Returning execs warned against ‘Keegan’ effect

Kevin Keegan effect a danger for senior execs planning a return to former companies.

By News Desk
21st March 2008 at 14:40

Kevin Keegan’s messianic return to Newcastle United FC hasn’t gone as well as the toon army would have liked.  Senior executives returning to companies they once led face similar problems, according to two HR experts.

John Wakeford of Hitchenor Wakeford, the executive search group, warns:

Colleagues will question your loyalty if you have already left once … Also, businesses change quickly and more often than not it will be a completely different organisation from the one you left.

Other reasons not to return to a former employer include:

– Loss of face – there is often a perception of ‘not being able to cut it elsewhere’;

– concerns about the reasons you left in the first place.  Have those really been resolved?

Stephen Seymour of HR consultancy The Urquhart Partnership suggests you should catch up with former colleagues to informally assess what shape the business is in.  He adds:

Treat your new job in your old workplace as a new challenge and don’t slip back into old habits and familiarity straightaway. This is your chance to make, not a first impression, but a lasting one so work hard in your new role and redevelop a bond with your new work colleagues.

When all said and done, how many returning execs have managed to pull off a Steve Jobs?  Not many.  Proceed with caution is clearly wise advice.

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