Over our 40+ year history of providing executive outplacement services, Crenshaw has identified key strategies that help an executive land faster and in the right position. As a firm, we understand the nuances that are present when an executive is in transition. Every executive search is different, so key touch points are tailored to help the client develop in critical areas.
The value is having a thought partner who not only helps an executive fully understand the market, but also works with them individually on navigating it.
Crenshaw is a market leader for senior executives in transition. Here are the core areas we focus on:
An All-Encompassing Process
A robust process customized to individual needs
A key differentiator is our robust process. There is a distinct method to the madness and breadth that covers every single aspect of a client’s transition. The program advances in stages that guide the executive through major milestones and deliverables. This includes an in-depth assessment process to highlight a client’s motivators and tendencies, developing messaging and networking strategies, and narrowing down the markets to target in their search.
The second differentiator is the team that we put around an executive. Whereas other firms in the industry have gone to a one-to-many model, meaning one advisor or coach who works with several clients, Crenshaw continues to do the opposite. We have a many-to-one model, where we assemble a team around each client including their primary advisor. We also have someone that serves as an executive mentor, who lends their feedback and experience throughout the process. Crenshaw also has subject matter experts in several areas, including assessment psychologists, communications, compensation, private equity, and executive recruiting. Assembling a talented and experienced team around an executive throughout the process is a major factor in our client’s success.
Our Strategic Approach
When a senior executive is in a career transition, it is often a challenging time. The executives we work with are experienced and successful leaders and excel at leading, positioning and marketing their own firms. However, they are often not adept at doing the same for themselves, nor spending the time to focus on themselves. Our strategic approach involves conducting a deep dive to uncover and articulate what their professional interests are, how they intersect with the realities of the market, and how to develop a compelling marketing plan and execution strategy to communicate their core strengths.
An Emphasis on Networking
Networking is the most important skill in the transition process, and the single most effective generator of success.
Networking is by far the most critical skill for an executive in transition. An estimated 70 – 80 percent of landings come through effective networking. It’s a muscle and a skill that many executives in transition develop the least and underutilize. Part of it is cultural; successful executives are not used to asking for help. That’s because the larger and flawed consensus about networking for executives in transition is that it’s about asking for a job, which is a highly unsophisticated and ineffective way to approach it. Rather, it’s about connecting with people authentically, offering as well as taking, and making it clear to the people you connect with how they can support and participate in your search.
Crenshaw has implemented networking curriculums and brought in top experts to help clients gain that understanding and develop that skill. With the preparation of key messaging paired with the development of a thoughtful networking strategy, executives have greatly improved that skill.
Case Study: The Transition Process in Practice
Finding the right match and fit requires patience and intentionality. Four years ago, I worked with a client who was a CEO of a $2B digital media company who, due to a difference of opinion with the board, separated from the company and experienced a disruption in his career. Through following the process, we developed a strong, strategic marketing plan and did all of the essential preparation. However, when it came time to activate his campaign, the reality of the market set in; there just aren’t many $2B+ CEO opportunities readily available.
Every executive’s search is different. With the help of his Crenshaw mentor and I, the client decided to recalibrate his search strategy, which focused on extending his runway. Through deliberation and discussions, my client decided to not accept just any opportunity that presented itself. He was not going to remain static as he conducted the search.
This approach caused us to tap other resources at Crenshaw, following our Many-to-One Model, which included our P.E., Directorship, and Portfolio experts. It also drove us to expand his networking strategy from simply searching for a new CEO role, to exploring advisory opportunities and due diligence research on portfolio companies in his industry. This change of course opened several new networking channels and opportunities.
One opportunity included becoming an advisor to a CEO of a small tech company and eventually joining the board as executive chairman to help spin off one of their divisions. He also joined forces with a private equity company to develop a deal thesis about a roll up of a certain type of company that he had a personal interest in. He wound up executing on that as well.
The Crenshaw transition program expanded his network, introduced him to the start-up and private equity world, and extended his runway, both financially and emotionally. Personal patience and rigorous work with a team of Crenshaw experts paid dividends.
Ultimately, a networking and professional colleague, who was also the CEO of a digital media company, placed him as his successor.