Why the Role of the Small Business Key Executive is So Important

In the recent post on scaling the talent side of your business, we considered the five tips to successfully aligning your team for business growth. Hiring and developing the right management team – and/or key individual – will be essential to getting your organization to the next level. While building a solid management team may be the goal over time, often one or more key individuals, executive, or right-hand person emerges who drives execution of daily activities. Especially in a smaller business – say one that employs fewer than 50 people – this individual’s role may be captured in a Director, VP, or C-type title.

Without a capable individual in such a role, (a second or third “in-command”) your success as a business owner, entrepreneur, or CEO will be seriously diminished. Having the right individual in place can force efficiency as that person holds your operations and team accountable for delivering results. This efficiency can and should free you up to take on more business building or strategic activity and reduce your daily involvement.

Whether this person (or people) bring a finance, operations, marketing, product development, or any other functional background, their role and contribution can viewed and valued from six dimensions:

Co-strategist. This person’s perspective can be invaluable as a sounding board and trusted confidant in helping set, shape, and navigate the future direction of the company.

Team leader. For those who have acquired significant expertise first as an individual contributor on your team, evolving beyond their functional expertise to one who guides and directs the work of others can take time, and is a success measure for growing your organization.

Content expert. At the same time, this person needs to bring their knowledge and expertise to developing and refining everyday practices within the company.

Change agent. Change can be relentless in any growing firm, and this individual can not only wave the corporate flag, but champion the way forward, aligning people in the right direction.

Values champion. This individual must truly live and embody the values of the company, demonstrating the behaviors the company honors and holds steadfast.

Active learner. Always a student of the game, the key executive or emerging leader must engage in ongoing professional development and as a student of leadership, engage in the larger business and organizational issues, not just the transactional daily concerns they face.

For your small enterprise to succeed and grow, you’ll need one or more key individuals who embody all of the above dimensions; these individuals are key to building organizational capacity and freeing up the time and energy of the founder, owner, or CEO to rise above the clouds and keep the enterprise moving forward. If your key individuals aren’t demonstrating these roles, they may need coaching and development to raise their game. Additionally, every hiring decision that’s made for a critical role should ensure it considers candidates with the experience or potential to fulfill such a mandate on your leadership/management team.

If you’re challenged with role clarity for your key players, or can see they need of coaching and development support to develop their capabilities, we can help. Contact us for a complimentary consultation.