On nothing more than the whim of one board member, a privately held company purchased a large tract of land for millions of dollars that included an abandoned shopping mall with the idea that the company would relocate to the facility after it was remodeled. The board member thought the large parking lot could be used to park all of the organization’s vehicles in one place for logistical benefits, security, and maintenance purposes.
The CEO of the company was against the purchase of the property for several reasons, but he did not create a counterproposal nor did he speak out against the purchase, much to the frustration of his executive team. His apathetic response was grounded in fear of the board and his own indecisive leadership style. He adopted the philosophy that “everything will work out on its own.”
According to Nayer, leaders become indecisive for a variety of reasons but
- The leader is a perfectionist who will not decide until every possible piece of
data is gathered;
- The leader is paralyzed by uncertainty; or
- The leader prefers the safety of the status quo – go along to get along.
The building was in such bad repair it would cost over $400,000 to renovate it. Also, upon closer inspection, it was determined that the huge parking area would have to be repaved to handle the weight of the vehicles, which included heavy equipment. The building was purchased and at the time of the publication of this book, it sits unused and deteriorating. The surrounding property has gone to seed.
That decision cost almost three million dollars of company assets because one board member insisted that it be purchased, the CEO capitulated and showed no leadership, and no other board member objected. The board and the CEO made lethal mistakes related to poor leadership: they did not plan; they let one board member dominant; they misspent assets; they did not do their homework, and they neglected due diligence and sound leadership and stewardship principles.