While reading the Wharton Magazine I was struck by a letter from David Fitzgerald, MD and Wharton MBA, called More on Deepwater.  He discussed his thoughts on one of the ways senior executives lead their companies to failure: “success-oriented schedule”.  In Fitgerald’s words “I’ve encountered these types of schedules and they are usually driven in a top-down manner, with no real discussion about the realistic nature of the schedule, no consideration of setbacks, and no contingency planning.”

What a failure of leadership.  Or perhaps what a triumph of arrogance over thought.  “I want it to happen, and I want it to happen when I want it,  and therefore it will.  Now go do it.”

It got me thinking about the good and the bad executives and business owners I’ve known, and the climate they build in their companies.  The good ones build a climate of openness where discussion is welcomed.  They encourage their people to raise issues and problems early so they can be considered and addressed.  All go forward together knowing they’ve made the best decision possible with the information at hand, and as they discover new information they can share it and modify their plans as appropriate.

On the the other hand, the bad ones tend to stifle discussion, fear openness, and build a climate best described as oppressive.  Often this comes about due to incompetence and fear but more often from arrogance and a need to feel powerful…a need to be in charge and show it.

Jim Collins actually talks about this for an entire book, Good to Great.  Those leaders who build long term company value that survives their passing fall into the first category I mention while those who fall into the second category build value that’s transitory, if they build value at all.


If you haven’t already noticed the new sections listed on the Benari LTD homepage, you should take a look.  If you get this via email, here’s the link.

You definitely should watch the nice video testimonial from my client Iron Chef Jose Garces.

Commenting area

  1. Steve, your line “I want it to happen, and I want it to happen when I want it, and therefore it will. Now go do it.” does bring to mind some people who I’ve had the misfortune to have known. Which also brings to mind one of my favorite “sayings”. “Nothing is impossible for those who don’t have to do the work.”

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