Patrick Lencionis The Five Temptations of a CEO was recommended to me by Shrikant Patil. It is a small book 134 pages of well-spaced out text and doesnt take much time to read. It is written in the form of a story, a leadership fable. This is one of those books whose cost in India works out to Rs 10 per page! The message in the book is more than worth the investment.
Many of us run are CEOs of a company or even a division. If we are not, we perhaps aspire to be CEOs at some day. The book talks about the mistakes that CEOs make. After reading the book, I can say that these are mistakes just limited not just to CEOs of big companies, but many of us who manage other people. It is easy to fall prey to the five temptations, and therein begin a download spiral.
These are the five temptations: choosing status over results, choosing popularity over accountability, choosing certainty over clarity, choosing harmony over conflict, and choosing invulnerability over trust.
Make results the most important measure of personal success, or step down from the job. The future of the company you lead is too important for customers, employees, and stakeholders, to hold it hostage to your ego.
Work for the long-term respect of your direct reports, not for their affection. Dont view them as a support group, but as key employees who must deliver on their commitments if the company is to produce predictable results. And remember, your people arent going to like you anyway if they ultimately fail.
Make clarity more important than accuracy. Remember that your people will learn more if you take decisive action than if you always wait for more information. And if the decisions you make in the spirit of creating clarity turn out to be wrong when more information becomes available, change plans and explain why. It is your job to risk being wrong. The only real cost to being wrong is loss of pride. The cost to your company of not taking the risk of being wrong is paralysis.
Tolerate discord. Encourage your direct reports to air their ideological differences, and with passion. Tumultuous meetings are often signs of progress. Tame ones are often signs of leaving important issues off the table. Guard against personal attacks, but not to the point of stifling important interchanges of ideas.
Actively encourage your people to challenge your ideas. Trust them with your reputation and your ego. Trust them with your reputation and your ego. As a CEO, this is one of the greatest level of trust that you can give. They will return it with respect and honesty, and with a desire to be vulnerable among their peers.
This is a book which deserves to be read and whose message need to be absorbed and lived by one and all.