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In Praise of Dullness (article about CEOs and gov)

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In Praise of Dullness (article about CEOs and gov) [#permalink] New post 19 May 2009, 11:19
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http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/19/opinion/19brooks.html?_r=1

Quote:
They relied on detailed personality assessments of 316 C.E.O.’s and measured their companies’ performances. They found that strong people skills correlate loosely or not at all with being a good C.E.O. Traits like being a good listener, a good team builder, an enthusiastic colleague, a great communicator do not seem to be very important when it comes to leading successful companies.

What mattered, it turned out, were execution and organizational skills. The traits that correlated most powerfully with success were attention to detail, persistence, efficiency, analytic thoroughness and the ability to work long hours.

In other words, warm, flexible, team-oriented and empathetic people are less likely to thrive as C.E.O.’s. Organized, dogged, anal-retentive and slightly boring people are more likely to thrive.
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Re: In Praise of Dullness (article about CEOs and gov) [#permalink] New post 20 May 2009, 02:46
isa wrote:
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/05/19/opinion/19brooks.html?_r=1

Quote:
They relied on detailed personality assessments of 316 C.E.O.’s and measured their companies’ performances. They found that strong people skills correlate loosely or not at all with being a good C.E.O. Traits like being a good listener, a good team builder, an enthusiastic colleague, a great communicator do not seem to be very important when it comes to leading successful companies.

What mattered, it turned out, were execution and organizational skills. The traits that correlated most powerfully with success were attention to detail, persistence, efficiency, analytic thoroughness and the ability to work long hours.

In other words, warm, flexible, team-oriented and empathetic people are less likely to thrive as C.E.O.’s. Organized, dogged, anal-retentive and slightly boring people are more likely to thrive.


So good news for Booth grads, bad news for Kellogg grads? :twisted:

I agree with the point about celebrity CEOs being less successful - after all, the more time spent giving interviews and doing magazine/TV shoots the less time there is for actually running your company - and that beyond all the warm and fuzzy people skills there needs to be a good amount of ability to actually execute. However, I found it interesting that while saying people skills are less important, some of the skills/traits that the article says *are* important: being humble, self-effacing, concientiousness, being dependable - they're some of the same traits that result in you having good people skills. The author brings up the book "Good to Great" as an example of research dispelling the myth of the "warm, flexible, team-oriented and empathetic" CEO...I don't think it coincidence though that the first lesson of that book focused on people, namely getting the right people on the bus. And how does the successful CEO identify those people to get on the bus? People skills.

I don't necessarily see "people skills" as meaning you're the slick salesman/politician type. Although many of those type of people on the surface are good at interacting with other people, at their core most people are distrustful of salesmen/politicians because they don't come off as authentic. Rather I think "people skills" is more about how well you can authentically build relationships with other people, relationships that both people see as valuable.
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Re: In Praise of Dullness (article about CEOs and gov) [#permalink] New post 12 Jan 2010, 16:48
I don't think Dullness helps for getting into a B-school though....
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Re: In Praise of Dullness (article about CEOs and gov) [#permalink] New post 12 Jan 2010, 19:41
I concur with the write-up yet, I tend to believe myself that there is no hard-and-fast clear-cut specific list of traits that a person should possess in order to be a successful CEO. Success is entirely a relative term, the more we try to define it in an absolutely individualistic sense, the more confusing it tends to get. A CEO's success is measured in how well a company is run, the bigger the company, the more dull and pattern based the CEO must appear, after all, that's how the market recognizes/makes/cherishes the stance. In fact, the person's age might as well bring in an alternate causative condition thus, making the market apparently perceive the CEO as dull. Of course, none of the established multinational, multi-billion dollar conglomerates/companies encourage a young CEO to occupy the throne. On the other hand, if the company were smaller and the CEO much younger, a more vibrant and energetic person could as well instill growth as opposed to a much dull person. All in all, the discussion entirely depends on the perspective of the reader/thinker. The truth is, success mainly depends on the ability to re-invent/re-model oneself and the ones associated. It certainly cannot be rejected as a possible scenario where in, a much vibrant, energetic and old CEO could pull off a string of successful stints quarter after quarter at a huge business.
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Re: In Praise of Dullness (article about CEOs and gov)   [#permalink] 12 Jan 2010, 19:41
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