from PwC CEO Study to How to Go from Good to Great Efficiently

from PwC CEO Study to How to Go from Good to Great Efficiently

Executive Summary:
Not every leader and elite has what he or she “should.” Not to mention to take early action.  This article explains how leaders and elites can not only identify what is missing, take early action, but also avoid costly mistakes and go from good to great efficiently (not all issues have fast solutions!). To help readers understand better, the article uses how to stay focused on the big picture as an example to demonstrate how to know self ahead and the benefit on each step of their journey.  


Recently, PwC released its 2016 Incoming Class of CEOs–17 years CEO succession analysis at the world’s largest 2,500 public companies.  It is sad to see such high CEO replacements, especially the increase in CEO dismissals for ethical lapses from 3.9% in 2007-2011 to 5.3% in 2012-2016—a 36% increase.

Do more CEOs lack of integrity?  Not likely.  Media spread is one issue.  Unable to take early action is another.   In fact, we can reduce the second cause by catching many development needs of CEOs before “the 360-degree evaluation.” When CEOs can take early action, go from good to great efficiently, businesses can also achieve more via management continuity.

Traditional approaches mainly address the development needs of a leader today, for example, IQ, EQ and behaviors.  However, each person is an integrated 6Q system.  Complexity and uncertainty often require the whole 6Q system to handle.  Without knowing the rest of the system, it is hard to get to the root causes, anticipate the development needs of a leader tomorrow, and take early action.  When unprepared elements become significant, it is almost inevitable to do damage control.

Know Yourself Ahead

Peter Drucker first wrote The Effective Executive.  Jim Collins presented the great idea of Good to Great and divided executives into Level 5 and Level 4 with leaders’ will and humility (focus on what is right for the enterprise instead of self).  Many executives desire to go from good to great and develop level five leadership.  By evaluating 6 Q, instead of IQ, EQ and behavior alone, CEOs know themselves deeply:

The first two items define if the CEOs are on the right track with the right tools, which is to be good.  The rest determine if they can be their best, build enduring greatness, develop level five leadership, which is to be great.  These are an executive’s base line.   There are usually some gaps to a goal.   Once the goal is clear, we can anticipate or evaluate:

  • The gap (development needs of a leader) and potential issues, solutions, alternatives, costs, etc.

How Can CEOs Go from Good to Great Efficiently by Knowing Self Ahead? 

Each step involves many underground works.  To focus on the big picture is the first step to go from good to great and develop level five leadership.  Let’s explore what can cause CEOs to “miss a big picture” and how they can grow efficiently.

1. Focus on the Big Picture

How well a person can focus on the big picture is determined by its structure, execution, sustainability and more.

– Have a Good Structure

By knowing their talent type, knowledge base and experiences, leaders can choose proper direction or action.   By strengthening the health of their Ego, leaders can develop many positive behaviors while eliminating negative ones.   However, many institutions waste their time on secondary behaviors.  “Missing the big picture” is only a behavior or a result, not the root causes.

Michael Jackson is the king of pop-music.  Can he vision computer industry?  Without the right talent, sufficient knowledge base and experiences, individuals cannot decide what need to be done.   Most people can understand the technical foundation but miss another piece.

A healthy Ego is critical for leaders not to hunger for applaud and make independent decisions that may take years to get results, for example, President Roosevelt in the World War II.  A person with a healthy Ego has no problems to admit his or her errors, learn from the mistakes and be.  Warren Buffet is a good example– he reveals his money AND opportunities losses to shareholders.  A healthy Ego is also necessary for many likeable behaviors, for example, being fair. Without a healthy Ego, executives may be able to tell an ass kisser from a praiser and know what is right for the enterprise but still choose the ass kisser to satisfy their Ego.  Humility is only one reflection of a healthy Ego.  

By knowing themselves, leaders can choose proper direction or action.   By strengthening the health of their Ego, leaders can develop many positive behaviors while eliminating negative ones.   However, many institutions waste their time on secondary behaviors.  “Missing the big picture” is only a behavior or a result, not the root causes.

– Sustainability
A right structure is not enough.  As time passes, CEOs can succeed and fail, which can inflate or deflate leaders’ Ego.  Some executives can over estimate self, disrespect others, and make unwise investments.  Some can become depressive, lose work efficiency, and leave job undone. Other events can challenge executives as well.  For example, Peter Drucker was so sad after he lost his mother that he did not return his clients’ call.  Later it took him 3 years to get those clients back.

In the meantime, disruptions and changes can come from all directions at an exponential rate, and new development needs of a leader can exceed his or her current capacity or disable him or her.   Then issues that can impact their learning or adjustment step in, for example, talent type, personal interest, knowledge base, knowledge association, resources, etc.  Setbacks and failures can shut down leaders’ mind and body and challenge leaders even worse.

