The CEO next door by Elena L. Botelho and Kim R. Powell is a wonderful book for anyone in a leadership position. The basic premise is that whatever assumptions we have about where CEO’s come from are mistaken. Some of them have been very well educated and not all of them are from the top schools. It is also interesting that not all of them have talent that is totally off the charts. This is also well documented in the book Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin. For example, both Jeff Immelt and Steve Balmer never showed early signs that they were going to become CEO’s. Here are the four best practices mentioned that make great CEO’s with my take on each.
Decisiveness – Being decisive is one of the key traits of strong leaders. Even if you make a wrong decision it is better than being indecisive. For example, Henry Ford was known to decide quickly but he was very slow in changing a decision once it is made. Decisiveness is a trait that can be developed. One great book on making better decisions is Decisive by Chip Heath and Dan Heath. The recommendation from the authors is to make decisions faster, make fewer decisions and get better every time.
Engage for impact: This is basically about managing the stakeholders. It can be both internal and external stakeholders. One of the keys is to know who all the stakeholders are. There should be a separate strategy for each type of stakeholder. Building strong long-lasting relationships is a great key to ensuring a smooth-running team which delivers great results.
Deliver Reliably: All leaders are measured by the results they produce. The final measure of any leader is to get the results they have signed up for. Some of the recommendations are setting realistic expectations, and stand up and be counted upon.
Adapt Boldly: The only thing that is certain we go further into the 21st Century is uncertainty. The key skill of the 21st century is adaptability. Being adaptable means the ability to accept reality when things go wrong and the willingness to change strategy when things are not working.
This book is well researched and there is other good information on fast-tracking your future and how to stand out in a crowded marketplace.
The views expressed here are my own and do not represent my organization.