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  Why do CEOs Fail

Glen Waring, has summarized his observations on "Why do CEO's Fail". His thoughts are based on over 2,000 one-to-one meetings with CEO's and over 200 all-day TEC Group meetings.

1. An Inability to See the Bigger Picture
If you are being eaten by a lion, it's hard to see the lion. Some pressures are industry-wide, even global, and the successful CEO may have to divest a core business to succeed. John Tweets revamped Greyhound by selling the buses.

Seeing the bigger picture is difficult and why so many successful CEO's surround themselves with good peers and mentors.

2. An Aversion to Using Solid Financial Practices
Some CEO's have an aversion to studying financials. Although it is not hard to fix this, a CEO first has to admit there is a compelling need to learn how to avoid going broke.

3. A Lack of Clear Vision
Successful CEO's lead the organization to where it needs to be and find ways to get buy-in at all levels. This is hard - otherwise all organizations would do it well. Done right, clear vision can substitute for the company manual and can empower everyone to make crisp decisions in the company's interest.

4. A Lack of Passion
Most companies no longer need arms and legs (command and control), they need hearts and minds (sell and enroll). People need to be led more than they need to be managed. Fortune Magazine polled 500 of its most successful readers to learn their strategies for success. They were: (1) Know thyself (2) Seize Opportunities and (3) Pursue meaning.

Passion matters greatly!

5. Lack of Clarity on the Reasons for Success
Great CEO's hold their associates accountable for knowing what activities cause results. CEO's must focus on "what" to do and let their associates take care of the "how".

The difference between champions and good performers isn't terribly great but champions win consistently because they understand what causes a win.

Successful CEO's also foster, and insist on, the use of reliable, continuously improving and innovative methods of getting work done BEFORE they let their associates take care of the "how".

6. Too Many Distractions
Distractions such as acquisitions (most of these fail), golf and other anxiety management techniques take a CEO's eye off the ball. Successful CEO's pay attention to the central task of putting the organization in touch with reality and LEADING.

7. Disconnecting from Customers
Some of the most successful CEO's are on the road over half the time listening and talking to customers.

8. Integrity Outages
Leadership that says one thing and does another will not work in the long run. People might (?) tolerate one or two inconsistencies before they start to tune out. At some point they will definitely lose their respect for the leader and tune out the mission.


Glen Waring
TEC International
Dedicated to Increasing the Effectiveness and Enhancing the Lives of CEOs