Sustainability is essential for a CEO to go from good to great and develop level five leadership. Resilience is also needed for daily negotiation, innovation, etc.  By knowing themselves ahead, CEOs can take custom training and save time and effort.  To be cool in the storm also makes great bosses unforgettable. However, many Fortune 500 CEOs only think of us when they are in hot water.

– Strategy, Innovation & More
Can the institutional focus, industrial insights, and resilience guarantee success?  Not always. Japanese are well-known for the three.   Still, many of them fail since they do not compete with strategy but imitate one another and cut down their own profit.  How Japanese competition has a lot to do with their culture that encourages obedience and loyalty not autonomy and innovation.

On the other hand, the same culture system also builds a broad knowledge foundation that Western Culture fails to do.  By knowing an executive deeply, we can evaluate the negative impact of their culture, identify the missing segments of their innovation and strategy, and maximize their success.

2. The Other Steps

To focus on the big picture is only the first step to go from good to great or develop level five leadership.   To convert their vision into effective action, CEOs also need to ensure team responsible and accountable.  In the past 3 years, we have studied what fails leadership development and stops leaders from good to great and developing level five leadership among fortune 1000 companies and other large institutions.   Many CEOs and executives have development needs:

Most of the above require more than IQ and EQ to handle.  Unfortunately, most leadership development programs mainly offer IQ and EQ tools, and some programs focus on secondary behaviors.

Speed and Results Matter

Not every leader has what they “should.”   However, that is not the end of their world because they can not only build what is missing, but also take early action and avoid costly mistakes to go from Good to Great.   All elements within a human system are closely connected.   By getting to the root causes with the right tools, we often take less than 50% of the time others may require.

Can He Handle the Job” is a good example.   An executive at leadership consulting firm was promoted to a regional manager and almost resigned 2 months later because of business and family crises.  I did the Executive 6Q Assessment on him and found many development needs of a leader that were impossible to fulfill in a short time.  I chose to improve his emotional expression to eliminate his family crisis, so he could focus on his new job.   He did, through a 30-minute learning.

Catch Development Needs before 360 Degree vs the 360 Degree Evaluation 

The 360-Degree Evaluation is a great tool to closes the gaps between individual self-awareness and objective reality.  The observation starts AFTER someone gets on the spot.  However, what is on the surface is not equal to the root causes and the issues beneath, not to mention those that will emerge in new environments.    

The Executive 6Q Assessment is designed to catch the development needs of a leader at different stages, like MRI, recommend action accordingly, and make learning easy and fast.  We evaluate every talent element even they are “insignificant” today. By knowing self well ahead, CEOs can be ready for the future, be highly effective in turbulence, and hopefully, develop level five leadership.   When CEOs can go from good to great, businesses can also achieve more through management continuity.  Furthermore, because the 6Q data is good for two years in the absent of significant events, we can help executives thousands of miles away.

Will there be gaps between anticipation and reality? Yes, no one can anticipate everything in the world no matter how hard they try.  Thus, the two assessments can be a great synergy.


In this fast-changing world, CEOs face increasing complexity, uncertainty and storm.   Not every leader has what they “should.”  However, today is not their tomorrow as they can develop what is needed, which is why today’ direction and power cannot define a good leader and a great one.

On the other hand, no one is designed for every challenge, not all issues have fast solution, and speed and results can determine their rise and fall.  Thus, it is critical to know CEOs ahead of time, all 6Q instead of IQ, EQ and behavior alone, and take early action in each step, from focusing on the big picture, being highly effective, beating Setbacks and Failures, to making team accountable. When CEOs can go from good to great,  businesses will also get to the next level.

The same management principle applies to other talent, whether to be your best, search tools of motivation, excite and keep the bestminimize human capital costmanage crisesdeal with stress and stay healthy, etc.  With the right mind, you can go from Good to Great.   With the other right tools, you can go from Good to GREATER.  For more information, please read What Stop Leaders from Good to Great.  

About the Author 
Bin Yang is the author of What Stop Leaders from Good to Great, Take Your Leadership to Level Five, and the Managing Director of The Prince Synergy (, a leading consulting firm that solves the hardest issues in leadership development and performance management that no one else can.

If you’d like to learn how to increase your 6Q, including IQ and EQ, consider reading the life stories in the book. 2-hr webinars are also available. The Prince Synergy customizes most of its classes and programs through the Executive 6Q Assessment that identify the additional tools individuals need to go from good to great efficiently. For more information or to schedule an interview, lecture, or appointment, please contact 310-668-1828.