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January 31, 2011
Onboarding the New Exec
 
New, fresh, different. That is a mantra we hear all the time. Clients need someone to come in with fresh eyes to provide unique—yet specific—solutions to the problems facing brands and organizations today. 
 
For the past two years, organizations have been reacting to the market versus innovating change. If you don’t have the right person in the right role you are never going to win. 
 
How do we attract new customers without alienating current ones? How do we remain true to our brand when we launch a new product category? How can we be viewed as an authority when we’re newcomers? How do we get our customers to not only buy from us but remain loyal? These questions are not easily answered.  Only by having the right leader in place can a company truly create change. 
 
The go-to solution is hiring talent you are familiar with—but that is not always the correct solution. If you truly want or need innovation, oftentimes change comes from bringing in someone with transferrable skill sets. Someone without preconceived notions and experiences that stunt growth. Someone who has permission to make radical departures.
 
The biggest challenge presented to a new executive comes in the form of acceptance. Think of an organ transplant—if the host doesn’t accept the new entity, the body will reject it. The CEO is responsible for setting a model of acceptance. Simply hiring a new manager or director is not enough. In order to create an atmosphere where everyone pulls together and moves forward, the CEO must sell his/her vision internally. 
 
Only vision for the future coupled with past success on the part of the newcomer will convince the skeptics. The whole organization must be ready, willing, and able in order to make the new relationship work. The organization that already believes that excellent individuals make the team stronger will more easily embrace new thinking and ideas and outpace the organizations that are clinging to what used to work. 

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A founding member of Martens & Heads!, Kate Benson brings more than 15 years of industry experience and executive search expertise. She focuses on senior-level placements within the lifestyle practice and specializes in general management, sales, marketing, human resources, and operations. Her clients include global iconic brands as well as entrepreneurial startups.

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