What happens when you have used all the tools in your tool box? 

By Blair Mcpherson | 17 January 2022

Not so long ago I read a report that said the average tenure of an NHS chief executive was between 30 months and 18 months! The impression given was that they jumped before they were pushed. A similar trend is occurring in other parts of the public sector as well as in the wider world of business and commerce. The time frame maybe different but the general pattern is that organisations are finding it more difficult to hold on to their chief executives. What’s different about this trend is this is not simply senior people being forced out but choosing the timing of their departure. The cynics might say they were going before they were found out. Alternatively it could be said that they had the insight to recognise they couldn’t take the organisation any further forward. This of course might be due to the intransigence of the board or a lack of funds but in some cases it is the individuals’ insight into their own abilities. 

A very successful senior manager expressed this as recognising you have used all the tools in your tool box. This does not reflect a lack of confidence. These senior people go on to the next high powered post with their self-belief very much intact. This is a recognition that senior managers don’t all have the same tools in their tool box and an individual may favour one tool over another, that being the case they may have done what they can with what they have. This doesn’t mean they are not a very skilful and knowledgeable manager. It does however show that they have significant insight into their own behaviour and abilities. 

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