I was traveling a few years ago to Washington D.C., I stopped into one
of those magazine
stores at the airport to find something I could read during my
flight. The headline from the June 21, 1999 issue
jumped off the rack. Since then this article has been one of
favorites to share with friends,
clients. I've also found the entire article on-line,
and highly recommend that you read it at Why
rarely for lack of smarts or vision. Most unsuccessful
CEO’s stumble because of one simple, fatal
shortcoming.” This was the headline from the
article in Fortune
that jumped out at me from the magazine rack at the airport.
I read during my flight was a very insightful article written
by Ram Charan and Geoffrey Colvin.
and Colvin studied over 40 failed CEO’s from Fortune 500
companies to see what went wrong. The fatal flaw of these
CEO’s was pretty simple. It was
But the reason they failed in
their execution came down to something familiar to many of us in
leadership and management.
That’s right, these
captains of industry were toppled
because of people problems, as in not having the right person in the
right job, holding on to them too long, and not holding them
accountable for the important
things. As the article states, the majority also shared
another flaw connected to their
people problems: Ignoring the voice inside that said
have a problem, move on it now”. Instead they
voice with “I can coach them”,
“He’s/She’s my guy/gal”,
so talented they just need more time”, or “I
want to start over with someone new (head in the
the article explains, these unsuccessful
CEO’s/Managers lacked emotional strength
when it came
personnel decisions. In short, the fatal flaw of "failure to
execute" was due to bad personnel decisions, which came
having the emotional strength to do what was needed to be
done in the area
of people problems.
do you avoid this yourself? In my opinion, you do it by
personnel evaluations on a consistent business level no matter
You also do this by keeping the hiring process as
business” proposition and continue to keep it that
through proper and fair appraisals of performance. If
time for a change, act upon it before it’s too late while
it all business.
It's very much like the
stockbrokers approach a stock: we'll sell once we go below
mark for whatever reason. It’s a discipline, or
still, it’s a behavior that does not falter.
need certain qualities to succeed, and there is a distinct difference
between management behaviors and
manager qualities. For example,
include execution, decisiveness, follow-through, and delivering on
commitments. In comparison manager qualities
integrity, maturity, energy, business/people/organizational acumen,
intellectual capacity, superior judgment, drive, the motivation to
grow, and the ability to convert learning into
power of a managers qualities will predict how well they can
execute the behaviors with the required emotional strength.
strategy, market strength, and timing important?
to a business nothing is more important than having the right person in
the right job, period. That is why CEO’s and
to regularly inspect how they recruit, who they hire, how they evaluate
performance, and have emotional strength to follow-through
what is required when people problems arise.
point to consider. Hiring is the single best/worst thing you
do for your company. Hire people as if your job depends on
because in reality it does.
and Colvin summarized their article this way, “They were all
smart people who worried deeply about a lot of things. They
weren’t worrying enough about the right things:
decisiveness, follow-through, delivering on commitments.
the Author, Bill
Grady has over
of marketing and advertising creation, sales,
and management experience.
began selling advertising at age 20, became a radio
Manager at the age of 23, and has personally sold millions of
local advertising over his career.
Bill is a former
President of the Iowa Broadcasters Association and his
National Association of Broadcasters
awards for excellence.
2002, Bill has brought his marketing and advertising knowledge
thousands of small business owners in Iowa, Minnesota, South Dakota,
Nebraska, Kansas and Oklahoma.