Many senior executives confine themselves to looking only one level down from the top and conclude incorrectly that there are not enough people to lead change initiatives. As a result, they often hire newcomers or consultants too quickly and put them in influential change agent positions. While this is sometimes unavoidable, this approach has a major downside to it since it signals that the senior leadership does not trust existing managers to champion change.
A much better approach is to hire potential change agents to help ensure the organization’s future. However, change agents are mavericks by nature, and the hiring decision either consciously or unconsciously screens out individuals “who don’t fit in.” This is why hiring decisions are often better made by those who have actually led others to be superior to staff persons with no actual leadership experience or background.