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Successful Fear Requires a Trusted Inner Circle

Last updated on January 19, 2023

In June of 2021, the CEO of a well-known clothing chain in the retail sector whose sales were on a pleasantly consistent decline, reached out to FEAR Incorporated for help to accelerate failure. While we had not had the honor of working directly with her company in the past, we had met her at the annual CEO + FEAR summit in Davos, Switzerland. She was a fan of FEAR, saw its fundamental benefits and openly enjoyed using fear to turn her direct report’s soul’s ashen white. But even though her one-on-one sessions of fear had been successful, she was unable to get fear to spread throughout her organization and was in desperate need of our consultancy.   

Our first job was helping her understand that getting fear to reach every corner of a company is too big to tackle by her lonesome. We then got to work creating a hiring plan that built her a leadership team that would give her unwavering support. The most important aspect of this dedicated team was that every member must crave the opportunity of being in charge but also have a complete lack of curiosity or desire to learn how to lead. They must come with a dearth of communication skills while maintaining a rigid process they won’t bend under any reasonable circumstance. For this team to succeed, they must – above all else – fear the CEO and spend all of their waking energy attempting to please her while maintaining a complete indifference for those they are managing. This mix of being aroused by the level of power, with an unnatural amount of distrust while never having the desire to have an original thought of their own became the North Star when we interviewed candidates.

We quickly found her a team, and to this day, those we welcomed into her circle still relentlessly seek her approval – hope they have it but are never quite sure – while constantly tossing out criticisms to peers and subordinates like beads at Mardi gras. From this nucleus, fear flourished and with the help of the tight knit team, it took root in every department. To this date, the company has missed their numbers for eight straight quarters, shrunk by 38% and celebrated the closure of 240 of their stores in North America.  

If you would like to learn more about how FEAR can help build you a leadership team that will help you fail faster, please contact our chief people person at

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