The Seduction of Power

What do you think CEOs miss most when they're no longer CEOs?

It's not the money — most have more than enough of that.

It's not the private plane — most can still afford that.

It's the sucking up. I kid you not.

I was talking to an old friend — a retired CEO — who was actually quite whimsical about it. He's amazed now by the number of people who don't fawn over him now, or seek his guidance now, or try to curry his favor now.

It reminds me of the story that President Clinton (search) relayed after he was no longer President Clinton:

"People don't let me win at golf anymore," he said.

I guess it's human nature: We gravitate to the guy in power and don't bother with the guy not in power.

For my retired friend, it pinches and it hurts. But, he knows full well that that's life.

He's going on — living the good life as a result of his years in the saddle. But he's missing those times in the saddle and all the people who sucked up to him when he was.

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