Sheila Madden, CEO, Madden Coaching & Consulting

The Primary reason for executive failure remains constant and there is no reason for this to be the case. Employing simple strategies can turn this trend around.

This blog is Part 2 of my series on the 5 Steps To Ensure Executive Success. Those 5 steps are:

Hire the right people

Onboard them well

Set clear goals and expectations and make sure compensation plans create accountability and reward success

Provide internal and external executive coaching

Measure/assess progress frequently and formally (3, 6, 12 month written reviews for the first year)

The Facts:

In my last blog I cited The Center For Creative Leadership statistics on the reasons for and percentages of executive failure.  In a study just released by The Institute Of Executive Development and the Alexcel Group, the findings remain the same:

  • Lack of interpersonal/leadership skill remains the #1 reason for failure
  • The cost of failure can be 3X the annual compensation of the executive (if the average executive pay is $500K that is $1.5M of direct cost to the organization!)

No organization can afford the cost of this failure.

4 On-Boarding Strategies To Ensure Executive Success

  1. Provide Executive Coaching: The right executive coach can profoundly accelerate leadership success by working closely with the on-boarding team to understand all the elements required for success and then coaching the new executive on specific strategies to achieve his/her goals. Most importantly, the executive coach is pivotal in assessing the new executive’s interpersonal/leadership capabilities and honing in on exactly what strategies will help her/him utilize strengths and mitigate behavioral weaknesses.  An external executive coach can do what no internal coach can: Be the confidante that an executive can work through performance anxieties with and practice new behaviors without fear of revealing a lack of strength. In addition, an outside coach will challenge and give very direct feedback without any of the concerns that come with the complexities of internal political relationships.
  2. Provide Mentoring:  The on-boarding team can determine the best senior leader (or potentially a board member, depending on the role and size of the organization) to serve as the new executive’s mentor to help them learn to operate successfully within both the formal and the informal organization and culture. It is key that the chemistry works between the two people. The talent management team should provide a mentoring program framework and provide training and support to mentors to insure consistent on-boarding. Mentoree’s  should come to these sessions with a clear agenda and also ask mentors how they might help them.
  3. New Executives: Form Your Own Advisory Board: All of us should have our own “board of directors” but this is particularly useful for executives. Your board is a group of people that you trust and is usually outside the organization. They are respected colleagues who can provide objective feedback, insight and perspective for you. They can work with you one-on-one or as a group. These are people who you know always have your back.

These strategies are not complex but they do take the investment of time and money to implement.  The cost, however, is minimal compared to the devastating expense of failure.

Next blog : Part 3 on Ensuring Executive Success: Setting Clear Expectations and Aligning Compensation To Create Accountability and Results.

2010 Copyright, Sheila Madden. All Rights Reserved