What should CEOs *not* do?

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Today I’m speaking to a private summit of COOs from Fortune 500 companies. These leaders are being groomed to become CEOs and the two-day summit is designed to help them eventually run a large publicly-traded company.

I’m giving a Customers Included talk – and as is true in all my talks and in the book, we’ll be talking about how to listen and to learn from your customers, your employees, and your peers.

We’ll begin, however, with an inversion exercise where we examine what aspiring CEOs should *not* do.

Fred Hassan, former CEO of Pharmacia Corp. and Schering-Plough Corp, who had 8 lieutenants who went on to become CEOs of large companies, said in this article in the Wall Street Journal that the one mistake most CEO candidates make is to “lose their humility.”

That is a major theme in Customers Included – and in the Netflix story we tell. 

In addition to arrogance, however, many aspiring CEOs also fall victim to “confirmation bias” – the bias that blinds us to everything but the things that we already believe. The Wall Street Journal article mentioned above also quoted the head of RHR International, a management consultancy, who said,  “A lot of time promising people fail to become a CEO because they have huge blind spots and lack corrective feedback from an internal mentor.”

What do you think aspiring CEOs should do?

Or better yet, what should they *not* do?

I look forward to your thoughts.

– Phil