How Would You Describe a Great CEO?

December 27, 2009

Q: “As many of us are aware, you have been an acting CEO for several
major organizations and have been the behind the scenes advise to many
of us, me included. As a CEO and recipient of your assistance, I’d like to
know how you define or what qualities you think a CEO should possess to be a true leader.” (Myron S., CEO – Pre-Engineered Buildings)

A: Wow! That’s one of the most complimentary questions I have been asked all year. Thank you.

In my humble opinion, a consummate CEO must possess “at least” the following traits;

1. Intuitive people skills
2. Very strong execution skills
3. Intrinsic support of the executive team
4. Capability to adjust to rapid changing environments
5. Has without hesitation the willingness to delegate and trust
6. Develop key components in the method business is conducted
7. Cleverness to bring the team together as one because THEY want it
8. Doesn’t look at his/her workforce membership as headcount but rather abilities
9. Recognizes workforce implications on the front side rather than on the back side
10. Proficiency in the development of internal talent while searching for new skill sets
11. Is not only a great communicator but encourages the entire team to hone their communication skills and use them without question every day
12. And did I mention INTUITIVE PEOPLE SKILLS?

When I meet with a new company or client there are many questions that I ask. As an example of a few questions and their answers that are usually defining indicators of why business is or is not the way it could or should be in any given organization.

How would you answer these for your company?

A. How is the U.S. Mail handled when it arrives at the office?
a. Does one person open all the mail no matter who it is addressed to?
B. Do you maintain a telephone log in the event an employee needs to make a long distance call not relative to company business?
C. What is the average tenure of an employee at this company?
D. And what I believe is absolutely one of the most important ones….. “At this company, which statement is most accurate about our culture?
a. “You must earn my trust.”
b. “You must earn my distrust.”

Think about point “D” above and try to envision my interpretation of either answer. I typically ask that one question to every employee I have the opportunity to meet with face to face.

These four questions usually speak volumes to me when it comes to an evaluation and performance, as a hand’s on working CEO. It’s all about the people, trust, determination, fairness, growth and not falling into complacency traps of business as usual. I hope I have answered your question. We are all leaders in our own right and the call to grow is ours. Be a great leader and/or be a great follower. But remember, all great leaders know when to be a great follower.

In one week from today we will look at 2009 in our rear view mirror. Making 2010 a year filled with positive results, great success stories and happiness lies squarely on each of our shoulders. The proverbial ball is truly in your court. Are you going to let the ball bounce to a slow deadly stop or are you going to return the ball with enthusiasm, gusto and determination?

I always welcome any comments and remember if we can assist you or your organization in any way in 2010, please call or write and we will respond immediately. Have a Safe and Happy New Year!


George F. Mancuso, CPC
Gman Business Resources
Grinnell, Iowa