An individual's experience often determines whether you have confidence in their ability to perform a task. Given the choice, you would opt to take your car to an experienced mechanic or have an experienced consultant carry out a complex medical procedure. So, when looking for their next leader, you would expect organisations to favour candidates with past experience. I mean, it seems reasonable to make the assumption that those who have already lead an organisation will outperform those who haven't, doesn't it?
Maybe not, as the latest CEO study from Spencer Stuart found that first-time CEOs outperformed those with previous CEO experience. Perhaps there is a suggestion that a CEO who has 'been there, done that and got the t-shirt' isn't always best.
But when it comes time to think about who will actually be the right leader to take over as CEO, many boards default to an assumption – that experienced CEOs outperform first-time CEOs. However, based on Spencer Stuart’s 2017 CEO Study, boards would be well advised to disregard that assumption and look at the landscape with fresh eyes.