Scott Keller, Mary Meaney

Organizations most often try to help newly appointed leaders by supplying them with mentors or informal “buddy” networks. Yet only 47 percent of external hires and 29 percent of internal ones find these helpful. Standard orientation programs are the second most common approach, but only 19 percent of externally and 11 percent of internally recruited executives consider them effective. Some methods—for instance, tailored executive coaching and customized assimilation plans—have been shown to double the likelihood of success, but only 32 percent of organizations use them. When companies are asked what additional support they intend to provide in the future, the commonest response is to have HR play a more supportive role. But HR departments already have a full plate.

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