A: I'm impressed that you are aiming high in your recruitment. All too often I see businesses unwittingly recruiting less skilled managers so the boss looks better.
Your first task is to be very clear, on paper, about what you want this person to achieve, areas of responsibility, style of remuneration and critically how his or her role differs from yours. Remember you will be selling the job, the business and yourself to the candidates as much as you are discriminating between the applicants.
I encourage you as well not be too safe: look broadly, don't just recruit someone doing a similar job in a similar business. What you are looking for are business development skills and ambition, not a safe pair of hands.
And when you find your star, be sure to prepare your team for his or her arrival. Unless you are all clear that your business world is about to change, you might just be about to create lead from gold.
Q: We are in the middle of a reorganisation that I am told is vitally necessary to make us leaner, fitter etc, all the management euphemisms for meaning fewer people. However I am seriously concerned this is going to severely affect the bottom line and customers will leave in droves. How or should I make my views known?
A: It's good to talk but could I counsel a little caution before you wade in? Do take care to be sure that you understand the financial context of your business and secondly reflect on what it is your customers truly value.
Also check that you are not just fearful of change and protecting your own kingdom. You wouldn't be the first manager to equate a reduction in your department with a plan that was doomed to fail.
In my experience many businesses when they reduce their head count become better places to work, produce better results, and find themselves focusing on what really matters to customers. Perversely, with fewer people, decision-making increases, innovation improves, the bottom line benefits and going to work becomes a lot more fun. But you are of course right that there is some pain in getting there, shaking off our old ways, and in parting company with respected colleagues.
So do talk to your boss, but with the objective of understanding rather than lecturing.