Tech executives rarely fail because they aren’t technical enough. It’s usually the other leadership and management skills that they lack. Here’s a list of the top five reasons IT leaders fail from a pair of management consultants.


Management consultants Marty Abbott and Michael Fisher wrote an interesting guest column for GigaOm called The Top 5 Reasons Tech Execs Fail. It is primarily aimed at CTOs for startup and tech vendors, but the principles can apply to other IT leaders as well. Here’s the crux of their argument:

“The truth is that your senior technology officer does not need to be the brightest technical mind in the business, except, potentially, during the startup phase of your company. Over time, he or she need only be geeky enough to challenge the strongest technical minds in your company to add value to technical decision-making. Most often, we find that senior executives come to a bad end when they spend too much time relying on their technical brilliance and not enough time cultivating other important aspects of their job.”

Here are the five most common reasons they cited for IT leaders to get the pink slip:

  1. Lack of financial acumen
  2. Failure to manage operationally
  3. Failure to lead/motivate/inspire
  4. Failure to execute
  5. Failure to build a world class team

See the original post for an explanation of each item.