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7 Traits of Likeable CEOs

7 Traits of Likeable CEOs | Business Brainpower with the Human Touch | Scoop.it

Whether you're in charge of a multinational corporation or you're the founder of a small startup business, being a CEO is stressful. You're the final decision maker and cultural figurehead of your entire enterprise, responsible not only for securing the future profitability and existence of the company but also the respect and satisfaction of your employees.


It's a rough gig.


Fortunately, there are seven key traits of likeable CEOs that can help make you not only more charismatic, but more respectable and, ultimately, more successful. These traits have helped countless CEOs grow into their leadership position, in small and large businesses alike.

Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor's insight:

Here are the key traits of likeable CEOs that can help make you not only more charismatic, but more respectable and, ultimately, more successful.

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The Facts Show It: Female CEOs Are More Likely Than Men To Be Fired

The Facts Show It: Female CEOs Are More Likely Than Men To Be Fired | Business Brainpower with the Human Touch | Scoop.it

The perception that high-achieving businesswomen are more vulnerable than their male counterparts to being abruptly fired – pushed off the "glass cliff" in the contemporary corporate vernacular – has been borne out by a new study from a global management consultancy.


Researchers at Strategy& found that women are forced out of chief executive positions more than a third of the time, while only a quarter of men in similar positions suffer the same fate.

Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor's insight:

New research in the US has found that women working in a high-ranking position in a company are more often fired than their male counterparts.

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The Trouble With Retail's C.E.O.s

The Trouble With Retail's C.E.O.s | Business Brainpower with the Human Touch | Scoop.it

Doug McMillon, the C.E.O. of Walmart, started thirty years ago as a teen-ager, unloading trucksat a distribution center. Walgreens’s C.E.O., Greg Wasson, began as a pharmacy intern while still a college student. But the former Target C.E.O. Gregg Steinhafel beats both of them, having mopped floors as a child at the family furniture store in Milwaukee before arriving at Target, as a merchandise trainee, thirty-five years ago.


Even after he became the C.E.O., earning millions of dollars a year, Steinhafel tried to see his stores as Target’s customers might. “I come in and I want to see, How does the store feel?” he told Marketplace’s Kai Ryssdal, in 2009. “Is it clean? Are the brand standards right? I quickly look at the check lane—is there anybody waiting in line?… Am I excited to be here?” In February of this year, on a visit to a store, he pointed out that its entrance didn’t have enough shopping carts and that a mannequin’s arm was out of place, according to a Wall Street Journal profile.

Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor's insight:

In the past, if your goal in life was to run a retail company, you wanted your biography to open with a scene of you manning the sales floor or schlepping boxes in a warehouse. The younger you were in this scene, and the lowlier the position, the better the story.

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The Enabled Enterprise: How to Build the Capabilities for Sustainable Success

The Enabled Enterprise: How to Build the Capabilities for Sustainable Success | Business Brainpower with the Human Touch | Scoop.it

CEOs are facing an extraordinary test. Enduring competitive advantage is hard to achieve in a time of great uncertainty and volatility: sector leaders are no longer sure to stay at the top for very long, and new challengers—often state-owned or family-owned companies that are unburdened by legacy business models—are attacking the profit heartlands.


CEOs know, nevertheless, that they have an obligation to make their companies stronger in a sustainable way. If they can’t, they will be seen to have failed. In the end, it is not what you achieve in the short term that matters, it is what you leave behind for the long term—what we call the perpetuity principle.


How can CEOs guarantee success? The answer is clear: they need the right people with the right skills supported by the right organizational structure, processes, and tools. If they have all this, they stand the best chance of outpacing their rivals in a fast-changing world.

Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor's insight:

In a fast-changing world, CEOs need to build or strengthen their companies’ capabilities to win, and they must do so in an enduring way.

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Family CEOs Spend Less Time at Work

Family CEOs Spend Less Time at Work | Business Brainpower with the Human Touch | Scoop.it

Two years ago, the World Management Survey on organizational leadership reported that firms led by family CEOs (managers related to the family owning the business) are often managed badly, particularly those where a first-born son has inherited the role of CEO from the previous leader.


Now comes additional research showing that on average, family CEOs also work significantly fewer hours per week than other (nonfamily affiliated) CEOs. It's an important finding because longer working hours are associated with higher firm productivity and growth, says Raffaella Sadun, an assistant professor in the Strategy unit at Harvard Business School who studies the curious relationship between managerial incentives and motivation.

Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor's insight:

CEOs who are related to the owners of family-owned firms work significantly fewer hours than nonfamily CEOs, according to a new study by Raffaella Sadun and colleagues. This is in light of the fact that longer working hours are associated with higher productivity, growth, and profitability.

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Want HR to Matter? Start with the CEO...

Want HR to Matter? Start with the CEO... | Business Brainpower with the Human Touch | Scoop.it

A CEO and the HR function are uniquely, inexorably linked. HR actively touches every element and person in an organization. The CEO is the one person accountable for keeping all company functions aligned and moving in the right direction. And because the CEO is also the only individual who touches every element and person in an organization,


HR should be the conduit that helps or hinders these vital connections.


HR is a reflection of how a CEO sees his/her role in leading the organization’s people and culture.

Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor's insight:

If the CEO isn't accountable for a company's people and culture, who is?

