Neal Couture came into the CEO role at the American Society of Nondestructive Testing (ASNT) in July 2019 knowing that some changes in the leadership structure were in order.
“When organizations need to make significant changes to leadership, it’s typically motivated by profound leadership initiatives or through profound pain,” he said. “I was brought on board to help ASNT navigate several pain points, including financial problems, membership declines, programmatic failures, and other areas.”
Before he could focus on those areas, Couture turned his attention to the top of the organization—ensuring that ASNT had a senior leadership team in place that could move the organization forward.
“About 50 to 60 percent of staff were the wrong people in the wrong positions,” he said. “Many people on staff didn’t own their business process and were just doing what they were told. The organization was running on a management style that wasn’t conducive to productive employment.”
According to Greg Fine, FASAE, CAE, principal consultant at Tecker International, one sign that CEOs may need to rethink their senior team is if they no longer get a strong performance out of the group and realize they’re doing more managing than leading.
“You’re more focused on the throughputs than being engaged in strategic conversations with your senior team,” he said. “You’re focusing on how things get done instead of what your team is doing.”
Whether a CEO joins an association already knowing that changes are needed or if they reach that conclusion after careful observation, it’s important to think through next steps so that the senior leadership team aligns with the association’s strategy and can deliver on goals.