New CEOs often hear two conflicting messages: first, get out of the gate quickly because your honeymoon will be short and you need to show results; second, play for the long haul.

Can you do both? The answer is yes, but it’s hard, and the results can be bittersweet. The companies of new CEOs who shifted their focus to the long term underperformed their counterparts at first and outperformed only after the CEOs had left.

We cross-referenced two robust data sources to get a better view of this problem. The first is our database of almost 600 CEOs and the details of their tenures and performance.

Earlier research using this data showed how the companies of new CEOs who make bold moves early on are likely to outperform their counterparts.

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