Challenger’s Index Newsletter: The Case for Coaching

Check out our latest newsletter on the benefits of coaching. 

Download the PDF here.



CEO Departures Slow in April, But More Due to Oustings, Bad Leadership

On the heels of Target’s May 5th announcement that chief executive officer Gregg Steinhafel will resign following a major data breach that left thousands of credit card numbers vulnerable, global outplacement consultancy Challenger, Gray & Christmas, Inc. reported 94 CEOs left their posts in April.

The April total was down 24 percent from the 123 CEO departures recorded in March and matched the number of CEO exits during the same month a year ago.

Get the full report here.

Bulletin: Tribune CEO Under Fire, Hostile Workplaces An Issue


This morning, the Chicago Tribune, citing inside sources, reported that the Tribune Company’s controversial CEO Randy Michaels will retire by end of the week, though no confirmation was provided by company executives. Michaels has come under fire for instilling a “frat boy” culture at the once-venerable media company, an allegation that gained traction last week with the suspension and then resignation of chief innovation officer Lee Abrams, who sent a company-wide email containing highly offensive material. The situation at the Tribune Company raises many important issues that should be discussed by employers around the country. It is one thing when a co-worker or department manager is creating a hostile or uncomfortable work environment, but what do employees and employers do when that environment stems from the highest ranking executives? What challenges will the Tribune Company face in finding a CEO who will be able to restore the company’s reputation while, at the same time, “shaking things up” in a media industry that is in a volatile state of change? What lessons can other companies learn from this when it comes to selecting a CEO; is it more important to find a leader who will define the culture or one who fits the existing culture?


According to a recent poll created by the Workplace Bullying Institute and conducted by Zogby International, 35 percent of workers have witnessed workplace bullying this year. Of those bullied, 68 percent was same-gender harassment and 80 percent of women bullies target other women, the study found. The Workplace Bullying Institute recommended full screenings of new hires, thorough background checks, in addition to human resources scanning the environment for any potential trouble. What behaviors indicate a workplace bully? What policies can be used to protect the workforce? What are best practices for handling a bully?


Networking BreakThrough Tips

Jan Marino, Executive Advisor

Networking today is a must for successful job seekers. Most of us want to make the networking process easier and we’ve been hoping the web would help us out. One of the best tools available is LinkedIn®. If you’re like most of us, you’ve received several invitations to join LinkedIn®. You sit and stare at your screen and think “what IS this website and how do I use it”? Here are a few facts and tips to help you out:

LinkedIn® is a business-oriented website launched in 2003 for online professional business networking. It has 20 million users from 150 different industries.

  1. LinkedIn® is a free service, but you can also upgrade and receive more tools for a monthly free.
  2. The website address is
  3. It’s perfect for job seekers because you can market your skills easily. Use LinkedIn® as your mini website.
  4. Promote yourself by directing people to your LinkedIn® page when you send out emails. Include your public profile address under your signature.
  5. Include your LinkedIn® profile address on your business card.

LinkedIn® provides a profile page where you can highlight your current and past business positions, education, as well as industry specialization. In addition, you can write a summary about yourself to talk about your skills, experience and uniqueness. There is also space for your picture and I recommend that you invest in a professional head shot so that you convey your professionalism.

LinkedIn® will never take the place of face-to-face networking, but they are very useful tools to “warm” up cold calls, research target companies and make connections. They are excellent for job seekers who need to market and brand themselves and reinforce that “WOW” factor.

Feel free to view my LinkedIn® page at and visit my blog at

The Working Woman & Work/Life Balance

On June 1, Amy Reiter wrote a piece for Salon Mag entitled She works too hard for the money discussing a new book by ABC correspondent Claire Shipman and BBC World News anchor Katty Kay on the long hours women tend to work at their jobs, sacrificing time with family and friends and generally having little to show for it. Their book “Womenomics: Write Your Own Rules for Success,” outlines changes they have made in their own lives to strike a balance between family and career, and why workers everywhere should demand this balance.

This phenomenon of the too-hard-working female is nothing new; studies show that women will work much longer hours, and any working woman will tell you that they feel they have to do the work or else it won’t get done. Now, despite and maybe to an extent because of the dismal economy, working women – and workers everywhere – may want to reevaluate their priorities and start working toward symmetry between work and life.

