Your strengths are your weaknesses

The Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives.

Sydney Finkelstein, in his book, Why Smart Executives Fail (Penguin Putnam) lists what he considers “The Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives” based on case studies of over fifty businesses.

Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly, each of the qualities that you need to be spectacularly unsuccessful are qualities that are widely sought after in the business world — traits like confidence, decisiveness, an aptitude for risk-taking, big-picture thinking and tenacity. It was the “flip side” of these traits that lead to the unsuccessful executives’ spectacular downfall: overconfidence, making hasty decisions, rolling the dice with the company’s money, overlooking details, and stubbornness.

This information supports the McQuaig philosophy that having the right underlying temperament indicates potential only — it is a starting point. The individual traits listed in the paragraph above show a strong correlation to The McQuaig System scales of Dominance and Independence, two traits that have traditionally been associated with strong leadership.

So how do we ensure that our leaders make the most out of these traits and how can we reduce the likelihood of them going astray?

The first step is awareness: your leaders need to know who they are, how to make the most of what they have and how they can avoid the pitfalls associated with their natural temperament.

The second step is action: you need to be able to guide and coach your leaders on the positive use of their talents. This is where companies often struggle: coaching and mentoring usually takes a back seat to day-to-day business activities. The more the process is self-driven and self-managed, the greater the likelihood of success.

If you would like more information on The McQuaig Self-Development Survey®, the leadership assessment tool that provides actionable feedback, please contact The Rogers Group directly.

You can review the Fast Company article that summarises Sydney Finkelstein’s book at

By Michael Gravelle, CHRP Vice-President, The McQuaig Institute®
© 2007 The McQuaig Institute®

Reproduced from McQuaig Newsletter #29 — Your strengths are your weaknesses –- The Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives

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