I found the “Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives” on Forbes.com eerily familiar. In the article, Sydney Finkelstein shares his research on how fortune 500 companies disintegrate into bankruptcy: their CEOs shared 7 bad habits. The “Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives” are (see the full article for details):
Warning Sign for #1: A lack of respect
Habit #2: They identify so completely with the company that there is no clear boundary between their personal interests and their corporation’s interests. Instead of treating companies as enterprises that they needed to nurture, failed leaders treated them as extensions of themselves. And with that, a “private empire” mentality took hold.
Warning Sign for #2: A question of character
Habit #3: They think they have all the answers. Leaders who are invariably crisp and decisive tend to settle issues so quickly they have no opportunity to grasp the ramifications. Worse, because these leaders need to feel they have all the answers, they aren’t open to learning new ones.
Warning Sign for #3: A leader without followers
Habit #4: They ruthlessly eliminate anyone who isn’t completely behind them. CEOs who think their job is to instill belief in their vision also think that it is their job to get everyone to buy into it. Anyone who doesn’t rally to the cause is undermining the vision. Hesitant managers have a choice: Get with the plan or leave.
Warning Sign for #4: Executive departures
Habit #5: They are consummate spokespersons, obsessed with the company image. Instead of actually accomplishing things, they often settle for the appearance of accomplishing things.
Warning Sign of #5: Blatant attention-seeking
Habit #6: They underestimate obstacles. When CEOs become so enamored of their vision, they often overlook or underestimate the difficulty of actually getting there. And when it turns out that the obstacles they casually waved aside are more troublesome than they anticipated, these CEO have a habit of plunging full-steam into the abyss.
Warning Sign of #6: Excessive hype
Habit #7: They stubbornly rely on what worked for them in the past. They insist on providing a product to a market that no longer exists, or they fail to consider innovations in areas other than those that made the company successful in the past.
Warning Sign of #7: Constantly referring to what worked in the past
While I’ve run into these “habits” throughout my business career, unfortunately I’ve also seen them on display in the church. It’s easy to become so passionate about your piece of God’s kingdom that you turn it into your own personal fiefdom, forgetting who we serve.
But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” – Matthew 20:25-28