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Why Leaders Fail and Derail - The Elephant in the Boardroom

20 December 2021 10:00 am - 12:00 pm
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Many of our high-flying, supposedly talented and certainly well remunerated business, political and public services leaders derail, with enormous consequences for them, their Board, employees, shareholders, customers and sometimes the general public.

Most were carefully recruited and selected with impressive cv’s, and occupational psychologists are often employed to ensure rigorous methods and practice for selection for recruitment and promotion; to identify onboarding risks and subsequent career development needs.

Essentially to identify the right person for the demanding role in terms of skills, competencies and personality.

When appointments go wrong, the costs can be well into £millions. Professor Adrian Furnham has been researching, teaching, consulting and writing in this domain for over 15 years (“The Elephant in the Boardroom”, “Backstabbers and Bullies-How to Cope with the Dark Side of People at Work") and has many insights to share to raise our awareness, as Occupational Psychologists to deepen and improve our assessment and development practice.

We will explore in an interactive fashion what the evidence seems to show that we might be doing right:

  • In recruitment and selection and what are we possibly doing wrong or need to adjust or learn
  • When it comes to the coaching and development of C suite and other senior staff and where could we do better?
  • In enabling the organisational “stars, wunderkinds, highly talented golden boys and girls” to achieve their and their organisation’s full potential.

Learning Outcomes:

To learn about 6 preventative interventions to learn about:

1. The organisational damage done by poor appointments and promotions.

2. How we might improve/adjust our recruitment and selection practice and advice (and enable Panels to perform more effectively).

3. How we could enable more effective onboarding of talent.

4. The importance of planning the development of a new recruit from day one and instilling this into organisational practice.

5. The importance of performance management and potentially enabling the company to not only have a fit for purpose performance management system but how to manage it well.

6. “Career Pathing” systems and good practice.

7. Insights into Board Development including how to spot and defuse Group Think, over optimism, hero or cheer leader following and selecting in their own image.


Professor Adrian Furnham

Professor Adrian Furnham, academic, consultant on organisational behaviour, writer and broadcaster. Chartered Occupational Psychologist; Chartered Health Psychologist; Fellow of the British Psychological Society. Member of the American Psychological Association.

Cited as most productive European Psychologist from the 1990's to the present; second most productive psychologist in the world, 1985-2005. Top 200 Psychologists of all time 2015. Elected past president of the International Society for the Study of Individual Differences. Entry in current Who's Who. Fellow of the Leadership Trust 2010; Academician of the Learned Society of the Social Sciences 2010. Consultant, trainer and speaker for over 30 multinational companies including public sector (army, police, government) and private sector (banks, airlines, consortia) in the UK and abroad. 1981-2018 LONDON UNIVERSITY: Professor in Psychology (ad hominem) in the University of London (1.10.92).

Previously Lecturer (1981- 1987) and Reader (1988-1992) 1979-1981 OXFORD UNIVERSITY: Lecturer in Psychology at Pembroke College (1979-1982). Part-Time Tutor in Department of External Studies 1985- APPLIED BEHAVIOURAL RESEARCH ASSOCIATES: Founder director of a management consultancy 1995-1997 HONG KONG UNIVERSITY BUSINESS SCHOOL: Visiting Professor at the Business School spring term. 1999-2007 HENLEY MANAGEMENT COLLEGE: Total Oil Marine Visiting Professor of Management. 2009- NORWEGIAN SCHOOL OF MANAGEMENT: Adjunct Professor in Organisational Psychology.2015- UNIVERSITY OF KWAZULU-NATAL: Honorary Professor of Psychology.2015- UNIVERSITY OF VERDANA, MALAYSIA: Honorary Professor of Psychological Medicine.2017 - UNIVERSITY OF EXETER: Honorary Professor of Psychology in the Business School 2018- STAMFORD ASSOCIATES: Principal Behavioural Psychologist

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