Integrating a New EVP

A financial services company had recruited a new EVP from outside the company.  He had extensive industry experience and had impressed everyone involved in the recruiting process.  The CEO expected him to ramp up quickly and to lead his division to rapid growth through innovation and superb execution.

Although the new EVP was already a seasoned leader, the CEO had some concerns about helping him to integrate successfully.  He was transferring from a different part of the United States, so he needed to learn the cultural norms of his new community as well as the company’s culture.  The team he would be leading was composed of very senior, long-term employees of the company, one of whom had applied for the EVP job.  Economic indicators suggested that the company was entering a time of challenge and uncertainty.  The CEO knew the EVP’s integration could be accelerated with the help of a structured program of new leader integration, and that integration is not just a 90-day process, but takes a full year.

Selling Professional Services

Metropolitan Client Services*, a small financial services firm, was struggling with business development.  The partners in the firm were highly competent, responsive professionals who offered top-quality expertise to their clients.  However, none of the partners was either skilled at or interested in developing new business.  When the economy was strong, this was not a big problem.  The firm’s reputation was well-known and clients came to them.  But once the recession hit, revenues dropped dramatically.  The partners knew they needed to increase their business development activities, but were very unsure how to proceed.

At that juncture, they were approached by another financial services professional, William*, who had built his own firm.  He was a business development go-getter and he wanted to partner with Metropolitan.  He had a different business model that he believed would drive higher revenues for the firm.  His proposal was that Metropolitan buy his firm and bring him in to focus on sales.

The partners were interested but cautious.  They had experimented with sales people in the past, with little success.  Their culture was important to them, and they were not sure William’s business approach was a good match for them.  They didn’t want to turn down a good opportunity, but they wanted to be sure that bringing William in would be a good investment.