Tuesday, November 24, 2015 by julie
A key driver for success in a B2B manufacturer of machined products was engineering ingenuity and the ability to be ahead of the curve. The VP Engineering was an innovator and design expert but not a natural leader. Turnover had plagued the department. Due to business growth and forecasts, plans were to hire additional engineers and B&B was asked to partner on the recruitment of a new role, an Engineering Manager, who would manage, mentor and develop talent and report to the VP Engineering.
B&B met with the CEO, COO and VP of Human Resources to best understand the recent history and evolution of the business, current organization structure, customer base, product development cycle, engineering success, challenges due to turnover in engineering, culture, expectations of internal and external stakeholders, reinvestment into employees and company, engineering career pathing, and so on. B&B probed about the VP Engineering to better understand strengths, weaknesses, value, soft skills, and key drivers.
B&B was asked to comment and complimented the executive team on the success of the business but declined to take on the search as originally defined because the company was masquerading the real issue and that is that the VP Engineering is better at relating with products than people. B&B explained that there are two key challenges that were presented. First, the VP Engineering is a talented product developer, gains gratification from product development, and to maximize value going forward needs to key on product development. Second, the company needs to hire and develop additional engineering talent. B&B recommended changing his title to VP Product Development and assign staff on a project basis only. To solve the second challenge B&B recommended hiring a more senior leader with a history of managing and developing engineering talent who would report to the COO and have dotted line responsibility to the VP of Product Development. B&B was engaged, identified a select slate of candidates and completed the Engineering Director search within 38 business days. The incumbent VP was thrilled to concentrate on product development and the new hire was later promoted to VP Engineering.