If Only I Had A Strong #2…Is it Time to Hire One? And How To Make it Work!




Section 1: Is It Time To Hire A #2


  1. Objectives
  2. Rewards
  3. Risks
  4. Pitfalls
  5. Questions To Consider Before You Start


Section 2: How To Make It Work


  1. Before You Start
  2. Define The Profile
  3. Identifying Candidates
  4. Recruiting
  5. Evaluating Candidates
  6. Integration Into The Company
  7. “Managing” #2
  8. CEO Responsibilities


Section 3: Keys to success

Section 1






  1. Personal
  2. Relax& enjoy
  3. Get free from the day-to-day
  4. Business
  5. Vision
  6. Financial
  7. Market
  8. Departmental
  9. Professional
  10. New role: What driving need does the company have that you are uniquely able to fulfill (that you are precluded from handling now)
  11. How do you want to spend your professional time?
  12. Freedom from being too caught up in the details
  13. Add more muscle (too much to do alone)
  14. Add specifically needed expertise
  15. Alignment of personal, business and professional


  1. Spend more time with your family
  2. Invest in growth of the company or harvest cash
  3. Build business for $, ego, family succession, or sale
  4. Establish a succession plan
  5. Rewards


  1. Increased profitability
  2. Improved structure and processes that allow growth
  3. Improved morale
  4. Management development
  5. Clearer objectives
  6. Improved communications processes
  7. Fresh start at open communication
  8. Increased feedback
  9. Smoother administration
  10. Increased energy
  11. Freedom for owner to pursue preferred activities
  12. Potential succession
  13. New or increased skill set

III.        Risks

  1. Loss of owner’s identity
  2. Owner frustration at the pace of results
  3. Lower morale
  4. Uncertainty of position by current company members
  5. Impact of those who disagree with the hiring decision
  6. People who wanted the job
  7. Don’t feel the position is necessary
  8. Upset at the compensation level (disagreement or jealousy)
  9. Reduced focus on vision
  10. Turnover
  11. Overhead expense without yielding benefits
  12. Loss of confidence in owner if #2 fails
  13. Major change in corporate culture


  1. Inactivity while members assess the politics of who to follow


  1. Pitfalls (& Why does the first attempt nearly always fall?)


  1. Owner fails to make the adjustment
  2. Owner doesn’t find new, valuable, comfortable role in the company
  3. Owner continues involvement in #2’s tasks
  4. To having an operating executive partner rather than a manager
  5. To new lines of communication and reporting systems and feels uninformed
  6. Unclear objectives – Success is poorly defined
  7. Limited authority limits the #2’s ability to implement change
  8. Poor communication processes with #2
  9. Hires for the wrong reasons
  10. Not willing to make necessary personnel changes
  11. Hired for project vs. long term leadership
  12. Poor fit with culture and personality of the company


  1. #2 is not fully and passionately supported by CEO (there can be no crack in the persona)
  2. #2 manages the business but not the relationship with the owner
  3. Owner just can’t share the hen house!
  4. Questions to consider before deciding to start your search
  5. How will the company be different with the right person in place’?,
  6. What is not happening now that would be improved?
  7. What, specifically, would you expect from a #2?
  8. What will new executive provide that current staff doesn’t?
  9. Why don’t they?


  1. What are the alternatives to consider?
  2. Reorganize company around desired objectives
  3. Management training
  4. Upgrade talent in existing positions
  5. Implement TEC lessons
  6. Consultants
  7. How will my life be different with a #2 in the company?


Section 2




Before you start


  1. Decide if you want a #2 or a #1
  2. Question of leadership vs. management
  3. Leadership Role
  4. a) President, COO (possibly CEO)
  5. b) Job responsibilities include significant participation in setting the direction of the company
  6. c) What you can expect

(1)        Leadership

(2)        Operating partner

(3)        Wants equity

(4)        Expects authority and accountability

  1. Management Role
  2. a) VP, General Manager
  3. b) Job responsibilities focus on getting things done
  4. c) What you can expect

(1)        Management

(2)        Implementation

(3)        Wants a compensation package

(4)        Expects direction and feedback


  1. Define your objective organization chart
  2. Organizational structure
  3. a) Classic
  4. b) Split departments
  5. c) Dotted lines
  6. d) Shared responsibility
  7. Specific personnel reporting structure
  8. Establish the style of dealing with a #2 that you are likely

to be most comfortable with

  1. Share responsibilities
  2. Supervise activities
  3. Hold accountable
  4. Abdicate responsibility
  5. Establish ground rules for working with #2
  6. Written reports
  7. Meeting schedules
  8. I/we/you
  9. Feedback to #2
  10. Prioritized expectations
  11. Key Indicators


