When interacting with stakeholders, CEOs like Bell are acutely aware of how their moods and body language can affect the impact of their communications. CEOs who engage stakeholders do not invest their energy in being liked or protecting their teams from painful decisions. In fact, both those behaviors are commonly seen in lower-performing CEOs. Instead, the skilled CEOs gain the support of their colleagues by instilling confidence that they will lead the team to success, even if that means making uncomfortable or unpopular moves. These CEOs do not shy away from conflict in the pursuit of business goals; in fact, in our analysis two-thirds of the CEOs who excelled at engagement were rated as strong in conflict management.
When tackling contentious issues, leaders who are good at engagement give everyone a voice but not a vote. They listen and solicit views but do not default to consensus-driven decision making. The goal of those meetings is to challenge him and present him with new perspectives, but he is careful not to create the illusion of democracy. None of this means that CEOs should behave as autocrats or lone wolves.
For evidence of how important it is for businesses and leaders to adjust to a rapidly changing environment, we need look no further than the aftermath of Brexit and the recent U. Our analysis shows that CEOs who excel at adapting are 6. CEOs themselves told us over and over that this skill was critical.
As a CEO you are constantly faced with situations where a playbook simply cannot exist. We believe a long-term focus helps because it makes CEOs more likely to pick up on early signals. Highly adaptable CEOs regularly plug into broad information flows: They scan wide networks and diverse sources of data, finding relevance in information that may at first seem unrelated to their businesses. As a result, they sense change earlier and make strategic moves to take advantage of it.
Adaptable CEOs also recognize that setbacks are an integral part of changing course and treat their mistakes as opportunities to learn and grow. Successful CEOs, on the other hand, would offer unabashedly matter-of-fact accounts of where and why they had come up short and give specific examples of how they tweaked their approach to do better next time.
Mundane as it may sound, the ability to reliably produce results was possibly the most powerful of the four essential CEO behaviors. In our sample, CEO candidates who scored high on reliability were twice as likely to be picked for the role and 15 times more likely to succeed in it. Boards and investors love a steady hand, and employees trust predictable leaders.
Leaders ignore the importance of reliability at their peril. Simon—a high-potential executive we were asked to coach—was known as a miracle worker at his company. Our data supports the paramount importance of reliability. A key practice here is setting realistic expectations up front. In their first weeks on the job reliable CEOs resist the temptation to jump into execution mode. They dig into budgets and plans, and engage with board members, employees, and customers to understand expectations.
CEOs who ranked high on reliability employed several other tactics as well. Three-quarters of them were rated strong on organization and planning skills. They established business management systems that included a cadence of meetings, dashboards of metrics, clear accountability, and multiple channels for monitoring performance and making rapid course corrections.
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Most important, they surrounded themselves with strong teams. For CEOs choosing talent, the stakes are high and the misses obvious. The successful ones move decisively to upgrade talent.
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They set a high bar and focus on performance relevant to the role rather than personal comfort or loyalty—two criteria that often lead to bad calls. The industry and the company context determine which behaviors and skills are most important in any particular situation. A CEO in a rapidly evolving industry—for example, technology—will surely need to excel in adapting proactively, but that behavior may matter less in stable sectors. Those are critical in screening out clearly unsuitable candidates, but they will not help you separate the best from the rest. In the end, our research shows, leadership success is not a function of unalterable traits or unattainable pedigree.
Nor is there anything exotic about the key ingredients: decisiveness, the ability to engage stakeholders, adaptability, and reliability. Stephen Kincaid is a principal at ghSmart and a past president of the Society of Consulting Psychology. Leadership transitions. Executive Summary At the top of the ladder, the stakes are high and the demands intense. A version of this article appeared in the May—June issue pp. Partner Center. I am yet to read anyone, on any topic, who shares his journey with just brute honesty and authenticity, including some very personal lows.
Hiring and firing, facing the board and investors and all manner of gut-wrenching decisions a CEO needs to make. I continue to experience the exact things Ben describes and it helps me to remember that someone else was there and came out the other end. I believe that these feelings are well described in as it walks through the first and arguably the toughest year of the American Revolution.
George Washington and the founding fathers faced insurmountable odds, had absolutely no systems or organization, and had to make up a lot of it as they went along. There was doubt in the plan itself and in the general who was carrying it out. We read it now knowing how successful the outcome is, but when they lived it they had no idea if they would even have a chance of success. It really captures the essence of what makes startups the hardest and most thrilling business endeavor.
Gladwell draws on a diverse and interesting set of examples to paint a picture of what it takes to make a person a success story. To me, one of the most important takeaways is that hard work matters much more than raw talent.
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In the chapter '10, Hours,' Gladwell cites a study of music students, which found that the number of hours spent practicing is the key determinant in mastery. But, while successful people must invest the time to master their craft, they can only do that when the circumstances and unique events of their lives allow it. I think that there's an important lesson for every entrepreneur and high achiever about the value of a lot of hard work and a little luck.
Something I found really interesting is how he assembled a cabinet of leaders that were either more established politically than he was or had even competed with him for office. It is a perfect example how great leaders--whether in politics or business--bring together individuals whose abilities may surpass their own in certain areas, with the end goal of creating an optimal, high-performing team.
I must've read it hundreds of times. I see many parallels, in how we've built an all-star team that wins championships. It's since become required reading at Ultimate. We give copies to our people when they join our team. In the early days of Ultimate, Pat's words guided me. He became a mentor, if only through the pages in the book. Last year, when we teamed up with the Heat and became the jersey sponsor, it felt like I'd known Pat for years.
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Seeing Ultimate's logo on the Heats' jerseys is still an unbelievable feeling. Where most business books dispense trendy concepts or silly declarations, High Output Management is more essential, balancing counterintuitive ideas people quit because of their bosses, not because of their jobs and incisive observations meetings can be for establishing consensus, sharing knowledge, or arriving at a decision--and it's important to know which sort of meeting is happening.
Like many business books, it introduces frameworks, processes, and mindsets that are valuable, but unlike others it provides new and deeper layers of value and insight every time I go back to it. As someone in the cybersecurity industry, this concept is especially relevant, since our job is to drive organizational change based on the current threat landscape. Security is constantly evolving and what you sold three years ago is now likely an outdated technique. While this may initially be viewed as a challenge by your marketing, engineering, and sales teams, it shouldn't be.
The Heath brothers' book teaches us that when leaders articulate their vision and empower employees for broad-based action, industry shifts can become a driving factor for the success of a business. By taking a city-centric view rather than a nation-centric view of economies, Jane Jacobs clarifies how the world works, how businesses are born, and how they are tied to the existing economies and geographies around them.
And I am always intrigued by the process of creativity and innovation. Sometimes you literally can't script success.
And you've got to be OK with that. Let the talent loose, let them do their thing, don't micromanage, and you just might get more than you expected. Which, as Carl Spackler would say, 'is nice. Caddyshack was deemed to be an underachievement early on, until it found its target market. It was a slow burn to reach its pop culture status, where it has become the most-quoted motion picture of all time.
A Cinderella story. However, it's much more than that: My aim is to ensure my team understands our company mission and inspire all members of the team to aggressively seize our opportunity and to own their respective areas. After putting down Laszlo's book , I had to continue on my mission to make our entire global team highly informed, aligned, and integrated with our company mission and culture.
Being more transparent and opening the floor for feedback is truly important to me, and it's not a crazy change. Google isn't the only company that can pull that off! Their secret sauce: becoming category kings.