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Promote from within or look outside?

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in Leaders & Managers,Management Training

There’s good news and bad news.

The bad news: If your company hopes to break out of the economic doldrums, research shows you’re better off bringing in a complete stranger to lead a reorganization, rather than promote from within.

The good news:
If you’re hoping to switch fields, this finding is a good one to highlight in your job search:

A research team at the Kellogg School of Management found that leaders with a “psychological connection” with their predecessors (meaning they worked together or traveled in the same social circles) are subconsciously motivated to stick with previous policies.

Lead researcher Adam Galinsky points to General Motors and Ford Motor Co. to illustrate his point. Ford brought in an outsider to turn around the organization—Alan Mulally from Boeing. Meanwhile, GM replaced CEO Rick Wagoner with his protege, Fritz Henderson, who may have felt too much empathy for his former boss to completely reverse past decisions.

The groundbreaking results may explain the paralysis experienced by many companies even after they shuffle management to turn things around, Galinsky says.

— Adapted from “When a complete stranger’s better suited than the boss,” Wallace Immen, The Globe and Mail.

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