The Ramblings
of a Serial

When CEOs Fail: Snap Judgements vs. Strategic Thinking

Most CEOs make decisions as if they’re drunk. When you look at the quality of the choices they make, there’s shockingly little thought behind it. Too much ego, too little humility.

A problem or opportunity presents itself, and a snap judgement is made: “let’s do this-” or maybe, there’s a little poking around to see what others have done. But it’s superficial.

Almost none are doing what it actually takes to be repeatedly successful.

Thinking from first principles
Making small choices to test a concept first
Seeing what actually works
Accepting when they’re wrong

To think that you have some unnatural gift to make a good decision every time is stupid. Or, perhaps the bravado is just to cover up from the fact that you’re deathly afraid of making the wrong choice – and maybe acting the part will make it right?

Business success is three spokes on the wheel:

  • Science: think from first principles, test, and let the results guide
  • Engineering: Use what you learn to build a machine that’s bigger than you
  • Discipline: A leader willing to buckle the fuck down and get it done, even when he doesn’t want to

Saying you don’t know the answer, let’s discover it – isn’t weak, it’s smart.

Building a process instead of making it up each time doesn’t compromise your leadership, it builds an organization of leaders.

Doing the work IS hard, and that’s the job.

Now get back to work.

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