To many leaders, how to become a CEO is not good enough– they desire to be an exceptional CEO, whether they are at Fortune 100 companies or startups. Can they copy behaviors or build the underlying structure? Is there a timetable? Are IQ, EQ and Behavior tools enough? What is the difference between how to become a CEO and how to be an exceptional CEO? Recently, McKinsey released its CEO study on what makes a CEO “exceptional” based on the pattern they have recognized among a big data through behavior analytics. Let’s review its 3 key findings and explore how to be an exceptional CEO or how to become a CEO. In the meantime, give yourself a quick self-evaluation.
This is one good path how to become a CEO. It is good to know the underlying structure and empower yourself if suitable.
The key here is how to keep a fresh and objective view and minimize attachments to old glory and routines, which is a part of human nature management. We have found that unable to do so has stopped many CEOs in our leadership study and Fortune 1000 CEO study. I have paid a heavy price here myself.
However, not everyone needs to come from outside to gain the quality, for example, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, Ford CEO Alan Mullaly, and American Express CEO Kenneth Chenault. They all came internally and have transformed their businesses.
How do you do here? You can take a quick leadership assessment.
The time is very important when reshuffling management. Lawrence Bacow became the 29th President of Harvard University on July 1, 2018. In his installation speech on October 5, 2018, he addressed Harvard’s funding principles, which are kindness, decency, and integrity, and asked his new colleagues to embody and defend truth, excellence, and opportunity more than ever. On June 12, 2019, an elite filed a complaint to him how Spaulding, Harvard’s rehab, acted on assumption and harmed an elite when they could help her easily. After the elite proved her innocence, Spaulding not only refused to take their responsibilities, abandoned her in need, but also blocked her innovation to help patients recover from Traumatic Brain Injury beyond 2-year plateau. Because he has not been the President at Harvard University long enough, he has to be very careful how to act on Spaulding’s violation.
However, what if an organization cannot afford the 2 years to warm up? For example, Alan Mullaly joined Ford Motor in 2006 when Ford was on edge of bankruptcy. Jeffery Immelt became the CEO of GE 4 days before 911 attack hit GE badly. Regardless where they came from, neither had 2 years to warm up self and their institutions. Let’s explore what takes to develop the strategy and translate it into effective action in a timely manner.
After assessing hundreds of CEOs and non-CEOs from different sizes of institutions, we have found the following:
All the above elements require IQ, EQ, learning Q (LQ) as well as Adversity Q, Public Influence Q, Health Q. How the 6Q work together just like how human muscles work together in body movements. Industries, stages of business, the status of the team and others can add, modify, or delete the required elements. CEOs are the keys to business success and need to be ready for the worst, be stable and stay healthy; therefore, their issues are often too complex for traditional IQ and EQ tools alone to handle.
Behavior analytics can recognize many behavior patterns but not their root causes. However, most institutions, including top MBA, build leaders with behavior analytics and pattern recognition and have received poor results. A 2016 Deloitte survey found that only 13% of companies believe they are building effective global leaders.
The differences between how to become a CEO and how to be an exceptional CEO are significant– an average CEO can be extraordinary in some areas and certain process, not almost all areas and all processes, especially learning and the health of their Ego. Today, we can identify the “missing software” and strengthen leadership rapidly.
In general, symptoms are not equal to their root causes because all 6Qs can interact with one another. For example, IQ and EQ can lose their power due to poor AQ and HQ, which is why IQ, EQ, LQ and behavior tools cannot solve all issues. Being cool in the storm makes a leader unforgettable. Being able to manage team’s mental health often can win CEO more hearts, minds, and social credits.
In addition, each element above can involve a lot of underlying work. For example, “Focus on the Big Picture” involves not only decision-making quality, but also industrial insights, rules of games (business, society, and government), leaders’ health of Ego, innovation, resilience, and others. Whether a leader can focus on the big picture is behavior. Decision-making, knowledge, the health of Ego, innovation, resilience, and others are the underlying structure that will shape the behavior. However, most people only focus on the technical part (IQ) but miss the rest, and many institutions either categorize leaders based on their today’s behaviors or waste time on secondary behaviors.
