Search Committee Best Practices: Navigating the 10 Stages of a Recruitment

By Michael R. Raddatz, Jr.

During a leadership recruitment, every search committee goes through a process of learning and growth. This is particularly true if the members of the committee don’t know each other well or haven’t had previous experience serving on such a committee. What follows is an overview of sequential stages that search committees can often experience as the recruiting process unfolds. Knowing this typical progression helps a committee to understand…



The Healthcare Chief Strategy Officer: A Future-Focused Executive

In healthcare, high-level strategy has traditionally been the domain of the CEO, with support from the board and outside consultants. That’s no longer true in many organizations, which are introducing the Chief Strategy Officer role to the C-suite as a means of best positioning for the future.

“Sound strategy begets survival” in healthcare today, say Rachel Polhemus Witt/Kieffer and Jim Gauss. Thus, “the…



Board Diversity: Beyond the Backyard?

From Wall Street to Main Street, organizations are striving to diversify their boards of directors. The belief is that trustees should reflect and represent the varied constituents they serve.

An irony of boards’ seeking to reflect their communities is that they often have to look outside these communities to find diverse trustees—whether diverse is defined by gender, ethnicity, age, sexual orientation, or other criteria. “This just gives them a much larger pool of potential candidates,” says

Honoring Healthcare Trustees Who Honor Their Communities

Hospitals and health systems today are looking for high-powered, high-energy boards to help them deal with the seemingly unlimited challenges brought on by healthcare reform. They require healthcare trustees with exceptional talents and commitment. “Yet when it comes right down to it, healthcare is still about people and communities,” writes Charles W.B. Wardell III, Witt/Kieffer CEO, in the introductory note to this year’s Modern Healthcare Trustee of the…



CEO Compensation Strategies: Getting Literal about Incentives and Severance

Healthcare CEOs are used to having various incentives built into their compensation packages. Traditionally, however, these incentives related loosely to the organization’s financials, or if a measurement related to institutional quality, it tied primarily to patient satisfaction.

No longer, says Andrew Chastain, managing partner of Witt/Kieffer’s Southern Region. Today’s healthcare executive compensation packages are about “literal outcomes,” he says. Boards use compensation strategies that involve…



Recruiting Board Members: Should You Add Outsiders to the Mix?

Given today’s seismic changes in healthcare, hospitals and health systems are looking more strategically at the composition of their boards and the qualities each member brings to the boardroom table. A good board can be a clear competitive advantage.

Most organizations see board diversity as a cornerstone of board health and success. But achieving diversity—of race and ethnicity, of gender, of age, and of skills—often requires boards…



CEO Transitions: A Time for Boards to Be Heroic, Too

In The Hero’s Farewell, author Jeffrey Sonnenfeld outlines four distinct typologies among retiring CEOs: the monarch who must be forcibly removed; the general who leaves reluctantly and plots a return; the ambassador who leaves gracefully yet still lends support; and the governor who willingly departs and moves on to other pursuits.

Fortunately, notes Paul Bohne, Witt/Kieffer Senior Vice President, CEO transitions today mostly feature ambassadors and governors. Yet no matter how gracious and…



In Future Talent Wars, It’s Survival of the Fittest

For anyone involved in recruiting and talent management—or anyone concerned about his or her long-term career viability and talent development for that matter—it’s helpful from time to time to step back and consider the global forces that are shaping our labor markets in the U.S and abroad. Do they favor you? Your organization?

In many of the industries and market niches that Witt/Kieffer serves, executives who make a difference with sophisticated skill sets are near-impossible to find. We’ve written about…



Success Story: In Arizona, Revamping a Hospital Board in 5 Months

In 2010, three large healthcare organizations merged to become the University of Arizona Health Network. Among the immense governance challenges created was that the UAHN board of directors became an “amalgamation” of 27 members from the three organizations—dysfunctional from the start, according the Steve Lynn, the board’s current chairman.

One factor playing into this was that the way in which the organizations were brought together was not accepted by all board members, many of whom took their gripes to parties…



Recruiting Higher Education Executives: A Matter of Instinct or Information?

Placement of executives for colleges and universities has become more sophisticated through the years, but fundamental practices and principles still apply. For higher education executive search committees, there is no substitute for due diligence. The best hiring process is a compilation of qualitative and quantitative factors that result in a “narrative” about a candidate, says Dennis Barden, Senior Vice President at Witt/Kieffer. For the candidates themselves, honesty and enthusiasm, as well as “doing…