No matter how successful a business gets, learning remains indispensable to leadership. History tells us that those who kept their ‘fire to learn’ alive have ruled. Data made available by Harvard Business Review states that almost 60% of the companies that were industry leaders in the 1950s were still at the same spot in 1990, but more than 70% of industry leaders of 1990s no longer existed by 2005.
The times have changed. What worked before may not give the same results now. Leaders today are required to think different. Their companies demand business navigation through unpredictable times. The era of serene business waters has become history. Now they are required to sail their crew safely through 40-foot waves and guide them from port to port. The need is to remain highly effective in an environment of extraordinary, ongoing, relentless change.
Fortunately, a good CEO’s job comes with no objective, quantifiable markers. The next big leaders can come from Mumbai’s Dharavi or the laid-back city of San Diego. What defines them is not where they come from, but whether they have these key traits:
Arguably, for a company, nothing is more important than for its CEO to know where the market is today and how it is going to respond tomorrow. Steve Jobs recognized the aptitude of mobile computing before many others, just as Bill Gates understood the potential of PCs and their vision helped shape their respective companies. Consequently, having just-the-right-vision to comprehend the trends of the future trend has become a key trait for a successful CEO.
While a CEO is expected to remain totally aware of the everyday activities of the organization and how the various factions stick together to take the company forward, the best CEOs do not let the seductive lure of micro management become a habit. Instead, they retain a highly efficient management team capable of handling these tasks.
Human beings remain the center of whatever we do. From manufacturing needles to creating rockets and everything in between, every single action is performed with people at the core. And, in the process of doing that, it’s genuine caring and compassion towards humanity that keeps a CEO humble and focused.
Successful CEOs look beyond technology to help customers genuinely. Their services and products are defined to address the needs of customers instead of just earning revenue. Great CEOs never let their customers’ words and suggestions go waste. Through regular meetings, they have an endless supply of new ideas to share with stakeholders and help create improved products and a deeper understanding of customer requirements that can act as an ingredient for a successful business relationship.
Building an inspiring culture
The world’s best CEOs understand the power of inspired colleagues and rate it much higher than employee engagement because it directly leads to inspired organizations. Inspiration is a part of the strategic DNA and a major differentiator in the success of many great figures. Building a work culture that inspires is how best-performing CEOs create a difference in the world.