The 5 Temptations of a CEO

Many years ago when I was running Stellcom, my wife gave me a book that changed the way I managed forever. The book is “The Five Temptations of a CEO” by Pat Lencioni. The book is very easy to read and understand. The 5 temptations are:

1) Placing status, ego, job security over results
2) Placing the desire to be popular over holding people accountable
3) Placing certainty and accuracy over clarity and decisiveness
4) Placing harmony over productive conflict
5) Placing invulnerability over vulnerability

I never had a big problem with temptations #1, #3, and #5. However, I was crippling my company and my ability to manage because of temptations #2 and #4. After reading the book, I was keenly aware of what I had to do. Of course, changing lifelong habits was not so easy.

Being a CEO from a book perspective is relatively simple compared with the trying to implement in the real world. We all have phobias. We get these phobias from our childhood experiences and we develop coping mechanisms to deal with them. In a sense, these coping mechanisms work in many situations. Unfortunately, these coping mechanisms are often detrimental to leadership. This is where Vistage comes into play. In Vistage we learn not only what to do as a leader, but more importantly, we learn to be a leader.

When I was a member of Vistage, I continually watched for two things in my group meetings. First I watch for the other members of the group to display the same problems I had in temptations #2 and #4. It was easy for me to identify these temptations in others and offer them advice on how to move past them. Why is it always easier to teach than to implement? I also watched for members who were quite comfortable in never succumbing to temptations #2 and #4. I watched their techniques in dealing with conflict and accountability. I watched the ease and confidence they showed. I learned to imitate them. Over time, I grew as a leader. Temptations #2 and #4 still challenge me, but I certainly don’t let them get in the way of my leadership roles.

If you have a desire to grow and be a better leader, consider joining Vistage. Be part of the greatest executive leadership, training, mentoring and coaching organization in San Diego and around the world!


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