TGIF – If You Have A Big One, Your Performance Suffers

May 31, 2013 by Bill Bradley

As the week winds down, we wind down with some tidbits for your information, education, health, and enjoyment.


Quote of the Week: “I don’t care what you think unless it is about me.” Kurt Cobain

Humor Break: (Today our favorite couple discuss their new neighbor after a first and lengthy conversation.)

Bev: Wow, Henry is all wrapped up in himself.

Al: And it is such a small package.

Stat of the Week: Apparently when the CEO has a big ego, the company’s performance suffers, at least in a study reported this month in the Harvard Business Review. “(W)hen an annual report has a big CEO signature on it—as measured by the area of a box drawn around the signature’s end points, and controlling for name length—a firm will, on average, spend more on capital goods, R&D, and acquisitions than its industry peers, yet show worse sales and sales growth over the next three to six years.” And what is worse, the CEO makes more money than peers during this same time period. Yikes, size does matter – and not in a good way.

Action Tip: If you would like to read the full academic study, you can link on to Narcissism is a Bad Sign: CEO Signature Size, Investment, and Performance.

Self-Development Corner: Next week’s courses from Coursera you might be interested in include this one dedicated to those financial geniuses at Enron who now have lots of time on their hands: Introduction to Finance (June 3, 15 weeks, University of Michigan); next time it is offered I will definitely be taking Model Thinking (June 3, 10 weeks, University of Michigan).

For our computer oriented friends we have Internet History, Technology, and Security (June 3, 11 weeks, University of Michigan) and Introduction to Systematic Program Design – Part 1 (June 3, 8 weeks, University of British Columbia).

And finally, for our friends in healthcare we have The Science of Safety in Healthcare (June 3, 5 weeks, Johns Hopkins).


Bill Bradley (mostly) retired after 35 years in organizational consulting, training and management development. During those years he worked internally with seven organizations and trained and consulted externally with more than 90 large and small businesses, government agencies, hospitals and schools.

Posted in Engagement

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  • I started to read the paper on narcissism but saw it was 43 pages and I will be traveling almost all of June so I passed for now but maybe later. I did already by the Pink book and it looks really good. Thanks. Hope you and Karen continue to enjoy your travels.

  • OOPs! I see that I missed my U in buy…sorry. I know you still got the point. Have a good weekend.

  • Jack Hagerty

    I don’t think this study holds true for the most famous big signature in American history- John Hancock

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