These situations are quite common. According to a study by the American firm Center Creative Leadership, 45% of new executives fail in their new positions in the course of two years. The causes of this failure are several, but the main one is the difficulty of adaptation.
Not adapting well to the culture of a new company or not knowing what the immediate objectives to obtain in the new position are reasons for professional failure, according to John Seidler, associate director of the North American consulting firm Manchester Partners.
“Companies are a world. Nowadays there is no longer the honeymoon of 4 to 6 months that existed before in newcomers to a position, since the adaptation period has been considerably reduced due to the rapidity in which changes in companies take place. Today newcomers to an executive position are required more, and many times they are not prepared ”.
Mel Stark, Group Vice President consultant Hay Group, which conducts a study of the world's 500 most admired organizations in conjunction with Fortune magazine, states that “in today's business world, true leaders have to achieve much more than just square numbers. They must put their people first and be constantly motivating their human capital ”.
The failure of the new leader is also a setback for the hiring company, in addition to the consequent loss of money for the organization.
Before taking a step to select a new leader, the company must consider whether a certain employee can support a leadership position.
For Cabrera, the perfect leader is someone who has "very good eyes for the outside world": to detect opportunities, mark a clear line and a strategy, and to guide the people he leads. On the other hand, he is someone who has "very good eyes on the inside": who knows how to detect the strengths of the people who work with him and knows how to make the best of them.
“This is very easy to say, but very difficult to put into practice. Hence, it is very difficult for companies to detect who will be a good leader, ”says Cabrera.
Today, and due to the great turbulence of globalization and changes in the markets, what is attributed to this perfect executive is the ability to lead changes.
For this, these people have two key psychological traits: on the one hand, tolerance of uncertainty and risk, and on the other, self-esteem and awareness of one's abilities.
These demands mean that the concept of the new leader has changed considerably. “10-15 years ago all these qualities of leading change were not given so much importance. A leader was someone who could efficiently run the organization regardless of where he was placed. Today, a leader is not the one who covers holes in companies, but someone capable of continually changing, in line with the globalization of markets, ”says Cabrera.
In addition to hiring talent, most new leaders come from companies themselves, when they decide it is time for them to show their skills.
Seidler is of the opinion that to avoid failure, promotion or the incorporation of a person to a new and responsible position, it must be supported with a training program. According to him, most of the most important companies in the world use education and training methods, either their own or through consulting services, to get the best leaders.
While these organizations are committed to education and training within the company itself as the best for leadership development, many use very wide varieties of learning and the most modern training strategies, with coaching (training being one of the most demanded). ) personal.
The North American distribution giant, WalMart, attaches great importance to attracting talent more suited to its culture and dedicates a lot of effort to the first 90 days in the company, with monthly monitoring, which has allowed it to reduce executive turnover by 25%, according to Fortune. Wal-Mart employees with leadership potential are sent to the Sam Walton Development Center, the organization's corporate university in Arkansas, for full training.
Corporate universities have become the best instrument for multinationals such as Arthur Andersen, McDonald`s and British Airways to develop their training programs and create a business culture. This formula has not yet been highly developed in Spain.
General Electric (GE), number one in Fortune's ranking of the most admired multinationals, has also received top marks for quality of its executives. Your leadership is synonymous with performance. "You have to improve yourself every day," says GE President Jack Welch.
But all this companies effort to create the new leaders of the XNUMXst century is useless if it is not put into practice.
Merk, the world's leading pharmaceutical company, for example, creates and trains its leaders by sending them to market.
Cabrera also believes that a leader is not made overnight. “Someone may have special innate talents but you have to develop them. There is no talk of data knowledge, it is a practical skill. For this reason, coaching, mentoring and all those things help but they are not magic recipes ”.
A little adaptation process
That is what happened to José Muñoz when he took his current position at Toyota four months ago. Former head of network in Spain of Daewoo Motor Ibérica, he was appointed regional director for Europe of the Japanese multinational. "I went from working at the national level to having a responsibility at the European level."
His adaptation period, according to him, was very hard. “The term they gave me was seconds, I had to find my life. My boss told me later that it had been a very tough test for me because I arrived at a position immersed in chaos ”. His biggest problem was getting hold of Japanese culture. "The Koreans are more disorganized, but the Japanese have everything planned and articulated, they expect the best of you at all times." Muñoz went through a two-month non-permanent training program, established for everyone who enters Toyota at a certain level. In his case, it consisted of a management training course given by the company's managers themselves and by external consultants highly specialized in the sector.