January 31, 2023

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Is studying great CEOs the best way to learn? It’s certainly valuable, but there’s a lot more to be learned from CEO blunders. Why here

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Analyzing effective CEOs is limited for two reasons. First, successful CEOs do so many things well that it’s often hard to figure out which ones to copy.

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Second, people often focus on the most temperamental trait of the CEO – such as the temperament of Steve Jobs or the temperament of Richard Branson. They conclude that this must be what made him effective. Many CEOs are successful despite their quirks, but people don’t see the whole work that led to their achievements.

Instead, a more fruitful endeavor is to investigate the CEO’s mistakes. The nature of the CEO role makes it much easier to learn from failures than successes.

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CEOs not only have to set the strategic direction of the organization but also ensure that everyone is making steady progress in that direction. Even with that clear destination, there are many decisions CEOs must make along the way — and lots of room for error. Part of the CEO’s job is to peek as far into the future as possible and identify any issues that may affect the business. Then of course, they need to take corrective measures.

It is similar to the captain of a ship who is constantly looking through the fog to avoid obstacles. The basic sailing of the ship is fairly easy and well understood. The constantly changing weather conditions and currents make this task challenging.

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When you assess a great captain, it’s hard to know what to focus on: is it his lucky cap or years of experience that contribute to his success? The obstacles he cleverly avoided or the calamities he averted may never come to light.

On the other hand, his failures are more revealing. It’s easy to examine a CEO who steered his company straight into an iceberg and figure out how to avoid that particular error.

It is very similar to the job of the CEO. Every industry certainly has enough content of CEOs who failed in their journey due to personal issues, poor business decisions, criminal acts or other reasons. J. Look at the ousting of past CEOs like Mikey Drexler of Crew, Travis Kalanick of Uber, Parker Conrad of Zenefits, or Chris Duggan of BetterWorks.

Sun Microsystems’ Jonathan Schwartz (performance), Enron’s Ken Lay (criminal activity), or Eastman Kodak’s K.R. There are also many lessons to be learned from the more infamous or classic CEO debacle including Whitmore (failure to adapt to the market). ,

It’s hard to look at Jeff Bezos or Elon Musk and recreate what made them successful. Studying the mistakes made by other CEOs is the best way to avoid repeating their mistakes. It will also help you become a better leader.

First appeared on Inc.com

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