Please, provide a:
1. A description of your succession planning process
For each of the five positions identify:
1. The internal candidate recommended for each position, and why.
2. A brief discussion about any candidate not chosen for a leadership position at this time, with justification for this decision.
3. If any of the positions cannot be filled by the current candidate pool, describe why an external search is recommended.
4. If any of the positions cannot be filled by the current candidate pool, briefly describe the qualities that you feel we should look for in the external candidate for this position.
Position 1: Sales Director, Middle East
Location: Saudi Arabia
Answers to: Executive Director, Asia Division
Biotech's Asia Division will be opening its first Middle East location in Saudi Arabia in the next 12 months. A Sales Director will be needed to head up this new division. A team of local salespeople will need to be recruited, hired, and trained by this leader. It is expected that this sales team may be largely men.
Two sources that are recommended for more information about doing business in Saudi Arabia are:
Guide to Saudi Arabia Etiquette, Customs, Culture, and Business
Saudi Arabia Management Guide
Position 2: Director of Research and Development (R&D)
Location: Headquarters, Yonkers, NY
Answers to: VP of Headquarter Operations
R&D is at the heart of Biotech's success and, indeed, its future. The leader of Research and Development will lead a group of scientists and innovators, but does not need to be a scientist himself/herself. R&D is located centrally at Biotech Headquarters because R&D coordinates with all other departments and divisions. This is a high profile position.
Position 3: VP of Headquarter Operations
Location: Headquarters, Yonkers, NY
Answers to: President and CEO
The Headquarters houses R&D, HR, IT, Purchasing, and Finance. Each of these departments has its own “subculture”, and each department is fairly distinct from each other. The young, youthful subculture of IT often clashes with the conservative subculture of the Finance department, for example. Many of the members of the Finance and HR teams are baby boomers and are near retirement. This leader oversees the smooth operation of all of these departments and ensures the coordination of these departments with each other and with each of the four geographic divisions across the world.
Position 4: Executive Director, North American Division
Location: Chicago, Illinois
Answers to: President and CEO
This leader will head up the largest and most profitable division of Biotech. This division is seen as the “flagship” by the other divisions, since Biotech's roots are in the United States. This Executive Director has the “ear” of the CEO, and spends a lot of time with the Barney family. This leader is faced with spearheading the future direction of Biotech in North America and is challenged with filling openings throughout the United States and Canada caused by fast growth and a retiring Baby Boomer population.
Position 5: Director of Finance
Location: Headquarters, Yonkers, NY
Answers to: Chief Financial Officer
This leader oversees the day-to-day operations of the finance department. This leader is expected to aid in strategic planning with the executive team of Biotech. Although a finance background is not required, this person is expected to bring a conservative approach to the strategic planning table, to balance out the high risk tolerance of the rest of the leadership at Biotech. A “big picture” perspective is definitely needed here.
Candidate 1 – Jackie Johnson – Current Position – Director of Purchasing
Jackie Johnson currently works as Director of Purchasing and obtained this job right out serving in the military. She is a graduate of UMUC's business administration program. Johnson entered the interview room all smiles and with a firm handshake. The interviewer admitted to being impressed by the firm handshake and the constant eye contact throughout the interview. Johnson was very prepared to discuss her future with the company. She had completed extensive research on all four geographic divisions prior to the interview. Johnson had also spoken with current employees throughout Headquarters. Johnson indicated that, as Director of Purchasing, she had worked very hard to create a small business “subculture” within her department. She felt that her employees were empowered to make their own decisions, which freed her to think strategically about purchasing for Biotech. She admits that this “free-rein” approach to leadership has sometimes allowed her department to have missteps in distribution with divisions outside of North America. She has worked hard to overcome that image by altering her leadership style according to the situation or the employee she is dealing with.
Her approach to leading is to look for leadership opportunities and encourage employees to act upon them, if possible. Johnson believes she is positive about the future and while she admits to only having worked in the purchasing department, she feels that she can bring a big picture perspective to the company, having worked with both suppliers and customers in purchasing. When asked about her risk tolerance, she replied, “I believe that is demonstrated in the small-business, entrepreneurial subculture I created in purchasing. At the end of the day, I'm more risk tolerant than cautious.” Johnson said she sees herself as a transformational leader. She feels that good leadership is built on good relationships with followers. Relational theory seems to make the most sense to her for the 21st century because people make change work, and leading change is the future.
Candidate 2 – Henrietta Higgins – Current Position – Assistant Director of Purchasing
Henrietta currently works at Biotech Headquarters in the Purchasing Department. She is 28 years old with 3 years of college. Henrietta is a business administration major, and expects to graduate in about one year. She is friendly and has a quiet demeanor. She does not tolerate much nonsense from people, hates surprises, and wants people to be brief in talking with her.
When asked what she likes about her current position, she replied that she likes the feeling of a small-business that her boss has created within the purchasing department. She appreciates that it makes her feel in control in such an environment. She likes the idea of the collaborative environment of Biotech and responded well to the idea that her opinions and suggestions were always welcome. However, she expressed some concern that the youthful employees of IT, and some other departments, had plenty of opinions but not a lot of discipline in their work ethic. She has found that structure, procedures and rules have worked better than asking for input. When asked how her staff perceived her, she laughed and said they called her a “Type A.”. The interviewer noted that during this statement, it was only one of two times during the interview that she held his gaze for any length of time. When asked what characteristics she thought a leader needed to possess to succeed in the 21st century she replied, “…objective, practical, controlled and fair.” Higgins said her leadership style was transactional but the interview was not sure if it was not more authoritarian.
