A new CEO is also elected and whether internally, or especially, an external hire I think they should spend at least two months as the CEO-elect vetting their team, understanding what couldn’t have been shared when being considered for the job, and setting priorities based on what they learn so that, when the responsibility passes to them, rather than being in an uninformed panic, they are prepared to make decisions based on facts and not on perceptions.
Clearly, there is some kind of a caretaker in place when the CEO is hired and having them stay on for the two months it takes to bring CEO to speed shouldn’t be that big a problem. The benefit of having someone start the job more fully prepared for it should pay massive initial dividends in terms of both quality and speed of actual execution.
I think this could be applied to all top-level executives and not just the CEO. A CFO with full access, but no operational authority could spend quality time with internal audit and the controllers to understand where immediate focus should be applied, and a CIO would have time to review breaches, skills and define their initial priority of focus better if not making operational decisions yet.
Given we rarely give anyone time to understand the job they have just been hired or promoted into before they actually have to do it, we shouldn’t be surprised that so many executives end up regretting their early decisions. Intel has something called “two in a box,” which is sometimes used to share a job so that an incoming executive can slowly come up to speed while working with their predecessor collaboratively accomplishing a similar purpose.
Therefore, I think the process where a President-elect is given the time to initially get their house in order before formally taking the job may be one of the few business best practices that actually come out of government. Go figure.
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