5150 Business Strategy

Life in the Corporate Fast Lane and Still Remaining Intelligent

The Ducati Syndrome – a Lesson in Intellectual Snobbery or Let Them Eat Cake

Ever leave a meeting and ask the following:

  • What planet did this person come from?
  • Wonder if they walk on water too?
  • Does he/she put their pants on one leg at a time like the rest of us?
  • What is the worst way a person can die and would I wish that upon them?
  • Can this person really believe the rest of the world revolves around them?
  • Is it really possible someone can be so clueless?

From the moment I walked into this company I knew things were not good. More specifically, from the time I met this CEO I knew things were going to be interesting. Looking back it was a good experience on how to deal with anger as it was inevitable that leaving meetings with this person left me with homicidal thoughts. What grated more than anything was the elitist attitude which I came to attribute to his being an “artist” producing works of art that no normal person could hope to replicate. Therefore, in his presence you should rightfully bow down in reverence in the presence of such greatness. How dare you trifle him with such a thing as billing, collecting or company performance as these were below his consideration. After all he was charged with producing works of art that changed the world! The funny thing was this person believed himself to be a “people” person with the ability to mold and shape productive human beings into his very image. Amazing stuff. How dare anyone question his god given right to preach to the assembled masses regarding the proper way to manage, not only the company, but the entire world. His thoughts were delivered to groups in hushed tones that conveyed how lucky we were to be in the presence of one so blessed.

By their account the company existed due to their singular efforts. Humanity had been served and the snobbery of the elite had been preserved. How quickly the mighty fall, however, as little while after I left this company he was issued his walking papers. Of course, none of the behind the scenes skullduggery was published and his departure was characterized in the usual way – a mutual agreement to pursue other more productive enterprises! Isn’t that the way of the corporate world – we dispense with the dysfunctional with thanks for how much they helped the company and send them off to plunder others.

Lesson learned: having to ask the questions above indicates a leader has lost touch with those he is charged with leading. When you think you are better than those who contributed to your success and are unwilling to get down in the weeds your days are surely numbered.

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