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September 20, 2022

What It Takes To Get The Top Job Now

Wherever you are in your career, you might have wondered what it’s like to be CEO. The power to make decisions and lead enterprise-wide teams of hundreds or even thousands of employees. The opportunity to disrupt industries and drive strategy that can launch new product categories or upend the tech status quo. And of course, […]

Wherever you are in your career, you might have wondered what it’s like to be CEO. The power to make decisions and lead enterprise-wide teams of hundreds or even thousands of employees. The opportunity to disrupt industries and drive strategy that can launch new product categories or upend the tech status quo. And of course, the luxury of an army of assistants, cushy office digs and the potential for millions in compensation.But what boards are looking for in that top job is changing. Setting the vision and strategy of a company and putting the right people in the right roles—while being sensitive to stakeholder needs and making shareholders a top priority—has become mere table stakes. Between the pandemic and polarization, climate change and cancel culture, the role has evolved in ways that few would have imagined a few years ago. As Stephen Miles, an executive coach and founder of the Miles Group, told my colleague Diane Brady for our recent story, the CEO has gone from being the leader who runs the company to the person who must also promote its purpose, impact and credentials as an employer of choice.

Miles spoke with us as part of an expansive package Diane and I produced featuring up-and-coming leaders who executive recruiters, leadership consultants and CEO coaches believe may be close to getting the top job. Our 2022 CEO Next list of 50 leaders points to an array of executive career trends, from the demand that remains for operational, “P&L” experience running a business to the growth of digital transformation as a critical skill set.

But boards are also looking for emotional intelligence, agility, resilience and “intestinal fortitude,” as Korn Ferry vice chair Jane Stevenson called it. “The expectation of CEOs to take a stand—and to know when to take the stand and when to be quiet—is huge,” Stevenson told me. “It's always been about who the person is. Now it’s who the person is, squared.”

As part of the report, we also dove into exclusive data from the Conference Board, which found that after two years of boards holding steady on CEO turnover, chief executives may finally be joining the Great Resignation. As companies begin making their way out of the pandemic, turnover is picking up again, if not yet for poor performance.

As always, thanks to assistant editor Emmy Lucas for her help compiling this week’s newsletter.

As part of the report, we also dove into exclusive data from the Conference Board, which found that after two years of boards holding steady on CEO turnover, chief executives may finally be joining the Great Resignation. As companies begin making their way out of the pandemic, turnover is picking up again, if not yet for poor performance.

As always, thanks to assistant editor Emmy Lucas for her help compiling this week’s newsletter.

Article written by:  Orville Lynch, Jr.
Mr. Lynch, a member of the legendary two-time Ohio Civil Rights Hall of Fame Award winning Lynch Family. Mr. Lynch is a nationally recognized urban media executive with over 20+ years of diversity recruitment and serial entrepreneur with numerous multi-million dollar exits.

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