Are good leaders home grown or does a company actually need to import them from outside? With the amount of leaders (CEO, CTO, managers, etc) increasing each day, a company can easily hire a manager from outside to lead a team of people. But, is this a wise choice?

In my humble opinion, I feel that a company should only look for outside resources if the HR or top management of the company feels they do not have anyone which suit the proper criteria at that moment. Thus, they look to outside.

If there is indeed someone within the company who is less experienced, but has the proper attitude and skills required…it is always a wiser choice to assign the leadership role to this person. True, it’s important to have a proven track record and they can easily find someone with that ‘proven track record’ outside the company. However, there are few reasons to consider before they opt for outside resources.

Firstly, the person within the company knows the inside out of the company. He knows how the top management works and what are the processes which he needs to follow. Most important, he knows what direction the company is trying to go. He knows the core values of the company, and if he has been working there for some time…he’ll feel the core values and live with it as if it belongs to him. For example, if a company has been a leader in producing electronic gadgets for many many years. One day, the company’s CEO resigned and they need someone to replace him. Should they be looking outside the company, or inside? In this case, they should look to the people inside, who knows the core values and the direction of the company.

Why? In the book “Good to Great” by Jim Collins, he mentioned the need to keep the momentum going. As all of us know, to have a momentum, you need to be moving to one direction CONSTANTLY. For the example above, the company has been moving towards the electronic gadgets direction for years. The following CEO should be focusing on that direction as well, to further apply force on the momentum. If the next CEO is someone who has different ideas…who does not share the common core values and the vision of the company….he might change everything and create a new momentum in the opposite direction. What happened then? All the previous efforts done by the previous leaders will go to waste.

Also, a leader who has been with the company for a long time, will have the same passions as the pioneers of the company. He is the one who will carry on and work towards their dreams and ambitions. That is also why, only a leader from outside is willing to abandon all the current processes, directions and dreams in order to create a completely new direction. Is this good thing or bad thing?

Let’s say your company is dying. Something must be wrong somewhere. Maybe the things the company has been doing all these years are not the right things that should be done…or maybe, the people inside are too stubborn and arrogant to change, or they just do not want to admit they’re problems in the company.

Fine, the top management finally realized the problem and started to look for internal people. However, nobody within the company seemed to have the capability to revive the company. This will be a good time to hire someone from outside who has different ideas. He will be the one who turns things around. He will be the one who is willing to let go of all the old traditions and invent a new look for the company. He will be the one who has only one responsibility – to turn the company around no matter what he does.

So, are good leaders home grown or they need to be imported from outside? Well, it depends on situation. If your company has been doing well and going towards the right direction…..it’s good to continue to do so and hire someone from inside. However, if your company is dying and nobody from within the company knows what to do, then it is time to hire someone who is very different, from outside the company in order to turn things around.

Just my opinion, do feel free to comment. 😉

p/s…i used ‘he’ instead of ‘she’ doesn’t mean i’m biased. Just to make my writing simpler.

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