Scapegoat wanted; apply within

While it does not apply to all businesses, by any means, there are presently some spectacular instances in the corporate world on our side of the Pond (the UK) of CEOs being blamed for recent performance in several sectors. Some criticism may be valid but when the executive has only been there for a short time there is distinct possibility that the rot set in much earlier. It may be simply that it was not noticed or even known by the management or ownership.

The importance of Corporate Governance may well be highlighted. It also flags the importance of really understanding, when considering a position, what you may be taking on where assignments have well defined and broad responsibilities. Sometimes the details are not easy to find and it is necessary to drill deep.

The situation is of further importance when considering the fast changing environments in which we work today with shorter cycles and business plans. As inevitable as that may be it does not change the fact that some challenges take longer to fix than others, and some may even be difficult to quickly discover.

Our tips are to do your research in detail before you enter discussions and prepare well. Ask great questions at interviews and have no fear of dealing with the difficult ones. Any hesitation by a company will likely give you an indication of the culture you are considering joining.

If you can, speak to previous incumbents and attempt to discover reasons for departures. Speak to others in the know. Try to define expectations and timescales and get them agreed. Finally make sure you allow the facts to override your opinion and impressions.

The worst that could happen is that you accept a position where you understand the challenges, timescale and levers you will need to engage.  

Whatever the case do not become a scapegoat.