From You Need a Leader--Now What? by James M. Citrin and Julie Hembrock Daum. Copyright [c]2011 by Esaress Holding Ltd. Published by Crown Business, an imprint of Crown Publishing Group (www.crownbusinessxom).
IF YOU HAVE TO GO outside your organization for a new leader, many believe that the person should be brought in through a two-step process: first as COO (or similar top role) and then promoting him or her to CEO within one to two years. On the surface it appears to be a logical way for an outsider to learn the business, become inculcated into the culture, and build key relationships. The surprising fact, however, is that this approach sets the new leader up for failure and rarely works.
This two-step strategy suffers from serious disadvantages:
* The candidate you will attract will not be as strong as those you would attract by bringing in a CEO out of the gate. It is difficult to find the right person who has the capability and experience to assume the top spot but who is willing to come in as a No. 2,
* The skills for success are different between a No. I and No. 2. The CEO needs to be more strategic and external facing, and the COO tends to be more internally facing while operational. It is rare to find the executive who is accomplished in both.
* Perhaps most debilitating, because a COO or president brought in as part of a two-step strategy is essentially in audition mode for the CEO...