Monday, November 16th, 2015

HOW TO SPOT A FUTURE CEO

I’ve been involved with finding and growing talent for more than 25 years.
I’m seen quite a few of people I’ve helped hire and develop grow into the CEO position.  By quite a few, I mean twelve or so.
(Not everyone gets to be CEO)

Here’s what I saw in them when they were still very much only on their way.
No scientific research.  Just–for what it’s worth.

All “my” CEO’s had this in common:

— They all assumed they could do the job as well or better than anyone else.
It was a kind of “Why not me?” attitude. Not arrogant, but excited by the idea of leading from the top role.  

–They had a presence that stood out in a room of people from the time they were interviewed and along the path to the CEO role.  Some were charismatic.
Some were quite quiet. But what they said or didn’t say weighed more than others.

–They connected with all levels in the company from their first day on the job.
There was an ability to adjust the nuances of interaction so that they could connect with everyone.  They were not putting on an act–just adjusting their communication to be effective

–How to describe this?  There was a brightness that was part being smart and quick and part just high vitality. To me, CEO talent, shone in some way.  I could 
see it and smell it, but maybe not describe it to you. But I would have bet on it.

–There was a restlessness in future CEO’s to get things going, create movement, make ‘it’ happen. It was a kind of nervous energy waiting to be fully used. (With some future CEO’s, this impatience caused them trouble and they had to learn to modulate) 

–I’d say the CEO’s that I helped develop were stubborn. In a good way.  They would fight for an idea, take action without permission, and be sure they were right (even if they were not).  Maybe they were tenacious, not stubborn.  

–They were likable. Fun to go to dinner with, good company. Maybe there are effective CEO’s that are not likable and use a lot of fear and distance as their power base.  Not my experience. 

–They seized the moment, grabbed the opportunity, took  the microphone and dominated center stage in meetings or whatever moment presented itself. They were opportunistic without being self-centered or selfish. They liked the limelight in order to get done what they wanted to get done.

Just a few thoughts for you to use when looking at the new talent in your company.  These are not the formal assessment traits, but they helped me choose the right person!

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