When asked what leadership theory she thought was most likely to work in the 21st century her reply was “Great Man, because it emphasizes the characteristics of a person like honesty and trust.” Higgins's knowledge of the business was sound but when asked if anyone could be a leader she said no. It was up to the position that a person holds. Higgins did understand that sustainability was very important to the business. She said she had some ideas on how to make the process aspects of Biotech better and more efficient while saving cost. She also thought that being eco-friendly was important but realized that was the other meaning of the word sustainability in business.
Candidate 3 – Mohammad Darvish – Current position – Marketing Manager, Homeopathic Division (Corporate Headquarters)
Darvish currently manages the sales of the Homeopathic Division. He enjoys working with a customer until they are satisfied and regrets having to short change the time he spends with customers today. He also feels that the company culture has become more rigid over the past few years. When asked to elaborate he responded, “Folks are scared of making mistakes. If there has been anything I've been seeking to change in the homeopathic division, it's that it's okay to make mistakes, as long as we learn from them.” When asked what characteristics he thought a leader needed to succeed in the 21st century, he replied, “…flexible, risk tolerant, insightful and honest.”
He liked the collaborative culture of Biotech and showed signs of having done his homework on the other divisions, particularly Asia. Biotech, he said, would do well if the company made sure that this division continued it existing culture because it encouraged creativity.
When asked how he created followers among his employees, Darvish replied that he liked to use incentive motivational techniques and would sometimes empower workers if they demonstrated the ability to take risks. Darvish said he was sometimes a laisse-faire leader because it encouraged freedom of thinking. He said he would solve problems largely through “good teaming and collaboration”. His said his favorite leadership theory was contingency theory because it allowed him to approach things by the situation. He liked to agree with people and saw himself as being flexible. When asked how he dealt with change, he replied, “In this business, if you're not changing, you're dying.”
Candidate 4 – Marg Simpson – Current position – Sales Director, Chicago Office
Marg Simpson is 36 years old. She is a single mother of two. She was a nurse for 8 years before coming to work at Biotech in the marketing area of the sales division in Chicago. She has been working for the company for four years. Her immediate manager reported that Marg is highly motivated and competent at her job. Her manager said that Marg's biggest asset is that she “looked at challenges as opportunities and often found creative solutions to problems that others had not considered.”
Simpson's nursing years were spent at the University of Chicago in Orlando Park. Surrounded by a large Muslim community the hospital gave classes in Arabic and Simpson found it very useful in her work to attend Arabic classes. She learned not only how to carry on a conversation with non-English speaking patients but the names of many drugs and over-the-counter treatments. Simpson enjoyed her time in Orlando Park and found the culture of the families very compatible with her own ideas of family.
When asked if she was risk tolerant or risk averse, she answered: “I occasionally reward risk taking in the work environment. I do not think poorly planned risk is wise, but sometimes you have to take a chance in sales. It is not for the faint-hearted. But at the end of the day, I'd describe myself more risk averse than tolerant.”
Having read about the opportunity through the Biotech's HR division website, Simpson was excited about the possibility of moving her career forward. When asked if she were to relocate to other regions, such as the Middle East, if it would present problems for her, she only said. “Initially, but if I plan things out well, surround myself with good people and learn about my clients I am sure I could overcome the cultural drawbacks to being a woman.”
While she describes herself as being very familiar with Muslim cultures, Simpson freely admits that she knows little about Europe or South America. She has read some information and thinks she could learn another language if she is given help and the time needed to learn.
Simpson has many innovative ideas about increasing sales. Simpson's evaluations are superior and she works well with her team. Her colleagues suggest that she is flexible and a people-first person. Her eye contact is good and she comes off as being very authentic. She describes her leadership style as “a blend of situational and transformational” and describes herself as a relational leader. The interviewer noted that at times she seemed to be more future oriented in her comments and may need to worry more about the here and now when getting things done.
Candidate 5 – Rafael Mendez – Current Position – Director of Sales, New Mexico
Mendez currently is Director of the New Mexico sales division at Biotech. He was Biotech's top salesman before taking over the Director position. Mendez is 32 years old. A recent divorce from his wife has made him eager to make a change in his career. Mendez's wife was Brazilian. Mendez is fluent in Portuguese. When asked if he was open to moving outside of the United States, Mendez replied that he was “open to adventure.” He had not traveled excessively but had gone to Brazil regularly with his wife when they were together. He was familiar with the problems of a developing country.
Mendez enjoys working with customers and spends a lot of time with them making sure they are satisfied. Darvish enjoys Biotech's collaborative culture. He feels that one of the secrets to his own sales success is the ability to coordinate with other departments within Biotech, including purchasing, IT, R&D, and HR. As part of his 360-degree performance appraisal, his team gave him glowing reviews. He got equally high ratings from the more senior (Baby Boomer) salespeople on his team as the younger (millennial) salespeople.
When asked what characteristics he thought a leader needed to succeed in the 21st century, he replied, “…you need to be a good listener, first and foremost.” He felt a good leader should change rapidly in a crisis and should be direct and assertive when dealing with people. When asked about the idea of competitive edge he said “A leader has to worry about making money every day. It is important to have immediate results for all to see especially in sales. Even customers prefer to deal with successful sales people than those that plod along.”
Mendez believes he could do well in another country if the company ensured he received language and cultural training. He knew that understanding how people thought about business and their products was important but more likely the sale would be clinched if he knew what was and wasn't good in the country in which he was selling. He stated, “Knowing your clients is everything in sales, so I suspect it is a very important part of leadership at Biotech as well.” When asked how he created followers among his employees, Mendez replied that he liked to have rules but room for deviation, and likes to provide flexibility in the job while staying results-driven. Mendez said he was a situational leader because it encouraged freedom, and allowed him to use different leadership styles with a diverse group of employees.