Avoid CEO Failure – 5 Reasons Why CEOs Fail

Avoid CEO Failure – 5 Reasons Why CEOs Fail

Chief executive officers rarely fail due to their drive, intelligence, and business expertise. These are the traits that enabled them to achieve their rank and status in the first place. Due to these strengths, these executives rarely fail due to poor strategic concepts and designs. Rather, executive officers tend to fail because of their inability to execute these strategies. Poor execution derives from five prominent bad habits found in chief executives. It is essential for aspiring executives to avoid these tendencies to promote their success. 1. Poor communication An executive cannot fix a problem if they are not aware that an issue exists. However, it is unfortunately all too common to have executives who are unaware of operations and difficulties that are diminishing productivity within their organisation. A chief executive’s job description is to oversee the entire organisation’s day-to-day operations. An executive must guarantee that they have all the information available to enable them to prudently make these decisions; he or she must not presume that their deputies will automatically bring developments to their attention. They must be proactive in making communication channels open and frequently utilised, so that small mishaps do not evolve into corporate disasters. 2. Arrogance Every person has had moments where they were convinced that they were right, and everyone else was wrong. Having these thoughts are acceptable; however, turning one’s thought into definitive actions is not, especially in

the corporate environment. Executives must recognise the need to compromise on issues of lesser priority, so to gain momentum for the success of more meaningful agendas. This can be exemplified in the beginning stages of an executive’s tenure. Executives should not be hell-bent on altering each and every aspect of the past executive’s reign. While the executive may feel that there are better methods to follow in regards to certain protocols, it may be advisable to not alter everything at once. It is important to not shock the labour force with the elimination of all previous company norms; such actions may lead to unnecessary internal conflict directed towards the new executive. Use discretion to your advantage to promote a more comfortable work environment. 3. Eagerness to please While arrogance should be avoided,

the opposite extreme must be evaded as well. Vital business decisions must not be made with the intent of being the most popular choice. The majority is not always right, and their views are frequently too simplified and lack scrutiny. An executive officer must be willing to make the hard choices which are in the best interests of the company. The opinions of the individuals who are a component of the company or the public at-large should only be viewed through the prism of how decisions will affect profits and productivity. 4. Excessive caution Deliberation and careful analysis must be conducted in every corporate decision. Executives must avoid rash decisions or boldness where conservatism is required. However, a company will not thrive if it is too cautious. Leaders must make timely decisions; the right decision made too late is still the wrong decision. Further, leaders must not be afraid to make daring choices when appropriate. Finding the right balance between bold and caution is key. 5. Attention-craving Melodramatic individuals can succeed in CEO roles; however, these individuals must make up for this detriment in fantastic ways and skills. The company should be the executive’s focal point, not fame or individual attention. The most successful executives will eventually obtain more than enough attention without attempting to be in the spotlight. Seeking such recognition will derail an executive officer from properly executing the duties required.      

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About the author

Jamie McDermott

Involved in Business Development and Technologies at Career Intelligence. Based in the Fleet Street, London office since the start of 2014.


  1. Mark Fidler
    December 23, 2013 at 5:39 am

    Very good advice and i can see the value and possibilities of all the reasons of failure.

    Mark Fidler
    Chief Operations Officer
    GFR Group

  2. Latika
    December 23, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    I guess arrogance and poor communication are the most devastating things you can expect in a CEO. No one can save such companies.

  3. Clark Hickock
    December 26, 2013 at 7:08 pm

    Excellent article and I agree with every point that you made.

  4. Norm Newhouse
    December 27, 2013 at 3:14 pm

    I agree with these points. One other major point of failure is not being clear to the C level managers in direction once it is determined. CEO’s need to entertain opposing points of view and let those managers “Sell” them on their ideas.
    It is also critical to dissect all points of view, both positive and negative, and they may arrive at an amalgam of points that give the best solution. Then allow managers to take ownership of this plan and implement. Leave the implementation to the managers and evaluate and hold accountable those same managers on an as needed basis. It is also critical to understand your “Product” Product can mean an actual physical product or a service or both. It may be in many other forms. Understanding your product helps to improve it.

  5. Darron Antill
    January 4, 2014 at 10:49 am

    This is a clear and concise summary. from experience I agree. i would add one more thing which other have commented on. ‘Having the right C level team, which is good enough to execute the plan.’ A team is required, a stong team and a leadership team.

  6. Chander Mohan Kohli
    January 5, 2014 at 6:49 am

    It is very valueable advice.I am sure if it is honestly followed shall bring positive results.

  7. Saladin
    January 14, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    6. Failure to delegate.