June 23, 2021

Finding the Right Executives to Lead Your Growing Start-Up


During Season Three of Silicon Valley, Pied Piper founder Richard is fired and replaced as Chief Executive Officer (CEO) by “Action” Jack Barker. The belief is that Richard isn’t ready for prime time and Barker, an old school, and long time leader in the tech field, is what the start-up needs to get to the next level. That the team at Pied Piper isn’t happy about this change is to be expected, that things don’t go quite as planned, is not, and what this story line deftly points out, is how unnerving it can be when your start-up is ready to hire an executive or add to the executive team. If your company is going to evolve, and you’re going to take your business to the next level of growth and beyond, you eventually need to build out your leadership team. But to be successful, a dedicated plan, and understanding of your strengths, weakness and needs, is essential. You can begin crafting your plan by asking yourself the following questions, all of which are common among founders:

  1. What are the gaps in our leadership?
  2. Is now the right time to add a new executive?
  3. What does my leadership team look like?
  4. How can I find the right executive?

Identify Gaps in Your Start-Up’s Leadership

Know your organization’s strengths and understand where there are gaps. Also, make sure your leadership hires fill those gaps and complement your existing team. For example, the CEO has to be a strategic thinker, understanding where the field is heading and betting they know what your consumers will want before they do. This was one of Steve Jobs’ greatest gifts, he didn’t react to what consumers said they wanted, he showed them before they even knew to ask for it. CEOs also have to be able to rise above the day to day minutiae and struggles of running a company, something that Richard cannot allow himself to do at Pied Piper, but something Jack is quite capable of achieving. For additional thoughts on the role of the CEO, as well as positions such as Chief Operating Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, and so on, Entrepreneur Magazine, does a nice job of illustrating their respective responsibilities.

Know The Right Time to Add a New Executive

In Silicon Valley, “Action” Jack is brought in, because Richard and the Pied Piper team have gone as far as they can go on their own. They need someone with vision and a steady hand. They also need a cheerleader and a leader who can bring them together as a team. Up until now it’s their underdog status and ongoing problems that have allowed them to focus and bond together. The right time to add a new executive is when you’re ready to grow, the opportunity to grow is present and that growth will only be restrained by poor leadership and the inability to work as a team. Any challenge that serves to leave you stuck in where you’ve been and not where you want to go, be that vision, financial or branding, is a potential role to be filled, and when you company is stuck, that’s the right time to bring in new people, new ideas and new executives.

Final Thoughts

It can be an unnerving time when your start-up is ready to hire an executive or add to the executive team in an effort to take the business to the next growth level and beyond.

But that’s why you need a plan.

First though, ask yourself whether it is the right time and then, what you’re seeking in this position.

Look at your strengths and weaknesses and ask yourself what the right person would look like.

After that, do market research, determine what you can realistically pay and whether the right person would be interested in this job.

Then engage in your search, and if you cannot find the right candidate, refine it.

Hirewell is Your Partner to Help You Find the Right Executive for Your Organization. We’re here to provide you with the knowledge and support you need to get your plan started.

More blogs from Matt Massucci

See all Talent Insights Blog entries....

Our Latest Featured Episode

Our Shows