Shields Meneley Partners

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How We Can Help

Top leaders typically think of their team's performance as a reflection of their own performance. When their team does well, they believe they're doing well. So while our initial relationship with a leader may focus on their own professional needs, it can expand to working directly with select members of their team -- or their whole team. There are also times when our work with a client may involve them and their team as a whole from the beginning. Below are the most frequent interests of our clients.

Improving Team Performance

Every leader we meet is working on this one. So are we. Assembling the right talent, having them function as a team, and guiding their performance to higher levels is the essence of leadership.

Leaders hire us to advise them and their direct reports on how they can become more collaborative and productive. Every team has a different dynamic, so we draw on the breadth and depth of our collective experience to help leaders and teams advance. Sometimes this involves reconfiguring the team to reach the next level of performance. We’re skilled at helping teams evolve and strengthen as mutual trust grows.

Each team we work with is unique – we welcome the opportunity to hear about your team, where you’re headed, and to see if we can be of help.

What Our Clients Say

“I am the CEO of a $4 billion public company and I wasn’t satisfied with the performance of my executive team. They couldn’t 'think outside the box,' we had weak succession planning, and our attempts to hire MBAs was ineffective because they had the analytical ability, but lacked the emotional intelligence to be strong leaders. I wanted an objective approach to evaluating internal and external candidates so that we could build a management pipeline. For several years we force-ranked each position and exited those who didn’t measure up using a 360 assessment tool. Theoretically, we were working with the best and the brightest, but operating performance didn’t show it. That’s when I was introduced to Shields Meneley Partners. Dan DeWitt first assessed eight senior executives using a set of validated instruments, one-on-one interviews, and customized case studies to measure critical thinking, management, leadership skills, and personality. He predicted our top, middle and low performers with 100% accuracy. We then assessed 24 more executives and made Dan a part of our interview team for all final senior hires. We have since benchmarked high-performing characteristics against a proprietary database of 250 elite executives and developed our own proprietary performance profiles. We started seeing results almost immediately. We reduced hiring costs, improved operating performance, and have established a new level of performance and accountability in the organization.”

"Gail Meneley and Hugh Shields led a corporate Leadership Development Program that included the top executive team and 11 ‘high potentials’ from all parts of our organization. I was leading one of the few business units that had the capacity for growth, so the pressure was intense. The 360° feedback from my boss, peers, and subordinates pointed out things that I needed to change -- fast -- if my team was going to be successful. We created a development plan that related directly to my business. And I had ongoing advice and counsel from someone who had been a CEO, who didn’t shy away from ‘straight talk,’ and who guided me through strategic business issues when I needed it. Sometimes, she simply listened as I worked through problems. We hit EBITDA goals for the first time in 10 years, executed a $500 million deal that took the company from #3 to #1 in the market, launched new products, and reduced manufacturing costs 13%!”
—Vice President, Health Care

"I was brought into a high-growth software company as President and COO to lead an IPO that collapsed at the 11th hour. I inherited a group of young, smart, entrepreneurs who hadn’t learned to play as a team. Revenue had tanked, but we knew we could generate much higher returns if the team could develop a more effective, integrated strategy. Hugh facilitated an intense eight-hour ‘straight talk’ session to break down communication barriers, examine differences in style and approach, uncover operational problems, and define the kind of organization we wanted to build. We created individual action plans to fill in critical knowledge and behavioral gaps -- plans that linked directly to critical business initiatives." We were able to lead our business to record-breaking results. We increased revenue 25% and profitability by 60%. Accountability now permeates every level in the organization.”
—President and Chief Operating Officer, $100 Million Software Company

Unifying the Team

With the unrelenting economic pressure, market challenges and rapidly shifting priorities, leadership teams can lose their unity and focus. All of our advisors have held executive operating roles and have experienced first-hand the positive power of team unity, and the impact when it starts to fracture. We know the warning signs and what actions to take to rebuild unity. Our clients use us as advisor/coaches to talk through what’s happening, examine difference actions they could take, and to act thoughtfully and decisively. Every situation and organization is unique so there’s no set process. What we bring is our experience and wisdom having helped so many top leaders retain or regain team unity. We welcome a conversation with you as soon as you begin to sense that the team is no longer functioning as a team.

