I just read an article on Peter Merholz’s blog on The Challenges of Hiring Senior Design Leadership.
It goes into the struggles involved in finding someone that can effectively lead the design vision of your company. I agree with Peter, that there are many skills an executive-level leader needs, and ideally they will be strong in all of them, but that’s a very rare breed of combined talents most organisations are unfortunately unlikely to find.
In a perfect world there would be a perfect organisational structure (and perfect leader) for each size and type of company. Unfortunately the world never seems to work out that way, just as nothing ever goes exactly to plan. Teams and organisations are more organic.
In my mind, this means hiring good people, the best you can find, and recognise their strengths and weaknesses and do your best to plug the gaps with other good people or provide mentors within your organisation to help advise/mentor in areas where the talent is less than impeccable.