Recently, we here at Challenger have been constantly referring to the works of Dr. Lois Frankel on the subject of women and work, and one of the mistakes she finds among working women is the somewhat unexplainable, but completely understandable assertion that they must do the work of others, be it a subordinate who fails to complete the task or someone in a different department who makes inappropriate requests. This is not just true of women, but can certainly be said for all workers who find themselves with an unappealingly full plate. How can you assert your own priorities without painting yourself as a work-avoiding ogre?

It’s not too difficult according to Frankel, and one of the best ways, although sometimes not the easiest, is to just speak up. When someone makes a request of your time that is really outside the scope of your position, say, “I’m really sorry, but I’m completely swamped right now. I don’t think I can fit this in.” You don’t need to offer any other explanation. Don’t feel guilty. You have your own job to do. If it’s a persistant problem with the same person making unreasonable demands, talk to your HR exec, because ultimately, employers want their workers happy and feeling unaccosted. Further, do not take on a task you have delegated to your subordinate. Give advice on how he or she can accomplish it, but just because it may seem easier, doesn’t mean you have to take it on yourself. They work for you.

Colleen Madden
Research Consultant

Why Being The "Good" Girl (Or Boy) Won’t Get You Ahead

We here at CGC have been burying ourselves in career advice books on working women, such as Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead But Gutsy Girls Do (Warner Books, ISBN 0-446-67215-7) by Kate White and our beloved Lois Frankel books. Is it possible to be the stereotypical “good” employee (i.e. always does what he/she is told, takes on any task without complaint, avoids controversy, always trys to garner positive opinions, stays out-of-sight and doesn’t take any credit) and get ahead?

Challenger advice stresses the importance of likeability when looking for a job. In order to land a position, a job seeker must first obtain an interview, and second make the interviewer like her. Be pleasant and sociable, all the while demonstrating your desire to work hard and be a much-needed asset to the company – basically, do anything to get the job. However, it’s never a good idea to be a door mat.

Kate White says gutsy girls get ahead, not good ones. A few selected items from her book:

A gutsy girl…
-breaks the rules – or makes her own
-does only what’s essential
-doesn’t worry whether people like her
-asks for what she wants
-takes smart risks
(page 7)

Kate White also discusses beliefs to which good girls conform. For instance, that you shouldn’t ask for anything because then you seem desperate and greedy (chapter 8), that you should accept “no” sitting down, that you should work harder than necessary (chapter 5). These myths will not advance your career, on the contrary, they will lead to more unnecessary work without much benefit. Once you’ve secured a position, it is essential to demonstrate, in plain view of decision-makers, that you are an intelligent, informed, efficient leader in order to advance your career.

"Why Too Few Women Make It To The Top"

Judith Devries, our Director of Learning found these tips from Dr. Lois Frankel on women in business. We especially liked the last tip.

Why Too Few Women Make It To The Top

For many women, the business ladder turns out to be slippery, but why? “It’s time for women to stop acting like girls,” says corporate coach Lois P. Frankel, who pinpoints 101 mistakes women make that sabotage their careers in Nice Girls Don’t Get the Corner Office.

THEY DON’T PLAY THE GAME Women tend to see work as an event where everyone comes together to play nicely. Not only is business a game, it’s a game that changes.

It has rules, boundaries, winners, losers. Never forget that you’re there to win the game of business.

THEY WORK TOO HARD Women complain that they do more than anyone else, and they do! No one gets promoted purely because of work. Likability, strategic thinking, networking are all part of success. If you’re not wasting a little time building relationships, you’re doing something wrong.

THEY MAKE THEIR OFFICES TOO GIRLY By emphasizing your femininity, you diminish credibility. Another mistake: feeding others. Unless you’re Betty Crocker, there shouldn’t be cookies or candies on your desk.

THEY DON’T CAPITALIZE ON RELATIONSHIPS Men rely on relationships to open doors for them. [Unlike women] they don’t see this as taking advantage. There is success by affiliation.

THEY SKIP TOO MANY MEETINGS Meetings are not about content. They’re about seeing and being seen. It’s about show-and-tell–go to the meetings.

THEY’RE TOO MODEST Blow your own horn! Women don’t talk about their accomplishments enough.

THEY ASK FOR PERMISSION INSTEAD OF PRESENTING A PLAN We expect children to ask for permission. So when you have an idea, state it in positive, affirmative statements.

THEY EXPLAIN TOO MUCH Women tend to give more information than one would need. People tune out after the first 30 seconds. The message should be crisp.