How many times have you watched a CEO give a favorable assessment of expected company performance to the board of directors, the bank, shareholders, analysts, employees, or the media only to be proven woefully incorrect? I’m always amazed at the number of CEOs who are out of touch with the operating realities of their company. In today’s post I’ll share why the view isn’t always better from the top…

So the question is this…how does a CEO get to the point of being so disconnected from operations that he or she just doesn’t have a clue? The reality is that there are any number of reasons why this can happen, a few of which I’ve noted below:

  • The Optimistic CEO: I have met a number of CEOs that simply choose to view the world through rose colored glasses. They will believe what they want to believe regardless of what they hear or what they observe. Even in the worst of times they believe nothing to be insurmountable. While optimism is generally a great quality for a CEO to possess, there is a point at which unbridled optimism can disconnect a person from reality.
  • The Arrogant CEO: These CEOs believe they can will their view into reality in spite of circumstances, situations, or events. The arrogant CEO doesn’t value the input of line and staff management. These CEOs see management opinions as inconsequential, unless of course, they happen to be in alignment with their own beliefs and opinions.
  • The Unaware CEO: These CEO’s will take any report or piece of information at face value. These CEOs are overly trusting, and often politically naive. They fail to seek clarification, validation, or proof supporting the information they have been fed. This is a very unhealthy state of mind for a CEO hoping to create any degree of tenure.
  • The Disconnected CEO: Unlike CEOs who understand how to leverage time and resources via delegation while remaining connected to management and staff, the disconnected CEO does just the opposite. They have reclusive tendencies which cause them to often completely abdicate responsibility and remain disconnected from management by sequestering themselves in the corner office. Sticking one’s head in the sand will not make the circumstances of a particular situation go away, rather that type of thinking will likely on exacerbate the issue.

If you’re a CEO with clouded vision and desire to change the view from the top it is critical that you maintain open lines of communication through a variety of channels and feedback loops. You must maintain a connection and rapport with both line and staff. Furthermore you must refine your intuitive senses. A good CEO demands accountability and transparency. They challenge everything of consequence as gross optimism. Acceptance of general statements and ambiguity, or blindness to hidden agendas will only contribute to limiting your vision…