CEO wisdom distilled

 In Journalist, Learning from Luminaries

“Few things seem to get CEOs riled up more than lengthy PowerPoint presentations. It’s not the software they dislike: that’s just a tool. What irks them is the unfocused thinking that leads to an overlong slide presentations. There is wide agreement it’s a problem: “death by PowerPoint” has become a cliché.”

The above quote is listed under the heading of ‘A simple mindset’ – one of five qualities that Adam Bryant maintains the best CEOs share, in his article Distilling the Wisdom of CEOs.

The other four qualities are: ‘Passionate Curiosity’, ‘Battle-Hardened Confidence’, ‘Team Smarts’ and ‘Fearlessness’ (The article was adapted from Bryant’s book, The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed, Times Books). Here is the link to the article:


The phrase “unfocused thinking’ resonates with me. Many business people don’t think prior to a sales presentation or business pitch or any other type of presentation, about what is the key message(s) they want the audience to retain and/or act upon. (Of course they also have to deliver the message, with conviction, in a simple way at the start of the presentation). If they did this they’d cut down, and in many cases not need PowerPoint slides when they present.

The ‘how to apply’ for this post: Read Bryant’s article and use it as preparation material before your next presentation to CEOs and to other senior executives.

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  • John Groarke

    Once again you are spot on Michael.

    Once upon a time there were logical thinking and writing courses, but where are they now? Though few corporates would have pursued them, but the founding management consulting firms did. However today I don’t think that those courses are considered to be core training.

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