Anyone who knows me knows that I enjoy studying success and failures of people, businesses, churches and more. While keeping an eye on these topics I have read how in the past couple decades, 30% of Fortune 500 CEOs have lasted less than 3 years. According to a Harvard Business Review, 2 out of 5 new CEOs fail in their first 18 months on the job. It appears that the major reason for the failure has nothing to do with competence, or knowledge, or experience, but more with over bearing pride, ego and a leadership style out of touch with modern times.
One reason this may be happening could be the Leadership vacume that creates how leaders see themselves and how others see them. This is an area leaders live in because they are the leader and no one wants to truly speak openly with them. This vacume can be career limiting. The bigger the vacume, the more resistance there is to change. It also makes it difficult to create a positive organizational culture where openness and honesty are encouraged. Candid, constructive feedback can help a leader grow, and often leaders don’t get that feedback from their teams.
Research shows 82% of newly appointed leaders derail because they fail to build partnerships with subordinates and peers.
Sydney Finkelstein, author of Why Smart Executives Fail, researched several spectacular failures during a six year period. He concluded that these CEOs had similar deadly habits:
Habit 1: They see themselves and their companies as dominating their environment. Warning sign: A lack of respect for others .
Habit 2: They identify too closely with the company, losing the boundary between personal and corporate interests. Warning sign: They define themselves by their job.
Habit 3: They think they are the only ones that have all the right answers. Warning Sign. They have few followers.
Habit 4: They ruthlessly eliminate anyone who isn’t completely supportive. Warning Sign: A lot of subordinates are either fired or quit.
Habit 5: They are obsessed with photos, speeches, appearances and publications in which they represent the company. Warning Sign: They blatantly seek out media.
Habit 6: The underestimate obstacles. Warning Sign: Excessive hype and little substance.
Habit 7: They stubbornly rely on past achievements and successes. Warning sign: They consistently refer to what worked for them in the past.
There are no universal ways to prevent failures, except perhaps to be alert for the warning signs. To be aware of History so we do not need to repeat it.
Good leaders make people around them successful. They are passionate and committed, authentic, courageous, honest and reliable. Leaders need a confidante, a mentor, or someone they can trust to tell the truth about their behavior. They rarely get this due to the vacume stage that I have mentioned.
Coaches and Mentors can help leaders reduce or eliminate their blind spots and be open to constructive feedback, not only reducing the likelihood of failure, and premature burnout, plus also provide an atmosphere in which the Leader can express fears, failures and dreams.
There are many great mentorship you can join out there, but if you want to know of a specific one that I know gets results it is Kidology Coaching.
Why Smart Executives Fail and What We Can Learn From Them