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CEOs aren't lasting as long as they once did--hubris part of the reason why

By Dian Vujovich

A friend of mine is retiring from a company that he’s been CEO of since 2000. He started with the firm in 1975 and worked his way up from sales manager to the president and CEO. Nice feat. But his career isn’t typical: Recent reports show that 30 percent of CEOs last less than three years in their position.

According to the Harvard Business Review, today two out of five new CEOs fail in the first 18 months on the job, 30 percent of Fortune 500 CEOs last less than 3 years as top dog, and globally CEOs last 7.6 years on average. That’s two years less than they did 15 years ago.

If you’re wondering why that tenure is shortening, much has to do with the hubris, huge egos and out-of-touch realities many CEOs have. BP’s Tony Hayward comes to mind.

Author Sydney Finkelstein spent six years doing research for his book, “Why Smart Executives Fail”, and came up with a list of bad habits these top bananas share.
Some of them include seeing themselves and their companies as dominating the environment and as a result having a lack of respect for others; identifying too closely with their company and thus defining themselves by their job; thinking that they are the only ones with all the right answers; eliminating those who don’t completely support them; underestimating obstacles; and becoming obsessed with public appearances and the media.

Pros say that while there’s no way to prevent a CEO from falling into any of those or other traps they would be wise to recognize a couple of things: First, that they aren’t perfect and second, to surround themselves with good people. Two things that aren’t necessarily easy to find in today’s ultra-competitive world.

Read and learn more in the piece titled, “Why do CEOs fail, and what we can do about it” at: http://tinyurl.com/3573bfm.

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