What’s This?
Derailment
Now, what does that
look like when it
happens to a leader?
What’s This?
Derailment:
The distinguishing traits
and behaviours of
managers and
executives who were
identified early as “fast
track,” successfully
advanced, and
subsequently failed.
The Process of Derailment
• A strength no longer
matters
• A strength can become a
weakness
• An untested skill can
become a liability
• A flaw is suddenly
revealed
• A “blind spot” can become
apparent
Why Do Leaders Fail?
Often, it’s why they were successful in the first place!
Others see:
• Smart and extensive technical knowledge
• Help from above
• Desire to succeed
• Impressive track records
Derailment – General Research
• Decline in business
performance
• Insensitive, abrasive
style
• Inflexible
• Inability to be strategic
• Overly ambitious
• Runs out of gas
• Seen as untrustworthy
• Takes failure poorly
• Over-manages
• Avoids feedback
• Poor staffing decisions
Derailers
Top Reasons for Derailment
1
3
2
4
Difficulty in making
strategic transitions
Inability to attract &
develop talent
Poor treatment of others
(too ambitious,
abrasive, lack of
composure)
Inability to execute
through influence
Additional Behaviours to Consider:
Inability/Unwillingness to Roll Up Sleeves  Resistant to
Change  Risk Averse  Defensive  Micro-Manager 
Arrogant  Technical Expert without Leadership Skills

Discussion
•
Have you seen someone derail?
•
What contributed to this?
•
What’s the impact of these behaviours on
those who work with or for them?
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the
world; the unreasonable one persists in
trying to adapt the world to himself.
Therefore, all progress depends on the
unreasonable man.”
— George Bernard Shaw
The Challenge of Transition
• 48% of new managers continued to operate more as
individual contributors than team leaders or wide-scope
business thinkers
• Challenges transitioning to manager role:
• Doing vs. managing
• Managing former peers
• Letting go of being the expert
• Lack of time to get things done
• Producing results vs developing and coaching people
• “Fatal assumptions” tied to mindset
Source: ConceptReserve Study
Leadership Pipeline Research
Transition-Specific Success Factors
Chief
Executive
Senior
Executive
Business
Unit Leader
Mid-level
Leader
Different success factors
are required at different
levels
First-level
Leader
Individual
Contributor
Adapted from Charan, Drotter, & Noel (2000)
Leadership Pipeline Research
Differentiators in the Transition to Mid-Level Leader
Mid-level
Mid-level
Leader
Leader
Overall focus: planning,
execution, and achieving
results through others
Characteristics:
First-level
First-level
Leader
Leader
• Initiative
• Taking Charge
• Energy
• Influence
• Independence
Source: PDI Research
Leadership Pipeline Research
Differentiators in the Transition to Business Unit Leader
Business
Unit Leader
Overall focus: stretching
frontiers, adapting to market
pressures, and providing
strategic direction
Characteristics:
Mid-level
Leader
• Thought Agility
• Innovation
• Adaptability
• Optimism
• Risk-taking
Source: PDI Research
Leadership Pipeline Research
Differentiators in the Transition to Senior Executive
Senior
Executive
Overall focus: aligning the
organisation with a strategic
vision; exercising broad
authority and control
Characteristics:
Business
Unit Leader
• Vision
• Stress Tolerance
• Desire for Achievement
• Desire for Advancement
• Thought Focus
Source: PDI Research
But Some Things Remain Consistent
Individual
Contributor
First-level
Leader
Consistent
Self-confidence
Emotional Control
Consideration
Responsibility
Mid-level
Leader
Business Unit
Leader
Senior
Executive
Implications
• Some attributes matter more at specific levels of
leadership
• Some attributes matter at all levels of leadership
• A little self-insight can help:
– Place more time and focus on important areas
that might otherwise be ignored
– Intentional use of helpful tools and frameworks
– Search out colleagues and staff who
complement strengths
– Seek relevant experiences and feedback
The 50 Percent Rule
What You Need to Add
What You Need to Let Go of
The Transformation Trilogy
Perspectives,
priorities, beliefs,
attitudes,
practices, and
routines need to
transform.
The Transformation Trilogy
— Arthur Freedman, 1998
Motivation
Achievement Motive
Driven to personally
accomplish significant
outcomes
Autonomy Motive
Driven to act independently and to
express creativity
Power/Influence Motive
Driven to seek out
opportunities for
recognition, prestige,
authority, and/or
control
Relationship Motive
Driven to seek out
opportunities to build strong
relationships and/or be of
service to others
Security Motive
Driven to seek work
environments that provide
safety and stability
Balance/Comfort Motive
Driven to seek work environments that
have variety and place equal emphasis
on non-work activities
Scoring the Motives Questionnaire
• Plot these column totals into the appropriate areas
surrounding the graphic.
• Your primary motive is the one with the highest score.
A. Achievement
9
8
8
7
7
6
6
5
5
4
4
3
3
2
C. Power/Influence
9 8
7
6
5
4
3
2
2
4
5
6
7
8
E. Security
2
1
1
1
1
1
3
9
B. Autonomy
9
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8 9
D. Relationship
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
F. Balance/Comfort
Motivation
In your group, flipchart the following:
• How does this motive impact your leadership
at work?
• What behaviours and characteristics do you
see from someone with this type?
• What strategies would you use to coach and
motivate someone with this type?
• What is the one MOST DEMOTIVATING thing
a leader can do?
Motivational Strategies Worksheet
• Think of the top one or two motives that best describe
each of your employees.
• Record these two motives for each person in the table
provided.
• Tick your top two motives.
Motivational Strategies Worksheet
• Select one employee you would like to motivate.
• Use the handout to find the primary motive of the
employee you’ve selected
– What strategies can you use to motivate this
employee?
• Turn to the “Tips” page for your own primary motive.
– What are the implications of your motive on the way
you motivate this employee?
Critical Questions: Identity
•
Who are we?
•
Who do we want to be?
•
What do we do that matters to our customers?
•
As a leader, where do I fit into that value chain?
•
How do I communicate our identity, dreams, and
aspirations?
Critical Questions: Change
•
What is the gap between the present and future we
want to achieve?
•
How much of a transformation needs to occur?
Critical Questions: Execution
•
What needs to need to happen?
•
What talent is pivotal?
•
What am I going to drive into the business and through
whom?
•
How do I ensure that work gets done?
Critical Questions: Enable Others
•
How do I, as one of the leaders, help make this
happen?
•
How do I work with other leaders and teams and
not just my team?
Critical Questions: Stakeholders
• Whose views matter?
• How and when do I listen to different stakeholders?
Summary of Critical Questions
Critical Decisions for
Leaders
Key Element of Leadership
Who are we? What do we want to
be?
Identity, dreams, & aspirations
What is the gap between the
present and future we want to
achieve?
Change & Improvement
What am I going to drive into the
business and through whom?
Focus on execution and talent
How do I as one of the leaders,
help make this happen?
Enable others
Who’s views matter?
Stakeholder awareness
Leadership Autobiography:
Peer Reflection
• Step One: Individual Reflection
– Take 15-20 minutes to answer three to five questions.
• Step Two: Pair Discussion
– Take 10 minutes per person to share what got you to
your values as a leader. Then take another 10 minutes
total to discuss key similarities and differences.
• Step Three: Large Group Discussion
– Debrief insights on your leadership values.