The no-no’s of a good CEO


NEW YORK | What makes an interesting CEO, a really charismatic one? And what kills all the charm?

A survey by the 10 Company and Gotham Research Group conducted last December among business bloggers pointed out the worst sentences a manager could possible pronounce. Here is an excerpt of the article by Celeste Altus at Mediabistro.

“Win-win situation”: I think this one hit its effectiveness peak in the 1980s. Bloggers point out that it instantly raises suspicions, because so few business deals really are win-win. Be honest.

Thinking outside the box: Seen as complete corporate jargon, it’s time to put this one back in its box.

“We’re not here to talk about the past”: Especially if “the past” was this morning. Sports teams use this cliché a lot.

”We’re an innovative company”: I sure hope so! No reporter wants to get stuck covering redundant, tired corporations with nothing new to offer. This word is so overused, it’s seen as an empty promise.

And we have saved the best for last …

”Executive X is stepping down to spend more time with his family”: The classic. Everyone knows this means said executive was forced out.

Two months ago, CNN money collected five ackward CEO testimonies in a video, including disgraced ex-CEO of MF Global Jon Corzine’s. He had to explain in front of Congress what happened to the estimated $1.2 billion missing from the company’s books, although he did not seem to remember.

“I simply do not know where the money is, or why the accounts have not been reconciled to date,” he said.

Obtruse or inappropriate answers are the most feared by PR managers, who have much more material to control if their bosses happen to like Twitter or blogs. On the contrary, some PR are the ones putting their bosses in a tricky situation by insisting them to write and build a 2.0 identity, although they may not feel especially comfortable with it. According to the insiders, it’s better to hire a ghostwriter, start a podcast, focus on other communication strategies without forcing the machine.

“CEO’s blogs when personal or boastful are bad enough,
but a ‘reluctant’ CEO blogger (yuk!)”, says Brian MacIver, from BMAC Sales Consultants.

About the Author

Ana Fuentes
Columnist for El País and a contributor to SER (Sociedad Española de Radiodifusión), was the first editor-in-chief of The Corner. Currently based in Madrid, she has been a correspondent in New York, Beijing and Paris for several international media outlets such as Prisa Radio, Radio Netherlands or CNN en español. Ana holds a degree in Journalism from the Complutense University in Madrid and the Sorbonne University in Paris, and a Master's in Journalism from Spanish newspaper El País.

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