Set Up to Fail

Why is the average tenure of a C-suite executive a brief 5.3 years? And why do chief marketing and chief information officers last barely more than four years in the job, on average?1 The answer may lie between the lines of the job specifications shopped around by executive recruiters. One of us (Kimberly A. Whitler) was approached to gauge interest in a CMO position and, as she reviewed the 12-page job spec, realized that she couldn’t in good conscience recommend anyone for the role. Based on the responsibilities, expectations, and ideal candidate qualifications described in that document, the role was poorly designed. It was setting up the incoming CMO for failure.

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