The CEO 3 Year Itch – does this sound familiar?

“Mummy, Mummy, why do CEO’s only stay 3 years in one company?”

“Because if they stayed for four they might get found out!”

So much for long term planning. A CEO takes just 3 years to complete their personal success cycle. How much of this have we all witnessed?

Year 1: Evaluation

Root and branch review of the organisation, usually with the help of an expensive management consultancy. Their function is to make the you, the new man/woman look good and take the blame for the inevitable unpalatable consequences – which will almost certainly involve cost cutting and job losses for the City’s benefit. They also are someone for you to talk to, as you don’t know who to trust with your own doubts and confusion.

Year 2: Reorganisation

Change the organisations structure and certainly invent some new department titles. Nothing gives things a better sense of change than dynamic sounding names for the same thing. Just think how much more impressive it was to be part of Customer Insight rather than just the Market Research Dept. Anyway, it will take at least 6 months for people to understand whether they are actually doing anything different and who the hell reports to who.

Year 3: Implementation

By year 3 the ‘benefits’ of the cost savings should have kicked in and these will buy you some decent numbers and hopefully the City will be supportive and the share-price will rise – definitely time to will revue the share options you have in place. Talk confidently about the new structure bringing efficiencies and a more dynamic approach to the business. You are confident that earnings and profit will continue to rise again this year. Your personal stock is high – so it is now time to start looking for a new job. Unless of course you really do believe your own hype!

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