A company should catch free riders early and make them accountable if it doesn’t want to find itself in the doldrums.

Some CEOs and top executives hide behind inaction and refrain from making decisions that might increase for themselves the odds of personal mistakes and the unpleasant consequences thereafter.

An attitude, I believe, that is developed mainly because of those CEOs’ certain insecurities or inadequacies to serve purposefully their designated position.

They will skip responsibility for anything that goes wrong on the pretext of their having nothing to do with what originated the situation and to clear themselves they will not hesitate to implicate others. It seems that the longer they stay in office the more adept they become at distancing themselves from the wrongs, the troubles and the fires.

Such shortcomings, though critical, are not often made apparent early and remain for long unnoticed. So, for not making decisions or for not foreseeing things or for missing to take the necessary initiatives, they escape the consequences for a considerable time.

Even when those CEOs get revealed, their arranged dismissal with a velvet divorce and a golden handshake is far from conveying the true reason for the severance. Furthermore, the long time that passed for their dismissal effaces any connection with the real reason that was their decision-avoidance attitude, obliterating from the corrective action its didactic element or its called-for-justice power that the rest of the company should see and feel.

It is time that companies catch such free riders sooner and make them accountable before their behaviours and attitudes derail the company prospects further.

What I suggest is that for a company it is critical

  • to spot such top executives’ decision-avoidance early and
  • that its board or owners should regularly assess its CEO and top executives not only for what they have done but also for what they didn’t but should have done.



For those with further interest in the topic or in other management services: Panikos Sardos is the Managing Director of P&E Sardos Business Solutions Int., a management consulting firm that offers advisory services, coaching and training and can be reached by email: or telephone: +357 99640912, +357 24400884,