If you were to do the research, you would find that one of the biggest errors executives are making is not “grasping nettles.” In the off-chance you need a quick brush up, a nettle is a plant covered in tiny spines which releases painful toxins when touched. Obviously what Ogilvy is referring to is the willingness and ability to deal with conflict. The issues senior team members are avoiding is frequently directly related to people………..……
· Refusing to deal with under-performing managers (even Elon Musk said, in a Vanity Fair article, that him not dealing with poorly performing executives had hurt results in his companies).
· Denial around favorite employees who are failing.
· Delivering difficult messages too softly, if at all.
· Avoiding complaints about employee behaviors.
We cannot blame this problem on intelligence. A study published in ScienceDirect found that a very significant percentage of senior executives, including CEO’s, are in the top 1% of cognitive ability. So what’s going on?
Well, it appears that too much of their self-esteem comes from constantly needing to gather approval from others. It becomes a recurring, rather debilitating issue and results in one of the biggest reasons for senior executive failure.
Born exactly 109 years ago this month, David Ogilvy has described, in three short words, one of the very significant ways to think about achieving high performance results with your executive and management teams.