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CEO Search & Succession

Harvard Business Review – Survey: 68% of CEOs Admit They Weren’t Fully Prepared for the Job

CEOs are known for their confidence, but according to a survey of 402 CEOs from 11 countries, while many did feel ready for the strategic and business aspects of their roles, they felt much less prepared for the personal and interpersonal components of leadership, which are just as critical to success.

Other surprising findings include:

  • 50% said driving culture change was more difficult than they’d anticipated.
  • 48% said that finding time for themselves and for self-reflection was harder than expected.
  • 47% said that developing their senior leadership team was surprisingly challenging.

This signals that something is missing in internal hiring and development processes, and in board management of CEOs. So how should organizations address these CEO development gaps? At Egon Zehnder, we suggest three immediate actions:

  1. Underscore in succession planning, executive training programs, and elsewhere that success comes from adopting a mindset of constant personal growth.
  2. Boards should work with CEOs before, during, and especially after they have been selected.
  3. Better integrate both internal and external hires. One surprising finding of the survey was that internally selected CEOs expressed more concerns than externally selected ones about their ability to adjust to the new role.  

Full Story: Survey: 68% of CEOs Admit They Weren’t Fully Prepared for the Job by Kati Najipoor-Schütte and Dick Patton for Harvard Business Review. 20, July 2018.

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