Top 10 Signs a Company Is Headed South

10. CEO talks more about “vision” than “execution”

9. Cover stories appear in Fortune/BusinessWeek about CEO’s uniquely effective leadership

8. Article in Harvard Business Review extols excellence of company’s most-recent change effort

7. Company stock has a 50+ P/E ratio; CEO promises The Street 25 percent growth

6. Company pulls out all stops and hires 5,000 new employees

5. CEO’s letter in annual report credits “our great relationship with our people” for ongoing success, saying “we don’t guarantee them a job, but we guarantee to make them marketable”

4. CEO serves on two or more other boards and/or as chief fundraiser for U.S. presidential candidate

3. CEO fails to hold top people accountable for promised results

2. Company merges with its biggest competitor, whose CEO then “wins the coin toss” to lead new organization

1. Executive team cashes out billions in stock options