The Real #1 Reason CEOs Get Fired

By Kent Billingsley, President, Revenue Growth Company

Summary: Behaviors, the first category, and performance, the second category of CEO failure, are all driven by and have their root cause in how a leader thinks.

Many studies and researchers are selling the story that the reasons CEOs are fired fall into two categories.

In this article, I'll provide a third argument that's different from those other two categories by explaining the true genesis for CEO failure. This insight comes from twenty-five years of personal experience helping thousands of CEOs and leaders achieve explosive growth all over the world.

First category of reasons for firing: CEOs are Fired because OF behavior

This is the "Jerk at Work" category. Yes, some CEOs are fired because of style, personal approach, demeanor, or other awkward traits. Not being politically correct, condescending to subordinates, or ethics violations are other examples of bad behavior. However, those aren't close to the top reasons, and those issues can be misused to provide ineffective coaching, mentoring, or training that won't solve the real problem.

Second category of reasons for firing: CEOs are fired because of poor performance

This is the "Failure to Perform" category. Most executives believe CEOs are terminated because they don't make the corporate numbers, or their results are too inconsistent. Big quarters followed by missing numbers, also called the "roller coaster" performance, is definitely a big no-no for someone's leadership career. Another career-killing mistake is missing forecasts with investors or shareholders and then losing their confidence.

Usually most CEO firings aren't for a bad quarter or even a bad year (unless it's a disaster). They're told they are fired because of their "body of work" is poor. And that last point is emphasized by failing to achieve results that are consistent and sustainable.

However, although inconsistent and unsustainable performance is the proximate cause - it's not the root cause.

The Real and Biggest Reason for Top Level Turnover

Interestingly enough, the aforementioned two categories - personality and performance - have the same root cause.

CEOs are fired - and the reason that all leaders are eventually fired - because of this one thing: Flawed Thinking

Flawed, imperfect, stale, unsound, defective, faulty, or wrong - whatever you want to call it - thinking is the number one reason that CEOs are fired. And the second-place reasons are not even close.

Behaviors, the first category, and performance, the second category of CEO failure, are all driven by and have their root cause in how a leader thinks. If the top person thinks wrong, then it is highly unlikely anyone around them or below them can get it corrected enough times to save their superior's job. And that's why CEOs get fired - now more than ever.

Think - Speak - Act - Results

Look at the chain of events from think to results. Results don't come directly from thinking; they come from speaking and acting. Speaking and acting come from thinking.

Thinking - Good or Bad Dictates Behavior and Results

Think about your business and its performance over the years. You are - it is - where it is because of how you think. Did you ever hear it said this way? You are where you are because you decided to be there? How frighteningly true!

Action Step - Do This Now!

Go here - Have someone in your organization call us now so we can share with you how to go about changing your leadership paradigms to optimizing growth. Just one flawed paradigm - bad thinking can cost or prevent your company from earning millions of dollars.

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