Are you sure you won’t be able to run a business? Elena Botelho, a researcher and author of “The CEO Next Door”, suggests that you think twice.
Botelho & Powell have carefully examined 2,600 leadership evaluations data and analyzed 17,000 of them. To analyze the common traits of these leaders, both Powell and Botelho have joined forces with Columbia University professors.
According to both writers, most people believe that a typical CEO is powerful and patrician. They are bold and charismatic and have a great resume. We conclude that we won’t be able to achieve the status of CEOs by ourselves, because we don’t have the right qualifications. They have found out that this is false. These four traits can help ordinary workers become the CEO they always wanted to be. These traits are much easier than you might think.
“Even the most accomplished CEOs didn’t realize they were destined for greatness early in their careers.”
Research has shown that leaders who can make decisions quickly and without questioning or procrastination are 12 times more likely than others to be successful as CEOs. Steve Gorman, a former Greyhound CEO, is an example.
Gorman was appointed CEO in 2003 when the company was struggling financially and its parent company had all the necessary resources to close it. Gorman spent the first four months listening and learning from various speeches about how to save his company. Gorman decided to try his luck and change bus routes in the most populous areas of the United States. The plan worked and the company was purchased for twice its value when Gorman was elected in 2003. The authors explain how Gorman’s actions – regardless whether or not it was the right decision or whether or not it could have been guaranteed to work – were better than any other decision.
A great salesperson is a key ingredient of a successful CEO. Leaders need to be able to inspire others and get them to follow their goals. This doesn’t mean being nice, it also means being capable of getting the job done and trustworthy. According to the authors, all these CEOs were able to clearly communicate their ideas so others can understand them and build relationships with those who can help them realize their vision.
According to researchers, Steve Jobs, Apple’s founder, is one of these people. Jobs, although not always regarded as the greatest leader, was capable of inspiring others with his ideas. Jobs was considered unconventional at the time.
According to researchers, being viewed as trustworthy increases your chances of getting hired. Leaders who are reliable can be relied upon to keep their word, plan and deliver and can be trusted to take on the company’s responsibilities.
When discussing reliability, the authors referred to Brett Godfrey. Richard Branson chose Godfrey to lead Virgin Australia in 2000. Godfrey was an employee at Virgin Group and Branson chose him because of his hard work ethic, detail-oriented personality, and dedication. Godfrey demonstrated to Branson as an employee that he was trustworthy, capable of handling the leadership role that was given to him.
According to the researchers, aspiring leaders must learn to navigate the unknown. When they speak of adaptability, they refer to Jeff Bezos who is the founder and CEO at Amazon. Bezos started Amazon back in 1994 as a bookstore. It began selling music and video later and offers almost any product you could imagine.
Also, the writers noted that Blockbuster, Kodak and Borders were not able to adapt, which caused them not to be as successful as they had hoped.
Leaders must adapt to the changing times in order to stay relevant. Leaders who don’t mind adapting to new business opportunities are the most successful.