Avoid Executive Derailment

Many of us say we are committed to being successful in our life and career.  Yet, 40% to 60% of high-level corporate executives brought in from outside a company will derail in their careers within two years.  Why do they fail so quickly (normally between seven and nine month in the job)?  (Liberum Research’s analysis of North American public companies) 

Are you one of those executives who has “failed”?  Are you confused as to why?  Do you conveniently blame the company, industry, perceived biases (e.g., age, gender, etc.)? 

If you are concerned about your future as an executive (think, yes I should be), now is the time to get yourself some executive insurance by taking responsibility for your career.  Invest your time and money in yourself, while achieving the results your Board of Director’s require.

Stop talking about it.

Be a solution provider.  How?  First, and foremost, get in action NOW.  What challenges is your company facing (whether or not you’re directly responsible for that area)?  Interview different managers by asking questions and really listening to their responses:  “What are 3 issues facing us today?”  “Why are these issues important?”  “How do you suggest they be resolved?”  “How much will it cost if we do?”  “How much will it cost if we don’t?”

Do not buy into the negativity.

There’s a reason you were hired to move the company forward.  Falling victim to the negative “clique” of the company will only ensure the status quo.  As you are talking with people about the issue(s), a common solution will emerge.  Be careful not to jump too quickly without investigating other alternatives with Board members, employees, industry experts, etc..  Get their thoughts and opinions.  Then get into action, put together a plan.  Now is NOT the time to wait until all the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed.  

Truly listen to all ideas.  Don’t kill the messenger of bad news.

Share with the people your outline of the solution.  Really listen to their ideas and whenever possible incorporate their ideas and thoughts.  If you don’t, you will probably derail your career.  What do they like?  What don’t they like?  What alternatives could they provide?  Don’t be afraid of brainstorming.  True synergy will result in a better solution.  If they don’t like it, can they at least live with the plan even though it’s not ideal?  Remember to listen to their rationale.  If they’re not willing to make a decision, they may prove to be a detriment in the future. 

There is no failure if you’re moving forward. 

You need to believe in the process of designing, developing and implementing the solution(s) necessary.  You’ll either achieve the results you’ve declared, or not.

Get started by establishing three and six month goals now.  Develop action plans and assign responsibilities.  As you move forward, new facts will emerge.  Keep on track by focusing on the end results, without overlooking the obvious concerns.  Hire a coach or consultant (YES, find the money) that will keep you on track and keep you out of the quagmire that internal thinking has already gotten the company into.  It’ll be the best money ever spent.

Not everyone wants to win, even if they say they do. 

People’s actions speak louder than their words.  Now is the time to stay focused on the goals, actions to achieve those goals, while delivering products and services on time and within budget.  It’s not time to worry about the carpeting.  Nor the new system you believe will save time someday.  Or other derailments people will create since they are not comfortable with change.   Stay focused on ensuring the highest quality of products/services are meeting customers’ needs.

 Having the right people in the right job will ensure success.

This is paramount.  You may need to re-assigned job duties to ensure greater success for the company, and job satisfaction for your employees.  Do this in a progressive manner, while ensuring the person is the right person for the position or assignment.   This will require a level of objectivity by using valid assessments designed to show thinking styles, core behaviors and occupational motivations.  Have “straight conversations” designed to support employees in their careers by honoring their strengths.  Develop training and development to support them in becoming effective in their weaknesses.  Remember people don’t change core behaviors. 

Be clear as to how others view you, as well as your inherent strengths and weaknesses.  Leaders who are able to hold their employees accountable for the necessary results are usually the ones that have the respect of their employees, and Board of Directors.  You’ll learn that your attitude about your employees will determine your success! 

Example:  A client had great dreams and goals.  His employer and  family were all on board to help him achieve them.  However, he would always believe the maybe someday, three to five years down the road, he could have them.   With the help of his coach, he clarified his inherent strengths and weaknesses.  He  now manages from those strengths, while allowing his coach to support him in diminishing his weaknesses.  He’s aware of what “gets in his way;”  and, honors his commitment by blasting through those excuses.  He’s a great example for his employees to achieve what they want to have in life, and he loves living his dream.   His boss is very happy!

Enjoy your success, and the accomplishments of your employees.

Enjoy success now, even if you haven’t fully achieved the end result.  Remember, life and goals are a process.  During this time, you’ll learn valuable lessons about yourself, your relationship with goals and how you go about achieving them.

©Jeannette Seibly, 2007

About the author:  Jeannette Seibly is a nationally recognized coach, who has helped 1000’s of people achieve unprecedented results.  She has created three millionaires.  You can contact her:  JLSeibly@gmail.com OR http://SeibCo.com

Leave a Comment