We’re the proven solution.

About 40% of executives who change jobs or get promoted fail within the first 18 months.

In a global survey of senior executives, lack of competence or managerial skill were not the primary reasons for failure.

101 to 180 days: time required for executives to feel fully comfortable in new role.

54% of executives self-assess they spent “too little time” learning about and preparing for their transitions.

12 to 18 months or longer: time to reach full contribution within a complex senior role.

Executive failures can cost up to 40 times the base salary of the leaders.

New leaders with effective transition planning and execution reach their potential 9 months faster than those with average transition processes.

More than 50% of the time, orientation and training programs for new directors and chairs do not deliver sufficient understanding of the organization for the new board chair or member to be effective early in their term.

Institutional investors characterize a successful CEO transition by the incoming leader’s ability to demonstrate progress against a timeline of strategic milestones during his or her first few years in the position.

A few tips so you can get started – today.

Embrace the big picture

Engage and plan the transition across levels, including (where appropriate to the role) the Board, Organization, Leaders, and Team (BOLT).

It’s a team sport

Bring together representatives from the breadth of the role to communicate and coordinate efforts.

Define success

Set performance targets and measures for completion of all transition related activities, including IT set-up; relocation; HR enrollment; technical briefings; key introductions, etc.

Dig deeper

Undertake independent, confidential consultation with all parties material to a successful transition to document and synthesize priorities.

Craft one schedule

Create one calendar for the first 100 days that incorporates all priorities for this role, including pre-existing commitments and personal preferences of the incoming leader.

Who’s on call

Appoint a senior leader who is readily available during the critical transition period to explain and interpret history, norms, culture, people, power dynamics, and other sensitive topics.

Seek early feedback

Implement an efficient system to assess, report, and discuss transition progress over time and make adjustments as needed.

Just get started

Start by identifying key information, existing training opportunities, and what you do today on a new employee’s first day and then adapt it to meet the needs of your new senior leader.

Expect the unexpected

By having a well thought through transition plan, your organization and your people can re-sequence or adjust to accommodate unexpected priority changes and new situations that arise.


We have found these insights instructive. We hope these readings are also helpful to you.
Connect with us if you would like more suggestions and resources.



Onboarding isn’t enough.
Byford, M., Watkins, M.D., & Triantogiannis, L. (2017, May/June). Harvard Business Review

Managing the non-profit CEO transition: The board’s 6 tasks.
Tebbe, D. (2016, June 6).

After the handshake.
Ciampa, D. (2016, December). Harvard Business Review.

To do list for a new CEO: Responsibilities and investors’ expectations.
CEO World Magazine. (April 6, 2017).



Transitions at the top: What organizations must do to make sure new leaders succeed.
Ciampa, D., & Dotlich, D.L. (2015). Wiley.

The First 90 Days.
Watkins, M.D. (2013). Harvard Business Review Press.

You’re in Charge – Now What?
Neff, Tomas and Citrin, James (2005). Three Rivers Press.

You Need a Leader – Now What?
Citrin, James and Hembrook Daum, Julie (2011). Crown Business.