Some people seem to have a special flair for self-promotion and self-aggrandizement, also known as success theater. While annoying for sure, this is usually damaging to the organization.

Success theater is noticeable by its frequent and persistent use of hyperbole, anecdotes and vanity metrics; essentially just unsubstantiated or unverifiable claims of greatness.

It gets really bad when the actors actually begin believing their own press releases and act as if the stories are real. I have seen first-hand the destruction left in the wake of over-confident, usually young, usually male, up-and-comers who stir up lots of activity, talk a terrific story, generate excitement and then leave midstream in execution and before the results are in. More often than not, chaos ensues and the organization is left holding the proverbial bag and the clean-up bill.

We have a perverse tendency to go along with this nonsense to the effect that these useless idiots can job hop from place to place and swing like Tarzan to new heights and bigger destruction. What we end up with are leaders (well, not really, but you know what I mean) who, like the now famous hedgehog, know one big thing: how to navigate up corporate hierarchies and little else.

These people have zero interest in what goes on in the organizations they front, have no detectable empathy and is motivated primarily by greed and an insatiable taste for social recognition. This is not just a me, me, me attitude. It’s more like GET OUT OF THE WAY FOR MEMEMEMEMEME, ALREADY, NOT YOU, GO AWAY, YOU’RE BLOCKING THE LIMELIGHT.

It’s quite a performance, entirely theatrical, but while it may look like dram, it is really a tragedy.

dot Success theater: you dont want to be in it

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Filed under: Progress Success Failure

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