  1. Define corporate objectives
  2. Vision (5 years or longer)
  3. Sales and profit objectives (3 – 5 years)
  4. Value objectives


Define profile based on a review of expectations


  1. Skill sets
  2. General
  3. Sales
  4. Organizational
  5. Planning
  6. Financial
  7. Negotiating
  8. Distribution
  9. Manufacturing
  10. Marketing
  11. Industry knowledge
  12. Human Resources
  13. Research & Development


  1. Experience
  2. Similar role
  3. Company size
  4. Industry
  5. Markets
  6. Corporate cultures
  7. Outside Activities


  1. Personality


  1. Values


  1. Cultural style
  2. Work ethic


  1. #lvs.#2

III.        Identifying candidates


  1. Look within the company
  2. Ask TEC members
  3. Ask accountants
  4. Ask lawyers
  5. Ask vendors
  6. Ask consultants
  7. Review industry players
  8. Head hunters
  9. Consultants
  10. Wall Street Journal


  1. Prepare recruiting pitch


  1. Corporate history
  2. Industry trends
  3. Corporate opportunity and vision
  4. Type of company (personality)
  5. Your new role
  6. Individual opportunity


  1. Evaluating candidates
  2. Prepare a phone interview worksheet
  3. Use the profile to score candidates
  4. Set up multiple meetings with leading candidates in different environments (office, restaurant, golf course, dinner with spouse)
  5. Use outside, objective interviewers (TEC members, Chair, Advisors)
  6. Consider using a human resource consultant or head hunter as a screener
  7. Offer an interview opportunity to one or two members of your Board of Directors
  8. Have the finalists meet with key management
  9. Check references
  10. Psychological testing


VI Integrating your new #2 into the company


  1. Clearly define new organization chart
  2. Review each position and person with #2
  3. Establish any exceptions to authority (sacred cows; owner expertise, role or concern)
  4. Review new organization chart with staff well in advance of arrival of #2
  5. Introduce to key management prior to actual start (if not already done during interview process)


  1. Notify the entire company of selection as soon as decision is made


  1. Assign a task to be done prior to arrival


  1. Suggest that #2 run a staff meeting to introduce his style, ground rules and expectations on day #1
  2. #2 must be aware of budgets and cash constraints (financial or philosophical)
  3. Provide as much data in advance of start date possible (financials, proformas, planning documents, personnel records, market information, trends, trade magazines etc.)


  1. Position yourself as excited and totally supportive

VII.      “Managing” your new #2

  1. Stay consistent with the style that you have chosen
  2. Choose the format that you want used in his reports to you
  3. A format that you are comfortable with
  4. A format that #2 uses with his reports
  5. A format that #2 suggests


  1. Delegation vs. abdication
  2. Authority


  1. Communication Process
  2. Weekly report
  3. Periodic review
  4. Biweekly lunch


  1. Key Indicators
  2. Establish an operating partnership
  3. Stay close
  4. Share the results of your new role


  1. Help #2 manage the relationship with you

VIII.     CEO responsibilities


  1. Written definition of your role and #2’s role
  2. Establish your role within the company
  3. Announce it
  4. Display it by example
  5. Be 1,000% supportive of #2
  6. Preach the vision (get people focused on where we are going rather than the players)
  7. Listen to staff comments & provide culture feedback to #2
  8. Be committed to this strategy as the best way to achieve the vision
  9. Compass vs. Clock orientation
  10. Leader vs. Manager

Section 3




  1. The CEO’s new role in the company must be driving force behind the effort
  2. Know how you will use your time
  3. Commit to being successful in your new role
  4. Have a clear vision the company direction
  5. Share it with everyone

Ill.        Be sure that your solutions require a #2

  1. Is this a project or a career position opportunity?
  2. How might I accomplish these objectives without a new #2
  3. Be patient in your recruiting
  4. Know and share your expectations of your #2
  5. Establish an operating partnership –

VII.      Establish and adhere to a style and ground rules

  1. Anything less than great communications will lead to failure

VIII.     Commit to success and do not second guess yourself

  1. This is a course of no return
  2. You can’t wake up in the morning and successfully “wish” that you were not pregnant
  3. Plan on working harder than ever



If Only I Had A Strong #2 – Is it Time to Hire One and How to Make it Work