Successful chief executives tend to demonstrate four specific behaviors that prove critical to their performance. When boards focus on those behaviors in their selection and development processes, they significantly increase their chances of hiring the right CEO.
We have seen a fundamental disconnect between what boards think makes for an ideal CEO and what actually leads to high performance. That disconnect starts with an unrealistic yet pervasive stereotype, which is shaped in large part by the official bios of Fortune 500 leaders. It holds that a successful CEO is a charismatic six-foot-tall white man with a degree from a top university, who is a strategic visionary with a seemingly direct-to-the-top career path and the ability to make perfect decisions under pressure. Yet we’ve been struck by how few of the successful leaders we’ve encountered fit this profile.