A few good articles that I have been saving to write about and have not had the chance. So here they are:
1. Lessons from Julius Caesar about how not to run a company well. This article appeared in the WSJ and it chronicles what leaders can learn from the Roman dictator. A successful conqueror for sure but a narcissist to his dying breath. The author describes what he calls The Caesar Syndrome: “A bold, talented, aggressive leader conquers an organization and then thinks the heavy lifting is over. But a leader’s work isn’t done when he becomes CEO—it has just begun. The goals: to listen, empower, collaborate and compromise, all for the good of the organization and not himself.” Being selected as CEO and building a positive reputation are just the start of the journey. Instead of Caesar’s victory speech to the Senate, “I came, I saw, I conquered,” the message should have been “I’ll listen, I’ll learn, I’ll share.” New CEOs should heed this message.
2. Businesses are perishing quicker than ever. In an article by BCG, companies are reportedly dying younger than the people running them. Building a lasting corporate reputation has to be accomplished in a shorter amount of time than ever. Just a handful of companies live beyond 50 or 60 years. The article points out that 10% of all public companies fail each year, a fourfold increase since 1965. In the U.S.. one in three (32%) companies will exit over the next 5 years compared to 5% 50 years ago. The mortality risk of companies is quite high and BCG found that there are no safe sectors and neither scale or experience make a difference.
Great advice is provided for companies who want to last and endure: particularly, the importance of detecting early warning signs and not confusing persistence with performance.
3. There is no such thing as CEO neutrality anymore. I’ve written before about CEO activism on this blog but the pendulum is swinging. In today’s NYT, an article by professors’ Aaron Chatterji and Michael Toffel