What Our Clients Say

"We have a $2 billion private equity fund that focuses on the business services, consumer, healthcare and industrial sectors. Our single greatest risk is hiring the wrong CEO to lead a business that we paid a double-digit multiple for, and that we now have to leverage so that investors can achieve expected returns. Our financial projections leave no room for mistakes. We needed to determine if three people who had been successful in previous portfolio companies could work together as a team to turnaround another acquisition. Shields Meneley Partners interviewed each team member, put each through a set of customized assessments based on what we had identified as key business drivers, and provided feedback to the team, each executive, and us. The team gained immediate insight into each member’s style and approach, and quickly grasped the synergy created by different skills and backgrounds. One executive was extremely creative and strategic; the second was an exceptional operating leader; and the third was a financial officer with a broad M&A background and exceptional communication skills. In a three-hour meeting facilitated by a Shields Meneley Partners’ psychologist and business advisor, they were able to drill down into motivations, values, communication preferences; styles under pressure, and who should own what decisions based on what they learned. Within nine months, they had turned the company around, and identified two potential acquisition targets that doubled the business."

Exiting Team Members

C-suite leadership tenure averages just under four years. When that time comes, no matter the reason, our corporate clients use us to help create a smooth transition for the individual leader and the organization.

Our Approach

This nine-step personalized process yields consistently positive results.

  • An executive assessment for the departing leader – comprehensive, in- depth, personal learning that can be applied in the next role.
  • Creation of a comprehensive transition strategy and marketing plan.
  • Creating or enhancing their personal brand through sophisticated marketing collateral and communication.
  • Targeting future opportunities with the help of a sophisticated information analyst who finds industries, organizations and roles that match each client’s profile.
  • Introducing the executive to search firms, private equity firms, and potential employers about roles that match their future target.
  • Review and negotiation of their next contract to ensure they are adequately protected in times of change.
  • Creation of a detailed 100 Day action plan to promote mutual understanding of key deliverables and how performance will be measured.
  • A comprehensive compensation study to ensure that market compensation is achieved.
  • Coaching during their first 100 days to discuss what they are learning and how they are performing against plan.

Choosing New Leaders

The hard truth is that 40% - 50% of leaders fail within the first 18 months in a new role. These failures cost the organization in many ways – failure to execute on strategic imperatives, loss of credibility with internal and external stakeholders, and unknown opportunity costs. That’s why clients hire us to help clarify the leadership profile for any C-Suite role, assess candidates in and outside the organization, and accelerate the assimilation of new executives into the organization. The result is a thoughtful selection process that increases the odds of new leader success. If you are considering leadership changes, we welcome the opportunity to understand your needs and to listen for ways we could be helpful to you.

Succession Planning

The absence of a leadership succession plan is a significant risk to business continuity. That’s why clients hire us to help define the profile for their “next generation leader” and identify potential successors to the executive team by using our comprehensive assessment process. Sometimes successors come from an organization’s emerging leadership group and sometimes our clients will go outside for new talent. Either way, we offer a proactive approach to ensuring for smooth transition when the time comes. We welcome the opportunity to speak with you about leadership succession in your organization.

What Our Clients Say

"I have been the President of a professional services firm for nearly ten years. I had been thinking for a few years that it was time for me to relinquish the responsibilities of my position. I longed to return to just doing client work. I am blessed with some excellent direct reports; I had thought that any of them could do the job. But, we needed to have an external opinion about who would be the best person as I was obviously too close to the situation to make a rational decision. The Shields Meneley Partners Succession Process helped us identify the best person for the job. I am very grateful for their help. "
—President - Professional Services Firm

"We hired Shields Meneley Partners to help us develop a succession planning process for our Fortune 1000 company. It had been on my mind now and then, but our Board identified it as a must-do goal for this year. The Shields Meneley team interviewed me, our board members and my senior team. They gave us a structure to think about what we needed going forward based on our goals and strategy. We not only identified a candidate for my position, but they helped me realize that I had a couple executives that needed further development."
—CEO - Fortune 1000 Company 


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