The column executive briefing

Issue #XVII

“You must be able to do the job — those are the table stakes. Leading, developing strategy, execution, growing margins and top-line revenue, improving the bottom-line, increasing efficiency and customer satisfaction are just some of the table stakes.”

Step Two – Use before and after views to describe a situation — actions taken — and results delivered when you handled a challenge similar to the one facing the search committee and their company. Describe the obstacles you and your team encountered, and overcame in order to achieve your objectives. Highlight your ability to identify the business levers and operational drivers that deliver results. Make the business case on how your experience and accomplishments transfer — or directly connects — to the situation they are facing.

Be prepared to answer questions on their operating goals and strategic imperatives—and how you would provide the highest level of service in meeting their objectives and better serving their customers. Describe how you would address the search committee’s business challenge while decreasing operating expense. Introduce your growth strategy and describe how it will insure the success of their product or service. Highlight your experience and ability to adapt it to the market, region or country where they are looking to penetrate or gain additional market share.

Bring the business and financial drivers into your conversation. Using terms such as revenue, working capital elements, cost per unit, productivity, efficiency, ROI, ROIC, NPV and IRR will provide meaningful insight into your general business and financial acumen. How would you exceed their “cost of capital” and directly contribute to meeting this goal? Your answer should include elements that reflect return on invested capital being increased by reducing capital expenditures while growing revenue. How will you apply this financial principle to support their business model and meet their corporate objectives?

How will you help lead their organization in achieving efficiency improvements? What mission-critical processes or business enabling technologies have you implemented that favorably impacted your company’s bottom-line? How have you inspired your team to continuously improve and become a “Best Practice?” What metrics did you implement to measure progress? Smoothly shift from describing your past accomplishments to outlining how you will utilize your experience to tackle the search committee’s specific situation. Also, be prepared to talk about when you came up short on reaching the stated goal. Describe how you applied this learning experience to another later situation and benefited the company by achieving your objective. Your narrative must show a consistent pattern of someone that is continually learning and growing while moving the needle on performance and achieving results.