June 23, 2005

Real reasons CEOs get fired Why do CEOs get fired? According to a four-year study from LeadershipIQ.com, it's not why you might think. Financial performance of the company is not the reason more than 1,000 board members gave when surveyed. Instead, the study showed that CEOs get fired for reasons tied to poor leadership skills, such as mismanaging change, tolerating low performers, and more. From the press release: "Mismanaging change (31%): Virtually every organization we interviewed indicated they were undergoing, or had recently undergone, a change initiative. However, half of board members said that their change initiative did not go well. Most pointed to a failure on the CEO’s part to properly motivate employees and managers, and more specifically, to adequately sell the need to change course. Another group identified the CEO’s inability to follow-through and solidify the gains as the cause of failure. Ignoring customers (28%): Even with Sarbanes-Oxley, many board members have close ties with, or are themselves, customers of the organization. And they overwhelmingly said that if a CEO ignores or alienates customers, it not only undermines the business and revenue, but it significantly undermines board support. Board members said their test for whether the CEO was sufficiently engaged in the business was the extent to which they evidenced intimate knowledge of customers, customer needs and developing trends. Tolerating low performers (27%): Board members shared that when CEOs allowed an obvious low performer to linger (without any improvement or discipline), it destroyed the CEO’s credibility and made it politically difficult for them to hold others accountable. Board members also complained of CEOs becoming too emotionally attached to a low performer(s) whether from loyalty, fear of being seen as too harsh, or unrealistic optimism. Significantly, Board members also suspected that, in numerous cases, CEOs covered for poor performers out of fear that they might divulge embarrassing or indicting information. Denying reality (23%): Board members overwhelming said they could handle bad news and significant course corrections. What they couldn’t handle was a CEO who was in denial and wouldn’t recognize the bad news. Many board members felt that they were closer to the market and customers than the ousted CEO, and a significant percentage said the CEO was far too insulated from frontline realities. Board members also said they would rather have bad news and a plan to fix it, than they would no news or sugarcoated news. Too much talk, not enough action (22%): We heard many comments about CEOs talking the talk, but being unable to walk the walk. Numerous board members complained that CEOs could talk endlessly about grand visions and new strategies, but would both neglect a tactical plan for the 'who, what, when and where,' as well as evidence of its implementation. One board member commented that their former CEO 'gives good meetings,' but little else."
Best you might've missed Here are the links and resources I came across recently that I thought you all might find useful. E-Learning All I Really Need to Know, I Learned Online. "According to Feedback Research, most online adults who have looked into online education feel it is just as good or better than traditional, face-to-face learning." "Wired Seniors." Older people are logging on more these days, and creating a new market for online learning. "E-Learning Life Cycles: How Communities and Context Can Affect E-Learning Specifications and Tool Design." A research-rich article from the Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology. E-mergent Learning "Who Knows Whom, and Who Knows What?" Social network analysis in companies can help answer those questions. Organizations "HR's New Mandate: Be a Strategic Player." Havard Business School's Working Knowledge promotes the same message all of us at ASTD have been saying for a while now. (See the June issue of T+D.) Office of the Future: 2020. OfficeTeam's research study looks at how the workplace will look over the next 15 years. Handling Six Kinds of Office Pests. How to deal with the shirker, buck-passer, procrastinator, competitor, critic, and interrupter. PowerPoint Five Rules for Better PowerPoint Presentations. From the Working Smart blog. Online PowerPoint Presentation Tools: Best of Class, June 2005. Robin Good offers an online presentation on tools to create online presentations. Misc. "Creating a Positive Professional Image." Professor Laura Morgan Roberts discusses her research, "Changing Faces: Professional Image Construction in Diverse Organizational Settings." "11 Steps to a Better Brain."An article from New Scientist offering "tricks, techniques and habits...that can help you flex your grey matter and get the best out of your brain cells." "The 100 Best Products of 2005." PCWorld magazine offers this list, with Mozilla's Firefox browser coming in at number one.

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