CEO excellence, McKinsey’s new book, which describes the six mindsets of exceptional leaders, is written for anyone who wants to inspire others and drive change within an organization. It’s a book of stories shared by 67 extraordinary leaders about the key moments and insights from their own experiences of leading large companies and organizations around the world.
It tells of times of public glory and personal failure, moments of enlightenment, one-off events and the grueling daily work of leading complex organizations. Most importantly, it shares the mindsets and behaviors that top leaders have personally developed to succeed.
These insights, an excerpt of which are provided below, go beyond the C-suite and can shape the way we face everyday situations where we are asked to lead—at work, at home, and in our communities.
Put on‘Don’t surround yourself with “yes” people.
One of a CEO’s first jobs is to carefully shape their top teams — and they differ in their goals. After validation of expertise and proven experience, some leaders seek emotional intelligence, while others value passion or the ability to balance the short and long term. What do most CEOs agree on? Don’t surround yourself with people who are afraid of disagreeing with you.
Sony’s Kazuo Hirai describes his approach to selecting a management team. “Basically, what I was looking for was expertise and proven skills in [an area]… the TV business, digital imaging, the film business, PlayStation …” Along with talent, he was looking for attitude: “… a proven ability to stand up to your bosses and not be afraid to present your ideas and be brave . ”
For many people, teamwork means getting along, but for JPMorgan Chase’s Jamie Dimon, “…the best team player is the one who puts their hand up and says: ‘I put on‘I don’t agree because I wear it‘I do not think so [this] is in the best interest of the customer or the company.‘”
Time management? It’s about the moment.
Being a CEO means being subject to a crushing schedule; everyone has their own approach to time management: color-coding calendar entries; list of quarterly priorities; securing portions of time off for last-minute emergencies; intensive delegation to teams. In fact, CEO time management is one of the most read topics in business journalism today.
But even the most calibrated time management techniques won’t work without the right mindset: the ability to schedule and focus on the moment. It is critical to high performance and one of the most challenging aspects of the job from an emotional point of view. As Flemming Ornskov of Galderma advises: “When you are there, [be]…in body and mind.”
US Bancorp’s Richard Davis says: “[It’s] significant. When you bring every load to every meeting…the day [will] start piling up on you… you just have to take everything as it is and isolate it, manage it; Isolate it, manage it… folks [will] Start realizing that you are disciplined and focused.”
Look beyond the horizon in a storm.
Managing crises is part of the CEO role; It can be company-specific, like a product failure, or an external disaster, like the pandemic. While CEO excellence Outlining protocols such as stress testing, scenario planning and establishing a command center, it emphasizes that it is imperative for a CEO – or anyone else – facing a crisis to maintain a long-term perspective.
“No matter how difficult times are, there is always a world after a crisis. Even if the situation looks bleak, believe in yourself and your employees and keep a positive attitude,” advises Herbert Hainer, Adidas CEO from 2000-2016. “Don’t let uncontrollable circumstances affect you or the company too much.” The company’s current CEO, Kasper Rorsted, points out: “…a crisis [can] actually the best time to make radical changes… You can be dogmatic and say: ‘We won’t do that anymore, whether it’s cutting unnecessary travel, using digital channels, or anything else. It’s time to be two or three years ahead of where you would have been otherwise.”
A longer-term view can also help a leader avoid tempting short-term solutions that can ultimately be harmful. When Eaton’s Sandy Cutler was hit by a recession, she didn’t want to resort to layoffs, noting, “When we grow again, we’re going to need the skills of all these people.”
Be the energy you want to see.
The mood of the CEO can permeate the entire organization. “My leadership mantra, which I think about literally every day, is that a leader’s role is to define reality and provide hope,” says American Express’ Ken Chenault. But it has to be real and pragmatic, otherwise the employees will see through it.
Esquel’s Marjorie Yang emphasizes the importance of showing up with a positive attitude. “My job is to banish fear,” she says. “Fear is any company’s worst enemy… As a leader, it’s my job to maintain… and exude trust.”
Electronic Arts’ Andrew Wilson believes that people today are looking to CEOs for more than professional advice: They are looking for personal, spiritual, and philosophical support. Showing humanity is important to inspire people.
He offers an example. During a pandemic Zoom call with seven thousand employees, he broke the call to build a paper airplane for his five-year-old son, who had just entered the room. “It went on for thirty seconds… after that people put out their hands and said: ‘Many Thanks. You just gave us permission to be parents… to spend the time‘he said. “When you talk to great CEOs, I don’t hear how big the company is, what the stock price is, how much money they make…” he notes.[It’s] how they make their people feel. That‘is the legacy of a great CEO.” And a leader of every kind.
learn more about it CEO excellence and order your copy, please visit the book‘s website.