Here’s what it takes to be a good CEO


(By JOSE RAMON PIN and GUIDO STEIN, From The New York Times Syndicate — 03.11.2009 09:06)

A lot of managers stretch for the position as the CEO, a position that they view as the peak of their carreer. But before they start climbing for the apex, leaders should ask themselves : Is it really worth it?

To answer this question, Spanish school of management, IESE’s International Research Center on Organization, in cooperation with the PR-agency Burston-Marsteller. The survey, included 1000 spanish managers, had a question searching for the pros and cons of becoming the “top dog”.

Based on the answers, you can identify two main reasons for becoming the CEO – not surprising:

The opportunity of putting your own ideas into action, and the challenge and responsibility that comes with the job.

When it comes to the negative sides, the respondents pointed out two disadvantages: Difficulties combining a private life and carreer, and the fact that executives sometimes have to make decision that are difficult from an interpersonal perspecitve, particularly when it comes to laying off people close to you. In the end, however, many say they think the pros outweigh the cons.

The achievement syndrome:

Potential CEO’s are characterized by what is often referred to as the “achievement syndrome”:

  • They accept reasonable challenges, i.e. challenges that are neither easy nor too difficult. Their goals have an acceptable chance of being achieved. They are not interrested in pursuing something that is too easy or totally out of reach.
  • They have their own view of reality, which sometimes creates discussion until they get their visions realized.
  • The work towards results – medium and long term, not just short term. Short term results are just a means for longer term ends.
  • They need indicators telling them whether or not they achieve planned results.
  • They want to change the environment in which they operate. This is more about chasing personal interrests: They aim to improve the working conditions of those around them.

The achievement syndrome, which in principle has positive effects, could easily end up becoming a power syndrome, particularly if you lose the broader motivation. When this happens, executives start pursuing their own interrests, and stop caring what is good for the organization.

Regards,

Austin

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