Achievers don't just boost their personal success but also help their team develop. Successful CEOs envision and uphold a holistic growth plan for the business, employees and themselves, leading to personal and professional success for everyone touching the business. Their organisations are flexible, resilient and attract top talent.
Certainly being bottom-line focused and a great salesperson are important qualities, but there is a lot more to it than just that. Here are the top 10 qualities that every successful CEO demonstrates, concluded by members of The CEO Institute:
Clear vision is critical to business success, and it is essential that the entire team is on-board with the mission. The 'why' behind an action must also be defined, as well as ensuring that employees understand their personal 'why'. If employees lack commitment to the business direction, they will falter and drag performance down.
- Encourage diversity of thought
Smart CEOs build organisations in which a diversity of opinion and background produces alternative approaches to solving problems and building opportunities. When everyone views and thinks the same way, it may reduce conflict, but brings company inflexibility.
- Create good culture
Culture is more than just a laid back office or flexible work hours. Culture is the inherent values, energy and actions driving the CEO and every team member to do their best work. Good executives create and uphold a culture that differentiates the company.
- Prepared to sacrifice cash cows
Sharp CEOs realise that a successful product becomes obsolete even while it's still selling well. As a result, they're willing to kill off and replace their most profitable products. They strive to capture the next product generation.
- Communicate clearly
When staff feel left behind, out of the loop, or out of control, they get stressed. Stress leads to lack of productivity and job security worries. Good CEOs ensure a clear way of communicating changes, ideas and company news that everyone can access. Communication is a two-way process - the team has a way to communicate back.
- Build symbiotic relationships
Successful CEOs seek out situations in which customers and partners mutually benefit, as everyone's growth depends upon cooperation. Poor executives, even with customers and partners, think of business as a zero-sum game. Where there is a winner, there must be a loser.
- Manage by walking around - MBWA
Good CEOs walk the halls in an unstructured manner, going to workplaces, at random, to speak with line staff. It is highly unlikely to see emails from these CEOs filled with clichés like "employees are our greatest resource".
- Encourage social interaction
Smart CEOs encourage social activities with intergroup mingling. They want staff from sales, engineering, finance, etc. to get to know one another.
- Increase flexibility by dispersing power
Good executives push authority as far down the organisational chain as possible. Those closest to a situation have the power to make the best decisions.They remove the obsession about checks and balances so that nobody takes a risk without first getting approval from higher-ups.
- They encourage informality
Sharp CEOs create collegiate work environments in which staff feel relaxed, as if among friends and mentors. They transform factory-like environments in which everyone feels like a cog in the corporate machine. There's a certain 'fluidity' in the enterprise. Individuals and teams define their roles as necessary to accomplish the job.
Are there other common qualities that make a highly successful CEO?
The CEO Institute was founded in 1992. It is now Australia's leading membership organisation for CEOs and senior executives. It provides a forum for over 1,000 Chief Executive members to connect and share their learning with each other. In 2011, The CEO Institute became the world’s first global certification body for CEOs, and in 2013, partnered with UNESCO in support of the "Malala Fund for Girls' Right to Education". In 2014, they began offering their programs globally.
The CEO Syndicate is an exclusive peer support network for CEOs. The first meeting of The CEO Syndicate program was held in Melbourne in June 1992. Offices were opened in Adelaide in 1996 and Sydney and Brisbane in 1997, with Perth launching in 2007. In 2015, the New Zealand office opened.
The Future CEO program is a certification course designed by the business leaders of today for the business leaders of tomorrow. The first Future CEO meeting was held in Melbourne in May 2012. In 2014, the "Future CEO Scholarship Fund for Women" was established, and continues to be offered today.
Membership of The CEO Institute is by invitation only. To register your interest click enquire.