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Dear Workforce How Do We Choose a Department Head from Three Equally Qualified People

My organization recently merged with another company in the same industry. It’s been a challenge merging the newly formed accounting department, since there are three individuals who are equally qualified to head it. How do we decide which applicant is best suited for the job?
December 10, 2004
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Dear Stalemate:

There's no doubt that the merger-and-acquisition wave is slowly coming back. Witness the planned mega-merger of Bank One and JPMorgan Chase. Similar consolidations are taking place in industries ranging from manufacturing to telecommunications to information technology.
Despite the examples of recent consolidations, and the best practices research that's been published regarding integration, rarely do we see excellence in managing people through these transactions. Far too often, the decision on who should lead a group is based on legacy relationships and politics: a recipe for long-term disaster.
Here are two objectives to keep in mind when selecting a department leader:
1) Use your available tools.
This includes competency tests and other assessments. In many cases, organizations have profiles for key jobs, especially those in management, describing what it takes to be successful in the jobs. Human resources and the division head--perhaps your chief financial officer--should run an assessment on the candidates that compares them to the profiles. Although each candidate may appear capable on the surface, the tests will highlight and differentiate their actual skills and abilities.
2) Be transparent in your decision-making process.
Explain to candidates how they will be screened and what skills and competencies will be evaluated. Also, inform them why these skills and competencies are important to the job and the organization. In many cases, the use of an outside third-party assessment company can help ensure that the process is fair. This is especially important given the uncertainty that often surrounds mergers.
Applying these approaches helps candidates better understand their strengths and provides them with developmental feedback on areas that need improvement. The exercise also helps determine the skills and competencies needed for being a team leader, as well as simply being a member of the team. By assessing all candidates, you gain the additional benefit of analyzing possible successors for the team-leadership role.
SOURCE: Matthew C. Levin,Hudson Highland Group, Chicago, January 26, 2004.
LEARN MORE:40 more articles and tools about mergers.
The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.
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Dear Workforce Newsletter
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 The information contained in this article is intended to provide useful information on the topic covered, but should not be construed as legal advice or a legal opinion. Also remember that state laws may differ from the federal law.

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