In the aerospace and defense industries, there are more resources than ever for government contractors to break into the federal market. Contract vehicles and opportunities are evolving to bring more players at all levels into the market. Yet finding the right executive search firm who can provide the energy, insights, and experience to help a company grow is that much more competitive and challenging.
There a number of recent factors that are relegating the traditional approach to executive recruiting for government contractors in the defense and aerospace industries outdated. Simply hiring retired Generals and Admirals who can open doors and make connections is simply not enough anymore. The Boards of successful companies in this market cannot only reflect the challenges of yesterday, but instead need to look three-to-five years down the road to anticipate what the government customer will require both today and in 2025.
Companies in this industry need to think differently than they have in the past when look for board members. Bringing diversity onto their boards is not only smart for their organizations, but in some cases may be a requirement. There is a significant need to identify disruptive thought leaders who can both work with the executive team but also push them to evolve as our national security needs evolve. In many cases, younger, more tech-oriented board members need to be in the mix to bring these different perspectives to the company.
When beginning an executive search for board members, the company should identify what the current board is lacking and what each new appointment needs to bring to the table. Among some of the most important:
- Opening doors to partners, regulators, and customers.
- Providing industry insight from a different vantage point.
- Reviewing growth plans and opportunities with a critical eye.
- Not being afraid to tell the leadership when it needs to jig rather than jag.
- Spotting issues and problems early and offering candid assessments of how to get on top of those.
- Anticipating the company’s needs not just today but through 2025 at the very least.
And when starting any executive search for board members, it’s essential to have the right search partner with the experience and insights to identify the top candidates for the organization.