Should a 60 per cent success rate be acceptable?

Stephen Harvard Davis (Leading business relationship specialist and the author of Why Do 40 Per Cent of Executives Fail?.)

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Publication date: 1 December 2005



Despite huge amounts of time and effort allocated to the recruitment of executives and senior managers, the recruitment process produces an unacceptable failure rate that reduces business competitiveness and corporate profits. The purpose of this paper is to investigate this in order to find a solution.


The paper presents an observation of companies that experienced executive failure and over 25 exit interviews of senior executives who left jobs within 18 months.


the paper finds that a systematic approach to induction for new executives can reduce the risk of failure. This systematic approach contains a number of structured meetings after the appointment has been made as well as actions that a company can undertake to increase the chances of executive success. Such an induction must, however, be driven by the company and provide the new executive with as much information and support as possible in the initial six months.


The costs of executive failure can be substantial and affect bottom‐line results. By introducing an effective executive induction process it is possible to develop an effective executive in a short time, while adding to bottom‐line results.



Harvard Davis, S. (2005), "Should a 60 per cent success rate be acceptable?", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 37 No. 7, pp. 331-335.

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2005, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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