The impact of a manager, leader, or executive on their team or department is massive whether their performance is transcendent, good enough, or terrible. However, finding a leader with the potential to be good enough (let alone, excellent) is quite difficult. According to a recent report by the Corporate Leadership Council, somewhere between 50-60% of external executive/high-priority hires fail within the first 18 months. Unfortunately, internal promotions rarely fare much better with an 18 month failure rate of about 40% according to Fortune Magazine. Why is it so difficult to assess candidates for a leadership position accurately?
Managerial skills and attributes are difficult to quantify and often quite different from the skills candidates develop as individual contributors. Organizations that take seriously the opportunity costs of hiring poor leaders have begun using assessments customized for the desired attributes and competencies to screen external candidates with greater accuracy.