Category Archives: Leadership

Interviewing CEO Candidates: Questions for Strategy

I am currently serving on a search committee for a new executive director for the National Adult Day Services Association.  It’s been a long process where we have had to identify transitional leadership, do some significant strategic planning, and identify and then interview candidates.  I’ve learned so much during the last few months.

A friend of mine and a fellow search committee member sent our team a link to this article by James Citrin of Spencer Stuart: How Boards Interview CEO Candidates.

The article is an interesting guide for a board to use when hiring their next CEO or Executive Director or other leadership position.  He’s has hit on some great questions that cover a wide range of a CEO’s responsibilities.  In his interview guide, he covers the following areas:

  • Growth, Financial, and Operational Management
  • Strategy and Vision
  • Leadership and Team Building
  • Technology
  • Culture

He includes some additional interview questions that are useful, but a bit outside of the above categories.  The most important question according to Citrin: “What questions do you have for us?”

Read the article.  Here’s my question for the small business owner: can you answer these questions about your company?  In a resource constrained environment, how do you lead your company forward?

At least those were the questions I was asking myself.  I’ve got some work to do.




A while back, a colleague invited me to partner with her in her business. I was intrigued by the possibility, but ultimately decided not to do it.  The key morsel of advice came from my attorney, who begged me: “Don’t do it!”  I’ve been thinking further about the partner/no partner question:

  • Does the partner bring something to the table that you don’t have besides money?
  • Can the partner round out a management team?
  • Can you work and live with the individual for a long period of time?
  • It’s hard to get a divorce.  Who has control?  How do you escape?

It’s probably inevitable that a partnership will develop.  There may or may not be ownership in the company, but if there are any employees, the operating owner-employee relationship will start to look like a developing partnership.

One last thought: find a good attorney.  Ultimately, the partnership needs to be put in writing with an operating agreement.  The agreement will have a lot of boiler plate language in it, but it needs to spell out who the decision maker is and how control is divvied up.  It better also represent how the partnership will dissolve whether for amicable reasons (one person wants to move to Hawaii) or because of more nefarious reasons.