Five Temptations of a CEO

Reading Report

Five Temptations of a CEO is a book by Patrick Lencioni; this book can be considered as a manual guide for those who want to achieve success, to assert oneself as a talented and competent leader, and to establish strong and trusty relationship with one’s employees.

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The book is written in a form of a fable that tells a story of Andrew O’Brien, CEO of Trinity Systems, who feels troubled and dispirited before the coming board meeting where his last year’s achievements will be discussed.  On his way home, a strange incident happens to Andrew – he meets an old man, who seems to know about the problem that bothers Andrew and, moreover, the old man gives him advice to expose the main temptations, which may be the obstacles on the way to success.  The whole conversation turns out to be a dream, but the lesson taught by the old man encourages Andrew to act bravely.

The five temptations discussed in the book are so-called “traps”; these may occur on the way of any leader, who is guided mostly by desire of fame and puts his personal interests above the company’s interests.  Though the book was written nearly ten years ago, it still remains a useful guide for those who want to succeed.  The temptations described by the author concern business; however, they are applicable to all other spheres of human life, and are based on the general human morals and principles. 

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The first two temptations are the most difficult and most common, caused by a desire to become firmly established in the idea of one’s own importance – concentration on the status more than on productivity; and need of acceptance and popularity among employees.  They are based, as well as many other human vices, on the selfishness and desire of personal success, which is incompatible with the idea of good leadership. 

Next three “traps” mostly deal with more personal peculiarities and even fears. They include: the fear of making a mistake, making wrong decision, which is one of the most common human fears; the desire to preserve harmonious and “peaceful” relationships in the team in spite of a need of an ardent discussion for the sake of the progress and good result; desire to maintain the image of invulnerable and imperturbable person instead of showing one’s humaneness in order to establish trusty relationship.

All of the points above mentioned are the most common mistakes of CEOs and people occupying the executive positions.  Moreover, they are absolutely applicable to other spheres of life and work.   The utmost significance of these mistakes for business is the fact that they hamper general success of the company, which should be of paramount importance.  The main idea here is that the good of the company and common welfare is above all.  The book teaches that a good leader must rise over oneself and try to cooperate with the others in terms of trust, openness and fairness.

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To my mind, this book should be read by everyone who takes the responsibility of leadership, and not only in business. I find it a very useful guide for everyday communication and relationships between people in general.  To my great pleasure, I have learnt some useful advices and have paid attention to my own way of business administration and conduct of personal affairs which, doubtlessly, will contribute to my further development.  I will advise to read this book to all who want to widen their outlook and contribute to their professional development. 

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