Preserving Your Company Culture During Executive Transitions

According to a recent study, nearly 35% of executives promoted internally fail. This study also found the number to be even higher for executives hired outside the organization (at 47%)! These failures can be very expensive; Estimated to be 2.5 – 10 times the executive’s salary. While there is no magic bullet to fix this problem, there are measures organizations can take to help executives succeed, while preserving the culture the organization has painstakingly built.

At The Center for Leadership Excellence, we believe that great leaders and great culture create great organizations. There are two solutions that help prevent these failures; 1) more accurately assessing executive candidates’ leadership capabilities and style and 2) providing executive coaching immediately, as the executive is hired.

When a company hires a new executive, regardless of an internal or external candidate, assessing their current and potential leadership capabilities is critically important. Regardless of the assessment used, organizations should expect as complete of a picture of the candidate or new hire, as possible. 

Our experience has shown us that using an assessment that aligns personality with culture and that can be calibrated with performance metrics is most effective. Make certain you are not just assessing the executive’s ability to perform the duties you expect in the role, but also receiving a measurement that predicts their ability to perform at the highest levels. Not only do you want to know whether the leader is capable of effectively leading a team, but that they also possesses the strategic vision to effectively execute on delivering greater results for the organization.

Once you have made the selection, it’s crucial to not let the new executive “fly blind”. Too few organizations recognize the importance of providing an executive coach, as part of an executive onboarding process. Assuming that they will automatically know what to do because they have demonstrated success in past roles is a fatal assumption. Each new executive role however is unique and regardless of experience you want to make certain they are focused on the right priorities – from day one.

Providing a coach, even for a short period of time, can assure that they are addressing the right issues and opportunities, while preserving the cultural foundation that the organization has so carefully built.  An external coach can help them objectively assess and focus on the right actions and behaviors that drive success, from the beginning, and keep them on track, avoiding unnecessary distractions.

Leaders influence and drive overall company culture. Changes in leadership can dramatically affect an organization’s culture, but it doesn’t have to eliminate the cultural values and goals the organization has already established. If your organization has spent the time to carefully develop the right cultural climate, then setting the proper stage for executive success – from the beginning – can help ensure that culture is being protected.

We invite you to visit our website to learn more about our Executive Coaching and Leadership Development Programs, as well as how our Culture Marker Assessment may help.  Contact Patty Prosser at for additional information


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