I had breakfast with an old friend this morning, who I shall not name given what is to follow in this post. He and I used to work together lo these many years ago and he is at what looks to be a very promising tech company now. During the conversation he was lamenting how the CEO had basically achieved his level of incompetence–a Peter Principle award candidate in the making, and this could result in damage to what, by all measures, would otherwise appear to be a big potential success.
We were laughing about this but sort of in a ha ha, not really funny kind of way, as I could really relate. I so often encounter CEOs who are so far out of their league they are wearing football gear to the baseball park. It is a damn shame, because often these are people who are brilliant and visionary enough to have a great idea and start a company, but not smart enough to realize when they are not the right person to lead it anymore. The capacity for self reflection is apparently tied to a submissive gene in some and is down-regulated by delusions of grandeur.
Of course there are many many great founder CEOs who take their companies to the promised land without diverting too far off track. Unfortunately, there are also those founder CEOs who insist on being in the driver’s seat when the track leads to a brick wall. Alas.
Anyway, right after I saw my friend I checked my email and saw this offering from The Onion, one of my favorite satirical websites, entitled, “CEO Has Special Knack For Recognizing Great Ideas And Ruining Them.” I’ll include the text that accompanied the video below, but the video is hilarious (notwithstanding the fact that it is so true). Happy Weekend!
BALTIMORE—Employees at local technology firm Halverson Enterprises remarked to reporters Monday that CEO Peter Weathers, 61, has an extraordinary gift for discovering great ideas and then swiftly running them into the ground with his horrible modifications. “He’s just incredible at picking out the best proposal, watering it down, putting the wrong person in charge of it, and then abandoning the whole thing once it’s clear that he’s created a complete fucking train wreck,” said senior sales manager Francesca O’Toole, who added that even more remarkable was the virtuoso CEO’s knack at recklessly sinking enormous sums of the company’s money into the plans after he had thoroughly destroyed anything worthwhile about them. “It’s pretty incredible to watch [Weathers] walk into a project proposal meeting, commandeer the ideas that you’ve spent weeks tirelessly crafting, and then, in a split second, just transform them into total goddamn wastes of everyone’s time and energy. That’s the special ‘Weathers touch’ that really makes it obvious what a rare talent he is.” Sources also confirmed that Weathers has an undeniable flair for blaming someone else after the plans he had butchered inevitably failed.