Do you work for this egomaniacal business owner?

December 27, 2011

One of the advantages of consulting with businesses across the US is you see the companies that get it and the many companies that don’t. Sometimes observing the companies that will never understand the formula for sustained success can be very valuable. These companies take on values and beliefs that are easy to identify as the foundation of their lackluster performance but they haven’t a clue nor do they want to get it.

We can all learn from these companies. Observing what not to do is as valuable as determining the best path of success. I recently spent the last several years observing one such company that for this blog will remain nameless. After all, exposing this organization for what they are wouldn’t change anything other than the writer receiving legal papers…

Here is what was profoundly evident within this business that we all should keep top of mind to never do;

1.       The owner is so self- absorbed that he would rather lose business than forgo having his ego sufficiently massaged. You know the type, they ask everyone in the organization to read the most progressive leadership books for an offsite retreat and the content couldn’t be any further from what they do and how they behave on a daily basis. Classically, this leads to the team being confused and ultimately frustrated.

2.       The leadership team is obsessed with making every decision based on pleasing the owner not what actually will grow the business. Usually the team attempts to do the right thing but quickly determines that they won’t obtain the owners support for execution because he had no authorship.

3.       Management tells the owner what they believe will further their individual favor. Typically, the owner is oblivious that he as any discontent in his business and believes based on the feedback he receives that his leadership is well respected by the troops. 

4.       Perspective on how you compete is totally driven by the owners inflated self that what they offer in the marketplace is second to none. Companies falling into this category always have a slow but steady  loss of market share and profit but the company line of being the best continues to resonate throughout the hallways of corporate.

5.       Strategies are created based on the owner’s exposure to a leadership council group or the latest book being read. Little ownership to execution occurs and therefore more initiatives are passed down through the rank and file with the hope that something will actually stick. This type of business finds itself scrambling to have successful change implemented and people involved quickly conclude the flavor of the month theme.

6.       Micromanagement is the common approach. Everything becomes a detail review needing days of analysis and explanation. This type of leader uses the minutia to control and assures nothing occurs without their face being on the front cover. 

Sadly from my perspective, the worst outcome from a company like the one I describe is that the people who are the company never are fulfilled, they are consistently underutilized, and rarely have any self worth at the end of the experience. They remain with the business because they are convinced their market value has decreased and that they truly no longer can compete in an organization that values input, collaboration, self respect and truthfulness.   

So what do you do with this information? Well the answer is simple. Be alert, aware and be 100% strident in assuring that if these attributes described above exist in the business you work into today, that you are putting plans in play to leave. That’s right leave…changing these leaders are impossible. The best avenue to take is one of exiting.

Don’t let a business owner crush your spirit, performance, creativity and future.  Be strong and self confident and you will avoid what unfortunately many have and continue to experience


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