40% of new leaders fail in their first 18 months in a new role. Generally that’s because of poor fit, poor delivery or poor adjustment to changes down the road. Manage this by paying more attention to the basics of executive onboarding and responding appropriately to the early warning signs at three critical stages:
I) From before first contact through accepted offer
II) Fuzzy Front End between acceptance and start
III) Day One and early days
Step one is to notice the warning signs. Hopefully this article will help you see them.
Then triage the situation:
- If the warning sign is no big deal on its own, don’t react. But do file it away as a data point for the future.
- If it signals a manageable or mission-critical risk, manage the situation and the risk appropriately, getting and providing incremental support to mitigate the risk.
- If it signals an insurmountable risk, cut your losses either stopping the onboarding process or redirecting the new leader in a different direction.
 Per Heidrick & Struggles internal study of 20,000 searches as quoted in Brooke Masters, 2009, “Rise of a Headhunter,” Financial Times, March 30