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Newly Hired? Here’s How To Be Sure You Succeedby Zenger Folkman February 10, 2017

In the medical world, “transplant rejection” occurs when transplanted tissue is rejected by the recipient's immune system, destroying the transplanted tissue. Not surprisingly, this concept applies to a sizable portion of executives hired from outside an organization as well. These executives are hired because of their stellar records and experience in another organization, but the tendency in most organizations is to subtly and unintentionally reject the new hire.

The graph below shows 360 evaluations of executives by years of experience in their organization. Even though these new executives walked in the organization with excellent credentials, the newest hires were consistently rated as significantly below average by their managers, peers, direct reports and other respondents. For executives who are thinking about making a transition (or those who recently have made a transition) this is a significant concern. Typical estimates for failure rates of newly hired executives can range as high as 40% or more.

As I looked at the data on this group of 31 newly hired executives I discovered that not all of them were rated poorly. Four were rated in the top quartile in overall leadership effectiveness, but 11 (more than a third) were rated in the bottom quartile. Note that it generally takes at least three years for the newly-hired executive to overcome the negative bias of being new and no longer viewed with suspicion.

I was curious about what the executives who made successful transitions did differently from those who were rated the lowest, so I analyzed the data. While this is not a large sample, the results identified 10 useful clues about making a successful transition from one organization to another.

1. Is a role model and honors commitments. Leaders who were highly rated were perceived as having high levels of honesty and integrity. When they made a promise to others they kept it. When a new leader takes over an organization, people worry about job security and the ways they may be personally impacted by the new leader. While it’s seldom spoken aloud, people fear that you will treat them badly. The best leaders made a strong and visible effort to be candid and honest and to treat others fairly.

2. Willing to go above and beyond. For many people, when they reach a senior position in an organization they feel they can rest a bit on their laurels and don’t need to hustle like they did in their early career. Unfortunately, the hustle you displayed in your previous organization doesn’t count in your new position. You are starting fresh, and you need to earn the respect of others. Leaders who took initiative and hit the ground running were rated much higher than those who did not.

3. Is trusted by others. Trust must be earned and moving into an executive position in a new organization automatically puts you into an inherent place of mistrust. This is not to be confused with being distrusted. The best executives worked hard to build positive relationships with others, to be consistent in their words and actions, and to leverage their insights and knowledge to earn trust as quickly as possible over time.

Read the rest of the article on Forbes.


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