According to a study of CEO success conducted by Price Waterhouse Coopers in 2015, CEO turnover at the 2,500 largest companies in the world rose from 14.3 percent in 2014 to 16.6 percent in 2015—a record high for this particular study. The higher rate was driven by a combination of unusually strong mergers and acquisitions activity and a rise in the rate of forced turnovers. In other words, not planned succession due to retirement but situations where the CEO is ousted for failure to perform.
There are many factors that contribute to the demise of CEOs. Some are outside of their control or influence but many are well within their capacity to affect—we call these “derailers.” If you are a CEO (or aspire to be one), you might find it helpful to know what some of these derailers are so you can stay on the good side of the CEO success statistics in the future.
- Inability to influence: failure to get buy-in from the board or executive leadership team (ELT) on the vision for the future
- Belief that they must have all the answers: failure to build a strong ELT where all team members carry their weight and are accountable for driving results
- Avoidance: failure to confront poor performance of individuals on the ELT or bad behavior of the team as a whole
- Fear of conflict: reluctance to engage in the constructive debate necessary to drive innovation and change
- Competitiveness left unchecked: ruthless elimination of those perceived to be in competition
- Ego gone rogue: an inability to be vulnerable or humble that erodes the trust of direct reports, board members and other constituents
- Lack of boundaries between work and the rest of life: workaholism on steroids that leads to burnout and wreaks havoc with relationships
- Poor self–awareness: inability to see the impact (positive and negative) of behaviors and coping mechanisms on others
Want to keep from coming off the rails? The Bailey Group helps CEOs and executives learn what could derail them and develop strategies to deal with it.