By December 12, 2007 6 Comments Read More →

What a Delusional CEO Drives

What your CEO drives says a lot – USATODAY.com:

One thing I love about the Toyota Way is the humility and down-to-Earth nature of leaders, it’s such a contrast to the arrogance you so often see in other circles. USA Today had an interesting article about what CEO’s drive and the message it sends. Some drive very practical cars to send a frugal message, others are flashy and use that to push their employees (including one who, somewhat perversely, wants employees to be in debt so they’ll be motivated to sell more — yikes).

The real laugher was this… I can only imagine that this guy is like:

“‘My employees like to see me driving a nice car,’ says Larry Gaynor, CEO of Nailco Group, a beauty products company, who drives a white $100,000 Porsche 911 Carrera S Cabriolet. ‘It gives them a feeling the company is doing well.’ 

Perhaps, Gaynor says, there are other reasons employees notice what he drives. ‘For years I parked at whatever spot was open,’ he says. ‘A couple of years ago we redid the parking lot, and some of my employees told me that I should have a reserved space.’ Now, everyone now knows if he is at work, or away.”

Yeah, I’m sure the employees feel so warm and fuzzy that the CEO is being paid so well. And he has himself convinced about the reserved space. Would you guess the employees are scared of him if they need to be able to tell if he’s there or not? Again, all speculation, but sounds like a potentially dysfunctional workplace, don’t you think?


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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an eBook titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

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6 Comments on "What a Delusional CEO Drives"

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  1. Peden says:

    Honestly Mark, I do not see the big problem in this. Whatever the CEO drives does not matter much, what matters are his day to day actions.

    However if we keep the guy you mentioned in the “bad-CEO” perspective there is one thing the guy did not think about: The flashier his car and his perks, the more hard the people below him will work to get his job :) So his flashy way of being might end up getting him replaced, how is that :)

  2. Mark Graban says:

    I’m not saying employees should hate the guy or be jealous. I find it more likely that employees would be indifferent rather than happy for the CEO that the company is doing well.if you have a good culture where people feel they win if the company wins, maybe, but it isn’t always like that.

  3. Dan Markovitz says:

    If the employees need to see him in a Porsche to know whether or not the company is doing well, there’s a real problem.

  4. Rick Foreman says:

    I agree with Dan. In “Leading Change,” Kotter states that the vision of the company and current states should be communicated with a sense of urgency. In an empowered evironment, the visual of the vehicle should be the last thing that defines the state of the company. Daily communication, visual boards, and such should be the norm.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This CEO is either extremely loved (unlikely) or has an extremely large ego and massive self-delusion (more likely).

    If the employees are happy and well-paid above the industry average, and the company is doing well and providing a decent work environment, they probably won’t mind what the boss drives.

    If the CEO is nickel-and-diming everyone on payscales while driving a flashy Porsche, it’s extremely insulting.

    • RightOn says:

      Let me just say, mark is RIGHT ON! I work there and he doesn’t pay us shit and is extremely delusional! He leads out of fear and talks down to the team. Even the 2nd in command is terrified of him and his little puppet. If he thinks any of us care what he drives, he is crazy, what it tells me is my hard work and money I am making his ass is going into an unnecessarily expensive car while I can’t even keep a roof over my head.

      – note from blog owner – this comment was edited to remove an irrelevant reference to the CEO’s religion

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