Why is it when everyone starts to get some success it immediately goes to their head? They morph into someone who thinks they are greater than they really are.

Dan McCarthy wrote a great top ten list of Avoiding the Arrogance of Power. In it in he basically describes about trying to be more human and act less important.
Leaders tend to think they are more important and can basically go in their “Cave” where they do their “important” things.  In doing that they totally lose touch with everyone and especially those around them.  How else do you explain what is happening at the financial and car companies.  Big Cats making decisions that they don’t have any direct contact with.  Most of the GM executives never even bought their own car or drove their own car.  So how would they know what the experience even looks like.  Did they even talk to any ordinary customers or just the “important” ones?  They are so far removed from the “experience” that they lose touch.  Instead they take lavish rides on private jets and don’t even interact at the main touchpoints with customers.  No wonder they are so out of touch with the car industry.
Businesses need to be careful to make sure they stay lean and mean these days with less and less layers.  What an exciting thing if there was less and less layers in business and more and more people making decisions that directly affect the customer.
As a leader are you a “cave dweller”?  Or are you “infiltrater” who is in the know because they don’t lose contact with everyone?
On top of being in touch with everyone around you, you should also have someone in your life to keep you focused on your goals.  Get a mentor or a coach to help to tell you when you are wrong and keep you in good “business shape.”

Here are a couple more great articles I read on the same topic:
Get out of the (White) House by the New York Times
Listen to your Employees by Small Business Trends