4 Things That Set Successful CEOs Apart

blog Feb 04, 2018


Know, Watch, Ponder

"Mistakes are the portals of discovery."

James Joyce 


Here's What Successful CEOs Actually Do

Peter Drucker said, "The CEO is the link between the Inside that is ‘the organization,’ and the Outside of society, economy, technology, markets, and customers. Inside there are only costs. Results are only found on the outside."

OK. Got it - especially the last part about "results are only found on the outside." Ergo, the customer, markets and sales must be a top priority. But what do truly successful CEOs actually "DO" day-to-day?

HBR's May-June 2017 article, What Sets Successful CEOs Apart, describes the findings of a ten-year study of 17,000 CEOs that answers this question. If you're not an HBR subscriber, you can click on the Summary icon just below the buy line to get the gist.

But wait! 17,000 CEOs? That's a heck-of-a-lot of CEOs! Were you interviewed? Yeah, me neither. Maybe next time. Hey, HBR, we're over here!


The four things that successful CEOs do:

  1. They’re decisive, realizing they can’t wait for perfect information and that a wrong decision is often better than no decision.
  2. They engage for impact, working to understand the priorities of stakeholders and then aligning them around a goal of value creation.
  3. They adapt proactively, keeping an eye on the long-term and treating mistakes as learning opportunities.
  4. They deliver results consistently, by steadily following through on commitments.


15 Things Highly Productive People Do Differently

I love this list! Have fun ticking off what you're already doing. Pick what's next and start doing it today!


Leadership Lessons from The Best CEO in America

Did you know that Peter Drucker believed that the best CEO in America was Frances Hesselbein, CEO of Girl Scouts of America 1976 - 1990? Me neither. Impressive!

The C-SuiteSkimm is a weekly brief for CEOs and business owners delivering essential news, trends, tips and the occasional "ya-can't-make-this-*[email protected]$#!"-up" story. Go here to get this fun, fast, high-value read delivered to your inbox every Sunday.

For CEO coaching and private guidance: email [email protected] or visit my site.