The twenty-four-hour news cycle clouds a leader's vision.
I've worked with CEOs who have had a share price ticker on their desk, giving live updates on the value of their company. If the ticker increases, and the media reaction is positive, they leave work happy. If it decreases, they leave work grumpy.
It's like a kid getting a sweet for doing well. Leaders begin to think that the short-term is what matters, since this is what other people are measuring their success by.
They think that the health of the company is measured by share price - that it is the thermometer up its bum.
But it's not. A company's health is measured by employee satisfaction, customer loyalty, cash flow - and other such metrics. The daily ebb and flow of media sentiment and share price is largely irrelevant, and can be distracting.
Nowadays, CEOs last about the same amount of time as football managers.
The short-termism of leaders is an issue for companies, for countries and for societies.
Perhaps this is the reason why the stock of the Royal family has risen over the past decade - a Prince will spend decades in the role; while a CEO only 3 or 4 years. This permits them to think long-term...
“Crises of leadership are the order of the day at the beginning of the twenty-first century,” Elizabeth Samet writes, in the introduction to “Leadership: Essential Writings by Our Greatest Thinkers” (Norton). “If we live in a world of crisis,” she continues, “we also live in a world that romanticizes crisis—that finds in it fodder for an addiction to the twenty-four-hour news cycle, multiple information streams, and constant stimulation.”