Transition in a New CEO

Picking the right CEO is one of the key roles of any Board of Directors. However, the right selection is not enough. Anytime a CEO transition is made, so much can go wrong. Even though they may have been the right person for the job, most CEOs actually fail within the first two years because their entry went awry. We help protect your investment and avoid disruptions in business continuity by kick-starting a CEO transition through a robust process designed specifically around the unique needs of CEO’s in their first year of a company. Our seasoned doctoral level management psychologists have specific experience helping CEOs navigate this complex process of transitioning in. We know the landmines and work as a special advisor to the CEO – at arms’ length (but with deep insight into) the Board chair, search committee, executive search firm, senior team, HR leader, investor relations, and other key stakeholders. We help CEOs land well.


  • Help the New CEO, Board and Management Team to navigate the special complexities of a CEO transition
  • After analyzing the context, we prepare a Pre-Game Report identifying transition success factors
  • We Prep the Team through Interviews with Senior Leadership Team to generate key questions for the new CEO and conduct a Team Integration Session with CEO to increase insight into the Team’s operating style and expectations
  • CEO Transition Playbook to
    • Formulate Transition Plan
    • Articulate roles of key players (e.g. Board, SLT, key advisors, etc.)
    • Assist CEO in preparing initial message and 30-day agenda
    • Support new CEO in identifying key advisors/relationships
    • Identify early wins
    • Facilitate Board alignment on strategy and CEO performance

Onboarding New Leaders

Below the CEO, leadership onboarding is often less complex yet no less prone to risk. Choosing the right person does not always mean he/she will be successful. Entering into a new organization is complex and filled with landmines. There are 3 key barriers to successful onboarding:

  1. Underestimating the time it takes. Onboarding is not a 3-month process and we’ll talk about the different stages in some depth
  2. Failing to recognize the keys to success at each stage, and failing to effectively adjust strategies and focus over time
  3. Failing to recognize that success is multi-faceted. Onboarding isn’t just about getting results. And it isn’t just about fitting in. It is about both of those things, and more.


  • There are predictable events (psychological and otherwise) that occur during the first year
  • Dramatically improve candidates’ ability to (a) ramp up quickly; (2) be accepted by people and seen as credible; and (3) avoid being ‘rejected by the system’
  • Structured Onboarding plan that address key hurdles and landmines and create alignment with the organization

Preparing Leaders for Promotions

All too often, when an internal promotion is made, insufficient attention is paid to the transition process. There is an understandable assumption that the individual knows the place, culture, and people, and should transition into his or her new role easily. Unfortunately, such transitions are considerably more complex. Promotions require leaders to think and act differently, deal with peers who are now direct reports, scale their own leadership capabilities – often taking on dramatically increased scope of responsibility. Think about it: in a relay race, so many things can go wrong in both taking the baton and giving it away. Kilberry’s proprietary process of helping leaders successfully navigate their promotion dramatically improves the likelihood of success.


  • Internal transitions require individuals to scale their leadership.
  • New roles mean new challenges, new people, and often a new requirement around influencing others.
  • Many need to juggle previous roles and competing demands. We help newly promoted leaders to successfully navigate the process and navigate this critical time in their career
  • Structured, time-bound promotion program that addresses the critical factors leading to success.


Bestselling book by Richard Davis, The Intangibles of Leadership, reveals the nuances of character in extraordinary leaders.




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