Leadership Crisis in Australia – no time to perform!


The length of tenure of newly appointed Australian CEO’s is far too short. The median ASX100 CEO tenure is only 3.9 years, making CEO turnover in Australia twice the world average. Australian politics is even worse! 6 Prime Ministerial changes in 10 years!

New hires need to stay in the job long enough to move through ‘forming’ –building the foundations, to ‘storming’ – when they start to make an impact, to ‘norming’ – making mutual plans then to ‘performing’ – when they impact the bottom line.

The first year is spent learning, the second year making change, the third year implementing changes and the fourth year only sees the start of real performance traction and results. This follows Bruce Tuckman’s Stages of Group Development

Forming – people aim for acceptance, so they avoid conflict, raising serious issues or discussing feelings. They want to get comfortable so they focus on logistics – when and where they’ll meet, the scope of the mentoring task and how to approach it. They gather information and impressions of each other.

Storming –Tuckman believes that no group would achieve high performance unless they worked through it. Essentially, it is a less comfortable stage of examining the real purpose of the team, confronting different needs and ideas. There may be some conflict and unless participants have the skills to resolve it, the relationship will not progress.

Norming – the calm after the storm is the result of agreeing to a goal and a mutual plan. This means accepting other points of view, agreeing to ways of working together as a team, taking responsibility and committing to the goal and plan.

Performing  – once they’ve figured out how to function well together with focus on their purpose, teamwork gathers momentum. Visible progress is highly motivating and very satisfying.

Cultural fit is the key to longevity. Even the most outstanding candidates are of no help at all if they do not stay in their position.  The best way to measure a good search firm is through retention – how long new hires stay in the job. Recruiters should be paid by term of tenure not by percentage of salary.

The right leader needs not only the right skills and experience to succeed but they need to have a cultural and emotional fit in to the new organisation. Most leaders that fail don’t fail for lack of ability. They fail because the new hire does not fit in as an individual.

New Leaders need to align with the organisation’s values and objectives. Maybe Prime Ministers in Australia struggle so much with the diverse egotistical political extremist thinkers and  there is no common values and a charter for behaviour.

If cultural fit is right, new leaders can better employ their emotional intelligence for smooth organisational transformation.

For more information contact Simone Allan, Director at Mondo Search on 1300 737 917 or email simone@mondosearch.com.au.

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