Do New Leaders Get on Track in the First 90 Days?

Posted 06.10.2008


The conventional wisdom is that newly promoted executives should be on track to success within the first 90 days after taking their new assignments. A just released study (and as recently reported in Forbes magazine) conducted by my colleagues in the Alexcel Group and the Institute for Executive Development shows that the runway for getting up to speed is at least twice as long as the 90 days expectation.

In a survey of more than 150 executives and talent management professionals, we learned that the majority of respondents believes it takes six to nine months for external hires to learn the ropes of their new positions. For internal promotions, the majority of respondents believes it takes around 180 days for executives to reach full productivity. Unfortunately, the respondents told us that 30 percent of external hires and 20 percent of internal promotions fail to ever meet expectations.

We asked our respondents to identify the top reasons that newly promoted executives fail. Almost 70 percent of them cited lack of interpersonal skills such as collaboration and influencing others as the number one reason for executive failure. On the other end of the spectrum, only 15 percent cited technical deficiencies as the reason for things not working out.

We also asked what can be done to improve the odds. For a look at the answers and more details on what we learned in the study, click on the link below for a complimentary white paper.

Download Executive Transitions Study White Paper