We help clients tackle their most critical business challenges

We are trusted advisors on the leadership challenges that are most important to our clients’ personal success and to the success of their organizations. Clients seek our counsel in areas such as:

CEO succession

CEO-successionThe choice of who will lead a company is one of the most – if not the most – important decisions a board will make.  But boards commonly fall prey to a number of pitfalls in their quest for a “smooth” CEO succession process – pitfalls like keeping the current CEO comfortable in the process at the expense of a robust discussion of what kind of leader is necessary for the future, mistaking board collegiality for alignment, or converging promptly on a candidate shortlist or finalist without the careful assessment and deliberation the decision deserves.

We help boards and CEOs avoid these pitfalls by conducting a thorough, future-focused, often multi-year succession process.  Building on our unparalleled experience (based in over 15,000 C-suite assessments and hundreds of CEO transitions in public corporations and private companies) and deep expertise in both business and human behavior, we bring a rigor and objectivity to the CEO succession process that is second to none.  As one outgoing CEO and Board members of a $25B global financial services client said, our process was “the most successful transition they had witnessed in their careers.”

Acquisition diligence and integration planning

acquisition-planning1+1=3.  That’s the rationale behind every M&A transaction.  Yet academic research and the business press both show that the majority of deals destroy shareholder value.  Because most acquirers only ask questions about industry, product, and financial terms, they miss the critical “Who” dynamics that ultimately determine a deal’s success.

ghSMART serves some of the most successful private equity and corporate investors.  We provide critical insights on leadership, culture, and organization that drive valuation discussions and accelerate those investors’ ability to bring a team together that can deliver extraordinary results.

Leadership selection

We have a saying at ghSMART: “You are who you hire.” Unfortunately, 50% of all hiring decisions are mistakes, according to Peter Drucker, and these bad decisions often result in failure. Hiring mistakes in key positions can destroy billions in shareholder value. Failures typically result from a lack of clear understanding of the business challenges at hand or from a lack of knowledge of a candidate’s true strengths and risk areas.

We partner with our clients to make sure they get hiring decisions right. We begin with a careful discussion about the management outcomes that will drive financial performance. We then conduct an in-depth, structured interview of a candidate’s entire relevant career history using our proprietary methodology. We are then able to provide unparalleled insight into each candidate’s strengths and risk areas relative to the specific role at hand as well as actionable recommendations on how the hiring leader can reduce risk and ensure success. We help our clients improve hiring success rates from an average of 50% to 90%.

Leadership coaching and development

Successful leaders know that they must evolve and grow to get ahead. To compete in an ever-changing global marketplace, it is imperative that they ask the question, “What about my leadership approach should I keep or change to successfully compete in the next phase of this business?”

However, many CEOs and other senior leaders find it “lonely at the top.” At the top of a company, there are few opportunities to receive honest feedback, to think strategically about one’s own leadership approach, and to plan and execute a series of steps to become the leader one wants to be.

ghSMART has had the privilege of serving some of the most successful business leaders in the world, helping them make changes to their leadership behaviors that directly resulted in more career enjoyment and value creation.

Talent and organizational strategy

In Good to Great, Jim Collins popularized the notion that the most important decisions that business people make are not what decisions, but who decisions.  Even the most brilliant of strategies will fail if the right leader and team are not in place to execute it. We partner with our clients to make sure their organizations are set up to run at full power (PWR) – the point at which they achieve full potential in their businesses.

Great leaders know they have to accomplish three things: set the right priorities (“P”), pair those priorities with the right people, or who (“W”), and create an environment where relationships can work (“R”). Over 20 years of research and consulting, deep analysis of over 15,000 leaders, and field interviews with hundreds of billionaires, CEOs, and successful investors all tell us that full powered leaders are twice as successful as average ones. The PWR Equation applies to leaders, teams, or an entire organization.

Team effectiveness

All leaders aspire to have a team that is operating at full power. We find that many leaders who are struggling to achieve this goal focus on trying to address imperfect interpersonal dynamics, often by diving into an offsite aimed at improving working relationships on the team. We believe that to achieve real and lasting change on a team, you must first define and align around the true priorities of the business, agree on the roles each leader will play (and the results each will deliver), ensure you have the right people on the team to deliver those results, and ensure that each individual is set up for success in his or her role. Then you can address the relationships to ensure that the full potential of the leaders – as individuals and as a team – is unlocked.

Board effectiveness

Boards can be a source of competitive advantage for the best run companies, yet very few boards actually know how to leverage the unique skills and talents of their members to maximize company value. All too often, boards spend their time on the wrong things and ignore critical topics, like maximizing the talent of the CEO and broader team to help unlock the strategy. We work with boards to understand the greatest value drivers of the business as well as the greatest risks to the business. We then help the board get laser-focused on how it can use the skills, talents, and experience of its members to accelerate value creation or to significantly minimize risk.

Executive learning

executive-learningCEOs and investors use ghSMART Executive Learning™ to train their managers on key skills to build valuable companies. Through our research, publications, and workshops, we help our clients learn how to improve their leadership performance in areas like hiring, coaching, retention, and how to conduct talent reviews.