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The CEO Experience Trap

The CEO Experience Trap | Business Brainpower with the Human Touch | Scoop.it

New research suggests that hiring a CEO with previous experience in the role is not always a wise choice. Authors Monika Hamori of IE Business School in Madrid and Burak Koyuncu of Rouen Business School in Mont-Saint-Aignan, France, collected data on 501 CEOs of S&P 500 corporations. About 20% had at least one prior CEO job. Their findings? “Our research found that these prior CEOs performed worse than their peers without such experience.”


In fact, they found that being a prior CEO was negatively and significantly associated with three-year-average post-succession return on assets.


Why does this happen? “We suspect that the job-specific experience these CEOs gained in their prior CEO job or jobs interferes with their performance in the new position,” Hamori and Koyuncu write. “Their job-specific experience may slow down learning because some knowledge and techniques need to be “unlearned.”

Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor's insight:

New research suggests that hiring a CEO with previous experience in the role is not always wise.

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For Entrepreneurs, This is The Mother of All 'Managing Up' Skills

For Entrepreneurs, This is The Mother of All 'Managing Up' Skills | Business Brainpower with the Human Touch | Scoop.it

Whether you are CEO of a new start-up, an emerging growth company or one about to go public, it is essential to master the care and feeding of your board. For an entrepreneur, it is the mother of all managing up techniques.

Remember the following:


Be totally open with directors. But remember they are not your friend.


Venture-backed companies usually have several investors on their board. These folks bring loads of experience from the many boards they have served over the years. Never feel like you have to protect them from the sausage making of your business. You should, in fact, feel the very opposite and be an open book about everything

Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor's insight:

You're the founder. You're the boss. But even you have to manage up to your board.

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Becca Rubio's curator insight, January 23, 12:03 AM

This article gives essential techniques on dealing with the board of directors as an amateur CEO.

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How Quickly Should a New CEO Shift Corporate Resources?

How Quickly Should a New CEO Shift Corporate Resources? | Business Brainpower with the Human Touch | Scoop.it

New CEOs face a critical strategic choice. Should they settle into the job, spend a year or more getting to know their businesses, and then start shifting the portfolio? Or is it better to act quickly and boldly early on to divert resources from mature activities to a new generation of corporate opportunities?


McKinsey & Co observe CEOs following both approaches, but one appears to deliver superior results: between 1990 and 2010, chief executives who reallocated corporate resources early in their tenures generated materially stronger returns for shareholders than those who waited. In the process, these active CEOs also seem to have prolonged their own time at the top. What’s more, a similar decisiveness in changing the composition of the top team also brought disproportionate longer-term rewards.

Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor's insight:

Moving early to reconfigure the business portfolio and top-management team improves corporate performance and the odds for a lengthy tenure. A McKinsey Quarterly article.

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Research Perspectives on the New CEO

Research Perspectives on the New CEO | Business Brainpower with the Human Touch | Scoop.it

Management researchers are taking note lately of factors affecting recruitment, selection, and performance of new CEOs. Since mid-2012, a number of academic papers have explored the impact and performance of different types of incoming chief executives. Three particularly intriguing reports shed light on some broad and significant questions:


  • When recruited from outside companies as new CEOs, are industry specialists or broad-based generalists more likely to be successful?
  • Which new CEOs—specialists or generalists—tend to command higher salaries?
  • What role, if any, should the old CEO play when a new CEO takes over?


Of course, there are no universal answers to any of these questions. Each successful company has its own unique circumstances. But the findings in these studies might prove particularly useful to those who make decisions about chief executives or have a stake in the outcome, such as boards, shareholders, sitting CEOs, and executives with aspirations for the top office.

Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor's insight:

Academic studies of the recruitment of chief executives suggest that those from outside the industry do relatively well, companies pay more for generalists than for specialists, and “shadow emperors” hamper performance.

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Good News Boosts the CEO's Pay; Bad News Has No Effect

Good News Boosts the CEO's Pay; Bad News Has No Effect | Business Brainpower with the Human Touch | Scoop.it

If shareholders think a CEO has done something good to boost profits, they reward the boss with a pay increase amounting to 48.9% (on average) of the perceived contribution to higher profits. But when the CEO is seen as causing a profit decline, there's a zero effect on his or her pay, Lucian A. Taylor of The Wharton School reports from his study of more than 4,500 chief executives. This "downward rigidity" of CEO pay is pervasive in companies, whether their governance is good or bad. CEOs are in effect insured against bad news about their abilities, Taylor says.

Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor's insight:

CEOs' pay doesn't drop in response to bad news. Read the study by clicking the link.

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Leading with Intellectual Integrity

Leading with Intellectual Integrity | Business Brainpower with the Human Touch | Scoop.it


By the time people reach the most senior levels of a company, they are expected to have a degree of personal competence and a strong gut feel for making good executive decisions. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be considered for a top job. But how do they attain this acumen? At Procter & Gamble (P&G)—where we (A.G. Lafley and Roger Martin) served as chief executive and one of the senior advisors to the company, respectively—we developed a systematic approach to cultivating that skill among emerging and senior executives. We found that business literature contains a great deal of advice for chief executives about strategy and execution, but much less is written about how to become the kind of person who can bring the right judgment to bear on business decisions, especially when facing a disruptive environment. Thus, many CEOs develop their own form of on-the-job training, quietly honing their own heuristics for strategic thinking. That makes it difficult to tease out and develop the personal attributes that separate successful leaders from less-successful ones.

Vicki Kossoff @ The Learning Factor's insight:

One skill distinguishes the effective CEO: the ability to make disciplined and integrated choices.

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