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First time CEOs say they were unprepared for the challenges

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Staff writer | Thursday April 28, 2016 4:23AM ET
First time CEO
New on the job   Loneliness of the corner office

First time CEOs describe how unprepared they were for the isolation and scrutiny that came with their new role.

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But they are still believing it was the "best job of their lives," according to a new study conducted by The River Group, a global leadership advisory firm.

The findings, published in The River Group’s annual CEO Study, EXCHANGES, came out of more than 70 in-depth conversations with CEOs representing a range of public and private companies from around the world.

The EXCHANGE study identified six core ‘experiences’ faced by first time CEOs:

- The challenge of the board and the unexpected demands, both collectively and individually;

- The master and apprentice paradox where the CEO needs to learn and lead at the same time;

- The conscience that their decisions affect all stakeholders, especially those that impact the lives of employees and their families;

- Alone in a crowd, where the CEO finds themselves isolated and at the center of attention, all at the same time;

- The power of creative expression, that allows them to have a vision and set a course;

- The myth of control and how the organizational dynamics strive to influence the CEO.

The study also asked first time CEOs to rate on a scale of one to ten "how prepared they felt for the new role on day one."

Interestingly, CEOs gave themselves a "preparedness" rating of 7.2 out of 10 on day one, but six months later reduced their ‘preparedness’ score to 3.5 out of 10.


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