Email Us: divider Call Us: 301.270.0558 divider Follow Us:

Executive Skylight

Return to Blog Listing

Thursday, Feb, 12, 2015

How Companies Undermine New Executives

Finally, companies are feeling more confident about the economy and are filling senior level vacancies at a rate not seen since 2006. But despite efforts to recruit the best talent, 40% of their newly promoted or hired executives won’t make it beyond the first 18 months.  This is very expensive. We all know the impact this has on severed customer relationships, dropped or stalled momentum on critical initiatives,  and the overall disruption to the team.  Even the thought of taking the time to recruit and hire again requires an immediate cup of coffee.

 What went wrong?  Here are five top mistakes companies do that sabotage their newly hired or promoted executives. 

  1. Wrong Fit- They hired the wrong person.  It often goes back to not being clear about what they need for the role. Often they define attributes for the current role rather than thinking about what will be needed to take the organization into the future.   Or the hiring manager doesn’t know how to construct behavioral interview questions (tell me how, in your previous role, you…).  Usually companies are good at gauging intelligence and experience but overlook how the candidate’s leadership style and values fit with the culture (even if they are hired to change it they must first survive).  Jill Abramson’s firing as editor of the New York Times is just one more reminder that the leader’s style and ability to develop critical relationships is essential.  Sometime companies don’t do due diligence in reference checking to identify red flags. 
  2. Unrealistic time expectation– Since people have been waiting for the new executive, drumming their fingers on the table, they expect that now that someone is in place things will start to happen fast.  But the reality is it takes time to learn, create alliances, make sound decisions and implement strategies.  
  3. Unclear performance expectations and level of authority-  The higher the position, the less likely the incoming executive is clearly  told what is expected of them, yet they are held accountable to the results (including timing) that the boss has not revealed.  Being a high performer they do the best they can to establish a direction.  If it is not what is wanted, the boss starts tightening up control, afraid to delegate authority to someone not on the same page.  
  4. Lack of Feedback- Many bosses think that since they hired the best person, it would be inappropriate to provide feedback—better to wait and see if they work out.  If expectations are not being met, the frustration mounts until the only recourse is to push out the problem executive. 
  5. Companies fail to build an onboarding process –All too often, the new executive’s transition is left to happenstance, personal initiative and chance.  This is based on the myth that high performers can “hit the ground running” – they don’t need any help.
Connie Meyer is president of Performance Partners.  For over 15 years new executives have thrived in their new roles because of being greeted at the door with Strategic Start® Executive Onboarding

Share this post

 Comments (0)

No comments added!

Leave a comment


Type the code below into the textbox.