A graduate of Northwestern University with a PhD in clinical psychology, Dr. Leslie S. Pratch is the founder and CEO of Pratch & Company. Over the course of her career, she has assessed candidates for top leadership positions and has written extensively on the qualities that make executives successful. In May of 2015, Dr. Leslie S. Pratch published an article on this subject titled What Do You Look for in a Senior Executive?
In the article, Dr. Leslie Pratch outlines four domains to assess when considering a potential portfolio company manager: judgment, influence, management, and personality. The article defines the judgment domain as follows: “Judgment includes all of the technical, professional/intellectual and creative capabilities that let people make sense of the world around them — to see the forest for the trees; analyze complex data; break problems down into their component parts; reach logical conclusions; and generate alternative and new solutions so that they can understand, assess, and determine what needs to be done.”
The article describes the influence domain in the following way: “Influence includes the communications, interpersonal, persuasion, and political competencies that allow someone to work effectively with clients and colleagues: to explain, persuade, sell, cajole, network, negotiate, and lobby so that they can successfully influence others and gain their support to get things done. Influence involves gaining support while lacking formal authority.”
Dr. Pratch goes on to describe what to look for in the management domain: “Management covers project and people management — planning, organizing, scheduling, monitoring, and controlling work; developing, counseling, and directing people; building teams and resolving conflicts so as to ensure services are delivered, results are produced, and projects are completed on time.”
Lastly, the article discusses the personality domain as follows: “Personality includes personal traits and tendencies such as drive, self-confidence, decisiveness, tenacity, flexibility, and resilience. All of these enable individuals to meet and overcome the stresses, challenges, conflicts, and obstacles that may affect performance in the other three domains.”
By evaluating potential leaders for the competencies within these domains, portfolio companies have a better chance of putting the right leaders in place.