Hidden risks of internal promotion
When we asked delegates at recent events hosted internationally by Egon Zehnder to discuss the challenges around career transitions, the majority confirmed that managers promoted internally are almost as likely to struggle with their transition as candidates from outside. Those taking charge of a business unit for the first time, notably in another geography, are at greatest risk of all.
This flies in the face of received corporate wisdom – most organisations concentrate their effort on integrating new executives from outside – and typically give less, or no, support to an internal candidate moving into a new senior role. This is in the context of little support of any kind being on offer; when Egon Zehnder asked over 500 international executives about this, almost 40% said their organisations provided no formal integration at all, even though the vast majority (84%) recognise the economic benefits.
While there’s an assumption within organisations that internal candidates know the ropes, an international move or becoming head of a business unit for the first time can entail massive changes that are almost as challenging as for an external hire; these transitions have significant hidden risks.