Denis Leonard has a degree in construction engineering an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in quality management. Denis is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality, a Certified Quality Manager, Auditor and Six Sigma Black Belt. He has been an Examiner for the Baldrige National Quality Award Board of Examiners a Judge on the International Team Excellence Competition and a Lead Judge on the National Housing Quality Award. A former Professor of Quality at the University of Wisconsin, he has experience as a quality manager in the homebuilding industry as well as construction engineer, site manager and in training, auditing and consulting with expertise in strategic and operational quality improvement initiatives. His work has achieved national quality, environmental and safety management awards for clients.

Denis is co-author of 'The Executive Guide to Understanding and Implementing the Baldrige Criteria: Improve Revenue and Create Organizational Excellence'.

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Lessons from the worst CEOs of 2011

December 27, 2011

Netflix loses 60% of its market and RIM (Blackberry) also loses over 50% of its market, not a great year for what had been some of the strongest companies. They certainly never planned for such an impact at the start of 2011. What happened, well the customer spoke!

Both losses are included amongst the ‘worst CEOs of 2011’ listings. This presents some great insights to critical business failures this year. There are excellent lessons to be learnt from these failures. For more information follow this link.

The book ‘Why Smart Executives Fail’ by Sydney Finkelstein is a great follow up to this list and lays out what the fatal pitfalls are that many executives fall into. This is a great book to read prior to strategic planning for 2012.

Some key issues that Finkelstein states as warning signs for organizations include:

  • The company is too committed to the current plan to change
  • The view is ‘we have our customers figured out’
  • Top executives rarely interact with customers or front line employees
  • The flow of information is carefully orchestrated so no one can go around official channels
  • Critical information is often lost or cannot be ‘located’
  • There is the feeling that ‘we can do what we want’ because of your market position
  • Money is spent on issues that are not core to your business
  • PR considerations are seen as equal to strategic considerations
  • Seldom are mistakes discussed or learnt from
  • ‘The way we have always done things’ is not criticized

Do any of these sound familiar to you?

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