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The Toughest Job You’ll Ever Love

Oct 3, 2017 4:47:19 PM / by Steve Jacobs posted in Leadership

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Do you remember that line, from a 1978 public service announcement encouraging viewers to join the Peace Corps? (Hint – “It’s the toughest job you’ll ever love”)  Well, it seems like it might also readily apply to the CEO job. Our survey of executives found that being CEO was much tougher than our executives ever imagined, but also much more rewarding.

First, the tough part. The CEO job is demanding in every sense of the word, requiring physical, mental, and emotional stamina. “I had no idea how physically demanding the job would be,” one CEO told us. “For this job, I need to be energetic, focused, and disciplined.”

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Memo to New CEOs: Pick A Winning Senior Team

Oct 3, 2017 4:47:15 PM / by Steve Jacobs posted in Leadership

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As a new CEO, you can’t do it all alone. While you might have the authority to make the company’s strategic decisions, you will never have all the information you need to make them nor the time required to implement them. That’s why one of your first jobs should be to select your senior team—and to do it well. As one participant in our CEO study observed, “You can never have too good of a team. Upgrading the talent makes a magnitude of change in the organization. You probably never have a team as good as you think you have, and you can always improve your team.”

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What’s Next?

Oct 3, 2017 4:46:32 PM / by Steve Jacobs posted in Leadership

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The business leader seeking practical advice and wisdom has many options these days. Too many, in fact. Blogs, articles, and postings abound—a tidal wave of ideas coming at you each and every day, more than you could possibly read. Yet much of this material is what we might call “management knowledge light”; much of it is opinion and hearsay. Often it’s trendy. Sometimes it’s simply wrong. Where can you go when you’re looking for truly helpful advice grounded in decades of science as well as original research? Where do you go when you want substantive advice that really works?

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Want to Become CEO? Here’s How to Prepare

Oct 3, 2017 4:46:29 PM / by Steve Jacobs posted in Leadership

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What does it take to succeed in the top job? In our study of sitting CEOs, executives pointed to six kinds of developmental experiences that they believed had been integral to their success. While not a simple recipe for success, these experiences nonetheless serve as a valuable guide for anyone interested in preparing well for the c-suite and CEO position.

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Managing the Hand-Off: Advice for The First Hundred Days

Oct 3, 2017 4:46:26 PM / by Steve Jacobs posted in Leadership

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Taking the reins as CEO is tricky. Some participants in our CEO study told us of smooth and helpful transitions, others of strained transitions that couldn’t happen fast enough for one or the other party. Although no firm recommendations emerged as to how long a handoff should last or what incoming CEOs should say or do, executives we spoke with emphasized the importance of attending to a number of specific items during the first 100 days. Be sure to:

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From Peer to Boss—Mastering the Transition

Oct 3, 2017 4:46:23 PM / by Steve Jacobs posted in Leadership

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You’ve been working toward the top spot for years. Now that you are the CEO, you have to lead your former colleagues, even some who might not be all that thrilled at the prospect. What do you do?

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Building Your Kitchen Cabinet: Ten Critical Steps to Winning Over Your Board

Oct 3, 2017 4:46:20 PM / by Steve Jacobs posted in Leadership

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The Board of Directors is a primary stakeholder group for any CEO. When CEOs enjoy strong relationships with their Boards and individual Board members, they can generally make swifter progress. On the other hand, when relationships between CEOs and their Boards become strained, CEOs find all kinds of roadblocks cropping up.

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Living the Public Life: Are You ready?

Oct 3, 2017 4:46:17 PM / by Steve Jacobs posted in Leadership

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If you hope to become CEO, you can’t be a wallflower. A key part of any CEOs job is to represent their organization to diverse audiences, including analysts and investors, the media, members of the local community, government officials and even heads of state.

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Breaking Out of the CEO Bubble

Oct 3, 2017 4:18:25 PM / by Steve Jacobs posted in Behavior, Leadership

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Do you regularly seek out information from people across your organization? Do you maintain a cabinet of trusted advisors—confidents who are willing tell you not only the good but also the difficult truth when appropriate? Do you look closely at behaviors of your own that may prevent others from speaking openly with you?

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The Leadership Team You Inherit

Oct 3, 2017 4:18:14 PM / by Steve Jacobs posted in Behavior, Leadership

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Joining an organization from outside and inheriting an intact senior team, possibly containing members who had been passed over for the CEO job, brings obvious challenges. CEOs in our study who had lived through this situation reported that it was important to build their own credibility with the team while also assessing the strengths and weaknesses of their new colleagues. “One thing I knew I had to do quickly,” one CEO told us, “and I felt prepared to do, was to build trust and confidence in me. I had to do this with my management team, and I had to do it with the other stakeholders, including the Board and with our customers.”

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