Take a walk on the dark side of leadership with executive coaches David Dotlich and Peter Cairo. Why CEOs Fail
succeeds in tracking the downfall of careers and companies by defining eleven "derailers"--the deeply ingrained personality traits that shape leadership behavior. Among them: melodrama, aloofness, volatility, perfectionism, eccentricity and eagerness to please.
The authors alternate high profile cases (the arrogance of Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, the melodrama of Vivendi Universals Jean-Marie Messier, Rick Thomans aloofness at Xerox) with compelling case examples from their coaching practice. Each chapter is a gem, illuminating one derailer in concrete and nuanced terms with red warning flags and strategies for damage control. One exceptional chapter explores "mischievousness" in rule breaking leaders including Bill Clinton and Mattels Barbie Maven, Jill Barad.
Derailing behaviors cant be eliminated, the authors warn, because they are the shadow of our strengths. Consider, for example, how charisma can cross the line to melodrama or how decisiveness becomes arrogance. CEOs and leaders-in-waiting must map the stress that triggers derailers and engage in unflinching self-reflection by asking, "What would my worst critics say about my behavior?" Because they counsel leaders to ask these tough and essential questions, Dotlich and Cairo suggest that we approach our leadership failures as research. Its a brilliant idea. --Barbara Mackoff
From Publishers Weekly
Businesses are often defined by the personalities at the top. Enron's Jeff Skilling and Tyco's Dennis Kozlowski rose through the ranks with their single-minded determination and abrasive styles, but also saw their careers-and companies-fail spectacularly because of those same traits. Management consultants Dotlich and Cairo diagnose the behaviors that can sink even the most talented businesspeople. Whether it's arrogance, aloofness, volatility or any of the other personality flaws they've singled out, the authors encourage CEOs to throttle back on Type A brashness and focus more on team-building that will create a loyal and honest staff. It's an original melange of business smarts and accessible psychology, and the authors' able storytelling brings their diagnoses to life. Unfortunately, after pointing out everything CEOs are doing wrong, they don't spend much time on what they should do instead; a quick wrap-up chapter on successful managing techniques is all that's offered. But as a dissection of the leadership flaws that saw so many executives crash and burn over the last couple of years, this is a book without peer.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.