Every CEO and Senior Executive will be confronted with material change in their professional life when appointed whether they are a first time appointment in this role or taking on the leadership of a new organisation or division. Strategic and financial thinking are more important and more analytical, relationships are transformed and dealing with multiple stakeholders with different interests adds another level of complexity. The dynamics of the boardroom also alter significantly as do relationships with fellow Directors.
Life is much lonelier for the new MD or CEO and not only is it critical to the individual that they succeed but it is also critical for the future of the organisation.
Mentoring the internal candidates, or the new external appointee, significantly improves the success rate. This approach also enables internal candidates who are not appointed as CEO to manage this “let- down” successfully and confirms the organisation’s commitment to their development and the likelihood of retention.
Mentoring does not substitute for the Board’s responsibility to nurture and support the internal candidate(s) but it does complement and add value to the transition process. It enables candidates to raise issues they may not feel comfortable raising internally with the Chairman or other Directors. It also provides opportunities to solicit a confidential but informed opinion.
Mentoring remains completely confidential throughout the programme, so no formal feedback from the Mentor should be expected by the Mentee’s organisation. This is absolutely essential in order to be fully effective.
Once appointed, the new CEO or senior Executive continues the relationship with the Mentor during the early stages of the new tenure and this relationship often continues well beyond the term of the engagement, to mutual benefit.