I finished two books today but the one that got my attention was “The Five Temptations of a CEO” by Patrick Lencioni. The same author who wrote “The 5 dysfunctions of a Team”. You can finish the “Five Temptations of a CEO” in one sitting. If you’re a CEO or the executive of any organization, you will not be able to put this book down.
As the current CEO of PHP Agency, I struggle with many tasks that I have to lead on a daily basis. As complicated as others will make my job out to be, I have two very simple philosophies I lead myself and our organization with:
- What can I do TODAY to become a better LEADER
- What can WE do TODAY as an organization to make the opportunity BETTER.
Everything else is pretty much gravy. There will be days where you fill like you’re the greatest leader in the world but those days come once or twice a year. For the most part, you’re reminded on a daily basis on how short you’ll fall from perfection. Now, this can make you run back to safety mode or it could challenge you to treat it like a puzzle you’re going to solve.
Here are two things the author opens up the book with:
- Being the chief executive of an organization is one of the most difficult challenges a person can face in a career.
- But I can say that being a CEO should be conceptually simple.
Temptation #1: Choosing Status over actual results
- Publicly commit to measurable results.
- Make results the most important measure of personal success, or step down from the job.
Temptation #2: Choosing Popularity over accountability.
- Confront direct reports immediately about behavior and performance
- Clarify expectations up front to make confronting direct repots easier.
- Work for the long-term respect of your direct reports, not for their affection. Don’t view them as a support group, but as key leaders who must deliver on their commitments if the company is to produce predictable results. And remember, your people aren’t going to like you anyway if they ultimately fail.
Temptation #3: Choosing certainty over clarity
- Set public deadlines for making key decisions.
- Practice making decisions without complete information around less risky issues.
- 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 you of being wrong is loss of pride. The cost to your company of not taking the risk of being wrong is paralysis.
Temptation #4: Choosing Harmony over conflict
- Draw out differing opinions and perspectives from staff members
- Engage in and allow passionate discussions and key issues
- Tolerate discord. Encourage your direct reports to air the 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.
Temptation #5: Choosing Invulnerability over trust
- Acknowledge your own weaknesses and mistakes.
- Allow direct reports to see your human side.
- Actively encourage your people to challenge your ideas. Trust them with your reputation and your ego. As a CEO, this is 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.