The DNA of the best CEOs finally discovered! Belt up for unbelievably old news!
The latest issue of Harvard Business Review dedicated to leadership just released a 10 years long study on CEOs performance called The CEO Genome Project, meant to identify the specific attributes that differentiate high performing CEOs (executives meeting or exceeding expectation in their role according to board members and key stakeholders), if any.
The entire research can be distilled down to 4 specific behaviors that proved to be common to all CEOs:
- They make decisions with greater speed and greater conviction
- They engage for impact their employees and other key internal stakeholders to get participation and alignment
- They adapt to changes quicker than others
- They deliver reliably, meaning they are desirably predictable in following their commitments.
Wow. Holy Graal.
News is that common sense has now 10 years of research behind and data on its back.
The great news is that fundamental values nurture the human soil at all levels. The magnificent news is that – now that we know – we can really focus on what matters: being a better human being, before being a CEO.
Out of the 4 major discoveries, I dare to detail a bit the second one, as it regards directly my own field of expertise. Good CEOs engage their people, it seems. I witnessed and personally delivered tens of sessions where employees started to look differently at their CEO and at their own role in the company just because they were there at the same table with the top decisions in due time. Because they were consulted, “perceptually-audited”, asked what they believe. Whenever I perform an employee engagement assignment I start from the bottom up: perceptional audits are the ground zero of any organizational engagement project. Engagement is obtained if people know, if they are consulted, asked relevant, deep and maybe never asked before questions and if they can open themselves in front of a third party person with no stake in the company (aka the brand consultant). They are engaged if they find their personal statements alongside other colleagues’ statements well curated in the list of CEOs decisions.
Engagement is a matter of being true to people, sensing their concerns, but also adapting your perspective to their own lenses. If a CEO is truly concerned to define and redefine the goal of value creation then in this process he/she should get employees in the same boat. What it means, this boat? Maybe troubled waters, maybe hard work at the rows, who knows? I quote from the conclusions of the research and nod in deep approval: 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 seen in low performing CEOs. Instead, they instill confidence even if this means making uncomfortable or unpopular moves.
Branding is a journey of real life, no BS, authentic decisions and no sugarcoating.
Now, scientifically proven.
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