Senior Hires: 5 Considerations To Avoid Future Misery

September 11, 2023
Posted in Leadership
September 11, 2023 David

A Checklist To Consider 

As you grow, senior hires often take centre stage. We welcome them with high hopes, expecting them to be the solution to our problems. But, in reality, it’s not always a smooth ride.

Over coffee, I had a lively discussion with Mat Knutton,, of, who specialises in technology hiring for SMEs.

Here’s a summary of the top 5 pitfalls we have seen and suggest you consider before hiring.

1. Adapting to a New Culture

Imagine a senior executive from a larger corporation joining an SME. It’s like moving from a bustling city to a tight-knit village. The corporate executive used to delegating tasks may find themselves wearing multiple hats in an SME. Adapting to a more hands-on, adaptable culture can be challenging. Moreover, integrating into a close-knit team can sometimes be met with resistance from both sides.  Watch out for the signs and identify them early.

2. Financial Considerations

Hiring senior leaders comes at a cost. Their compensation packages are substantial, including salaries, bonuses, and often equity. While they bring valuable experience, these costs can strain your finances. Balancing the books with such expenses can be tricky, especially when it affects your working capital and profitability. It’s like a hefty entrance fee to a high-stakes game.  So plan for the upside benefits to take a little longer in coming than might be expected.

3. Disruption to the Existing Team

Introducing new senior leaders can disrupt your existing workforce. They might bring new ideas and strategies, which can clash with established practices. Managing this transition can be a delicate process, as you want to harness their expertise without alienating your current team.  A change may be what you’re looking for, to shake the tree a little, you might say. But knowing how much beforehand is useful so the wrong branches don’t snap off.

4. The Saviour Complex

We often expect senior hires to be the “saviours” of our businesses, capable of solving all our problems. However, this belief doesn’t always align with reality. While they bring valuable skills, they may not have all the answers. Managing these high expectations is crucial to avoid disappointment down the line.  Add a dose of realism into your planning and internal communications if you feel the need.

5. The Zeal to Fix Everything

New senior hires often arrive with a zealous desire to fix things. It’s admirable, but it can also be a double-edged sword. They might not fully understand the history of your business, the reasons behind past decisions, or the delicate balance of priorities. Sometimes, their well-intentioned changes can inadvertently disrupt established processes that are necessary for the company’s functioning.

Navigating this requires a nuanced approach. Providing them with insights into your business’s history and priorities, while encouraging their fresh perspectives, can help strike the right balance. After all, it’s not about fixing everything—it’s about making targeted, informed improvements that move your company forward without causing unnecessary disruption.

Good luck.




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