Identifying people risk

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A leading global business had appointed a new CEO. Having directly observed the phenomenon where senior business leaders can undermine an organisation through toxic behaviour, the Board were keen to find a way of ensuring that this new CEO didn’t fall into any bad habits.


Drawing on our research into behavioural risk (Taming Narcissus), we developed an observational framework that measures 23 principal dimensions of behaviour. We created an online app that quickly gathers 360-degree feedback across these dimensions – from the Chairman, the Board and the Executive Committee – as well as getting the CEO to produce a self-assessment.

From this, we produced a baseline behavioural profile for the new CEO, comparing the feedback vs his self-assessment, as well as highlighting the range of responses on different dimensions.


This process enabled the Chairman to review the CEO’s profile with him; there were no areas of immediate risk, but the profile provided the basis for a discussion of potential vulnerabilities and pressures of which to be vigilant. The Chairman was also able to use the profile to provide the Board with a clear sense and warning to which aspects they should be alert.

The Board has agreed to repeat this assessment on an annual basis, as part of the annual performance review, so that they can track any movements in the profile over time and so intervene early to prevent any serious issues emerging.