Embracing Ambiguity: Making Judgment Calls when the Future is Hazy

Trying to predict the future with any precision is a fool’s game, but ignoring it is suicidal. The right approach lies somewhere between prediction and neglect. Recent research has revealed a positive correlation between a leader’s tolerance for ambiguity and the successful management of paradoxes: Troy University management professor Debra Hunter says that a high tolerance for ambiguity entails a tendency to perceive ambiguous situations … [ Read more ]

Peter C. Cairo, David L. Dotlich, Stephen H. Rhinesmith

We work with many scientists, chemists, engineers, and accountants. By training, they are usually able to absorb, digest, and analyze large amounts of information. Their challenge is in making the leap from information to implication. Frequently, head-only leaders will struggle with the implications because wild swings in social, economic, and technological trends undermine logical, fact-based forecasts. Guts-only leaders will miss the boat because their … [ Read more ]

Adversity: What Makes a Leader the Most

Every leader goes through passages, significant or even transformative personal and professional life experiences. Some passages are positive; others are upsetting, even damaging. For an organization, learning how to help a leader – or potential leader – negotiate these passages will deliver lasting and satisfying benefits. As this author states, it will help an organization better recruit, measure and develop people to become leaders of … [ Read more ]

Why CEO’s Fail: The 11 Behaviors That Can Derail Your Climb to the Top and How to Manage Them

Take a walk on the dark side of leadership with executive coaches David Dotlich and Peter Cairo. Why CEOs Fail succeeds in tracking the downfall of careers and companies by defining eleven “derailers”–the deeply ingrained personality traits that shape leadership behavior. Among them: melodrama, aloofness, volatility, perfectionism, eccentricity and eagerness to please.

The authors alternate high profile cases (the arrogance of Enron CEO Jeff Skilling, the … [ Read more ]