Why do managers succeed in one organization and fail in another?
Successful managers succeeding in one business environment and failing in another is a very common phenomenon in the modern business world. This phenomenon does not exclude any organization or any type of manager and, in addition, brings a compelling dimension to a business world that tends to crown managers as "Kings" very quickly and, without hesitation, de-crowns them, when they fail.
Take for example a manager who had been very successful at a leading marketing company, only to fail at a public relations company, and a CEO who shined while leading a Hi-tech IPO, is seen as a mediocre manager at a communications company. This phenomenon is analogous to the sports world, where a coach produces great achievements and victories with one team, then moves to coach a new team – but cannot deliver the goods, and fails miserably. Such cases are part of a quite common phenomenon characterized in organizations as "things you see from up-close, yet do not see from far away". This is also reinforced by managerial and organizational cultural attitudes of working for the 'here and now".
One of the most common reasons for this experience is the traditional organization’s mistake in how they select their candidates. It seems as if the mistake is in the actual choosing of a new director of an organization because he is considered a "superstar" who comes with a list of successes. However, reality has shown that despite previous and proven successes, there is never certainty of future success. The question is, “where lies the fallacy?” The answer is that the fallacy lies in the selection, and to be more accurate – the essence of choice.
Defining the essence of the organization's choice – when "desired” (wants) characteristics replace "required" (needs) characteristics. An organization's selection criteria must be based on the organization’s needs and not on what the organization wants. The difference between "needs" and “wants” is not just semantics. ”Needs" are based on adapting the organization's profile to a specific manager and the specific role, while “wants" are based on the candidate’s profile and capabilities only; regardless of the organization's characteristics. The result, unfortunately, is that it creates an incorrect reality and this discrepancy is the basis for significant failure of a once, successful manager.
Defining the criteria of what the organization needs by adapting to the organization's manager profile and role profile must be based on a thorough understanding of their management culture, internal and external forces in the organization, and challenges of the role of the manager, (corporate expectations, organizational politics, etc.)
The result is a set of overall constraints that allows a precise formulation of the organization's profile and job profile, the applicant's suitability to the nature of the organization, culture, and management style. This, in turn, facilitates in determining if the true capabilities and skills of the candidate will be reflected in the management position.
Preventive action to decrease this phenomenon:
Candidates should have a high level of self-awareness in order to prevent this failure in advance. Their responsibility is to genuinely know which kinds of organizations are good matches, and which are not. In addition, they must know which external factors could negatively affect them as managers, and which factors will help them succeed in their positions. This awareness is the most important basis for selecting and choosing their next position.
On the other hand, organizations lacking the desire to thoroughly understand their real needs, ignoring internal problems and inhibiting management style can add to the most common causes of managers failing. Therefore, having a thorough understanding of the "needs" and “wants” of both parties – the organization and the candidate – will certainly reduce this phenomenon.