From Black Tulip
In retrospect many of the problems at Eclipse Aviation are related to management style. Some of the catch phrases used by successful CEOs include:
“Praise in public, criticize in private.”
“You can accomplish a great deal as long as you don’t care who gets the credit.”
“Loyalty downward begets loyalty upward.”
With these in mind….
A CEO should be careful about blaming his problems on companies such as Williams and Avidyne. It is a small world and vendors see how others are treated. Fewer vendors mean less choices and higher prices.
A CEO should avoid calling his competitors ‘dinosaurs’ since he may need to team with them in trade groups to fight government regulation and fees.
A CEO should make careful decisions on risk in new product development. Too much risk and the ‘disruptive technology’ disrupts the company, not the market.
A CEO should be careful about written and verbal statements, otherwise he could develop a reputation of over-promising and under-delivering.
A CEO should be careful about accepting a prestigious award such as the Collier Trophy before anything has actually been produced.
A CEO should be cautious about publishing an exaggerated order book based on questionable customer business plans. It may draw difficult questions.
A CEO should be price his product carefully and avoid the trap, “We will lose money on each one but we’ll make it up in volume.”
A CEO should avoid launching an unfinished product lest it draw comparisons to finished products from competitors.
The CEO should be careful about attracting a prestigious board of directors as they are used to, and expect good performance.
The reader might ask, what are the risks of violating the rules?
The CEO runs the risk that an informed observer might start an Internet website that runs an active dialog with many participants. He runs the risk that the word ‘Critic’ might appear in the website’s title. It could contain unflattering, sometimes humorous, comments that are critical of the company.
This requires that depositors, praying that the product will be completed, rise in the defense of the company.
Now having questioned the CEO’s ability in other areas let me give praise where it is due.
The CEO’s ability to suspend disbelief among the faithful is a marvel to behold.
The tulip mania peaked in the Netherlands during the 1630s. The black tulip was the most sought after, until found to be biologically impossible.