For further analysis and more case studies, please read Can Behavior and EQ alone Build a Level 5 Leader and What Stop Leaders from Good to Great.
How to become a CEO is a part of corporate leadership development. A recent Deloitte survey found that only 13% of companies are building effective global leaders. One fundamental cause is that traditional IQ, EQ, and behavior tools alone cannot solve complex issues that also involve Adversity Q, Public Influence Q, and Health Q. To personalize development with the right tools is one key. Here are other keys to optimizing corporate leadership development.
How well do you do at each part? Take a quick assessment.
First, Today Is NOT Tomorrow. Not every leader has what they “should.” Instead of focusing on their behaviors today, we should explore the underlying structure and find the “missing software.” Without the supporting underlying structure, today’s behavior WILL NOT exist tomorrow. The tools are often beyond IQ, EQ and behavior alone.
Second, catch the development needs of a leader before “the 360 degree” and make wise investments because NOT all issues have quick solutions, for example, talent type and pathological Ego. Those who want to rob and then silence their competitors have the worst pathological Ego, which is what Amazon has tried to do to us. Jeff Bezos, my one-time hero, is digging a grave for his Day 1. However, I cannot help him although I have tried but close our account on Amazon (Amazon has reopened it.) In addition, there is no one tool for all issues; therefore, we work with the best in different industries, including McKinsey.
Furthermore, many “intractable issues” are due to a lack of the right tools. For example, target all issues involved in “Focus on the Big Picture” with IQ tools. By getting to the root causes with the right tools, we often can save at least 50% of the time and discover fast solutions to 30-40% “intractable issues.” Time is money. Efficiency is life. I wish everyone agree with me.
After years of researches, we have found that building exceptional leaders is the most efficient way to empower millions and strengthen society. How to be an exceptional CEO usually includes how to become a level 5 leader, but more challenging as a CEO needs to handle all-in-one responsibilities. Thus, the program “Be an Exceptional CEO” usually requires more time and effort than “Leadership, from Good to Great.”
In summary, to be a CEO, you want to know not only how to become a CEO but also how to be an exceptional CEO. The sooner you know the difference, the better CEO you can be, the more impact you can make on the world.
1. Identify your “missing software” before “the 360-degree evaluation.” The difference can be to do damage control or take early action and find efficient solutions to 30-40% “impossible.”
2. Install the “software” as smoothly as possible. The difference can be weeks vs months or months vs years.
3. Integrate learning with practices. The difference here can be knowledge vs action.
4. More tips on how to go from good to great, to exceptional.
The right approach means more when you are a “underdog” who need to win unfair competitions. It is easier to score higher, faster and better than to be frustrated about “justice” although you should never give up your right. General job exposure and self-discovery are helpful but often too general and time-consuming. Speed and results can determine the rise and fall of businesses and CEOs.
If the 6Q approach new to you, consider read more CEO case studies in the book What Stop Leaders from Good to Great. Like Reid Hoffman, the founder of Linkedin, said at one of his Master of Scale episodes, “You have to frequently ask yourself, ‘Which of the old lessons have to be thrown out? And which things do I have to unlearn or learn anew?’” Throw out your old tools at least before your competitors do. In addition, DO NOT give up your issue before consulting The Prince Synergy even if it is impossible to anyone else.
About the Author
Bin Yang is the Managing Director of The Prince Synergy (www.theprincesynergy.com), a leading consulting firm that focuses on building exceptional leaders to strengthen society and solves the hardest issues in leadership and performance that no one else can. She is also the author of Identify Your “Missing Software,” Go from Good to Great Efficiently. For more information or to schedule an interview, lecture or appointment, please contact us at 310-668-1828.