least in the U.S., will continue with lay-offs.
- Regardless of the size of company you work for, do your trend-tracking.
- Connect with the IT department and listen for new projects that include data base conversions. These might indicate a merger or acquisition, which can bring additional opportunity.
- Watch trends in your industry. Identify the industry leaders and watch the news. (These “leaders” may be economists, demographers, and researchers—rather than CEOs.)
- Ask the strategic leadership in a company: Are there disruptive technologies that may cause a change in direction? Is your company aware and making plans?
- Identify the top executives and companies that are building healthy, productive, balanced companies.
HOPE: Where is it to be found?
Hope is everywhere I look! Here are some ideas:
- Most CEO’s who leave the workforce in their 50s have 25 years or so of career left. Many of them have already or are becoming entrepreneurs. They are starting small businesses. Having been through the sweat-shop model, they will hopefully set up a positive culture that values employees. Find these leaders and connect with them. Seek companies with this kind of leadership.
- Human resource professionals are shouting about the importance of employee engagement. Find companies that value employees, who are looking for engagement as well as work-life balance.
- Build your social capital. Reach out to like-minded people in your industry and the secondary industries that support your primary industry.
- Begin trend-tracking. Embrace this as an exciting part of your job security.
Demonstration: What does a top CEO and company look like:
Recently, I was contacted by an employee from YouTern, Mack Watts. We connected last year because Mack wanted to use one of my blogs on the YouTern site. Mack is a millennial, but his age isn’t important. He’s everything you could want or ask for in a professional in any stage of his or her career. He is a responsive, respectful, confident leader who is diligent and communicates with dignity and integrity. A few weeks ago, Mack asked about another blog that he thought would help his millennial audience.
The blogs were adapted and republished for the YouTern audience. During my daily Twittersphere observations, I noticed that Mark S. Babbitt was re-tweeting everything about the blog. So I looked him up on LinkedIn and discovered he is the CEO of YouTern. So that made sense.
Then I looked at his profile. Amazing. He’s all over the place: Harvard Business Review, Huffington Post, Wall Street Journal, Forbes, Bloomberg….and more.
So I think to myself, “Okay, but what is he about …really.” If you carefully check out his Summary statement, we see that he has several businesses. YouTern focuses on helping millennials enter the workforce. SwitchandShift is a leadership blog, helping organizations transition into the Social Age. He’s also co-founder of ForwardHeroes.org which assists military veterans in their next step after serving our great country. It’s obvious: Mark Babbitt is all about helping others succeed.
But is it a good company to work for?
Using this scenario as a potential employer, we can ask some key questions:
- Is the revenue stream recession proof?
Yes. Helping others to successfully manage their future is recession proof.
- Are there indications that the CEO is a thought leader in his or her industry?
Clearly. Mr. Babbitt has a history in the employment industry.
- Does the CEO focus on driving more than revenue?
Yes. Check out each company that he is associated with. Visit the nonprofit, ForwardHeroes.org and please consider a donation while you are there.
- Check his summary for clues to what he is about: serial mentor. Favorite role: father of five…
- Is the CEO aware of emerging technologies and is s/he trend-tracking?
Yes, the whole social media scene and he is helping others make the change as well.
- What is the social credibility of the CEO and these companies?
Internet searches on Mark Babbitt, the company names, the Better Business Bureau (BBB), Glassdoor.com…everything I could think of…and it all came up clean.
- What else is said about him: He’s in Inc.’s list of 100 Great Leadership speakers, Genjuice’s list of 100 most desirable mentors…
- What can be learned from employees (current and past) at these companies?
Search “YouTern” on LinkedIn. Check out former employees: What are they doing now?
Conclusion: Based on all the information I can find, this CEO, Mark S. Babbitt is outstanding. He’s the kind of person I would want to work for, work with, and a person who will help me grow in my thinking as well as my professional skills.
Trend-tracking and why CEOs are so important
In closing, I hope these blogs help to understand the importance of trend-tracking for every jobseeker from early to late career. As we move to a labor-on-demand workforce model, a consistent income will require the flexibility to move between companies, cross industries, and carefully research new opportunities. CEOs set culture and that can make the difference between whether you like going to work and have the tools to be successful and putting up with a toxic, threatening work environment.
Tips for jobseeking CEOs and C-Suite associates :
- To apply for positions other than CEO, consider putting your “role” rather than your “title” on your résumé and follow it with additional clarification. It will look something like this:
Strategic Business Development (with the title of Chief Executive Officer)
- Provided strategic leadership for 12 direct reports and 35 indirect reports.
- Yada, yada.
- If you believe the content in these blogs clearly speak to your current situation, then consider starting your own company, consultancy, or perhaps acquiring a small company that you believe you can turn around. (TIP: Avoid using your name or initials if you start a new company.)
- Insist on a culture of entrepreneurship where your employees are free to work hard, build your business and be rewarded in kind. In doing so, more jobs will be created.
Call if you need help: (860) 833-4072