In it, he shared some of his research on what over 50 former high-flying companies – like Enron, Tyco, WorldCom, Rubbermaid, and Schwinn – did to become complete failures. It turns out that the senior executives at the companies all had 7 Habits in common. Finkelstein calls them the Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives.
These traits can be found in the leaders of current failures like Research In Motion (RIMM), but they should be early-warning signs (cautionary tales) to currently unbeatable firms like Apple (AAPL), Google (GOOG), and Amazon.com (AMZN). Here are the habits (PDF Ivey Business Journal), as Finkelstein described in a 2004 article:
Habit # 1: They see themselves and their companies as dominating their environment
Habit #2: They identify so completely with the company that there is no clear boundary between their personal interests and their corporation’s interests
Habit #3: They think they have all the answers
Habit #4: They ruthlessly eliminate anyone who isn’t completely behind them