The Magnificent Seven
Douglas Ivester was tapped for the CEO role at Coca Cola in 1997. He had a glamorous career leading up to that fateful day. Fortune Magazine had dubbed him as the "Prototype boss for the 21st century." In just two short years Ivester resigned under pressure.
Ivester had served, and excelled, in many capacities including CFO and COO of subsidiary companies. How could someone so successful fall so short so quickly in this new role?
While there is no single answer to that question there is no doubt that the company made a serious mistake in choosing Ivester. Also, there is no doubt that Ivester was deficient in something other than experience - the once believed "bell weather indicator" for success on the job. The message is clear: it is not just about experience. We do not know Mr. Ivester's emotional competencies but believe that part of the answer must lie there.
Emotional Competence, a progeny of Emotional Intelligence and an indicator of likely success on the job, may have been the answer.
Based upon the studies of successful CEOs we believe that the top executive position requires unique competencies beyond those that we typically look to i.e. experience, education, and special knowledge. Our research indicates that the following set of Emotional Intelligence attributes must converted to competencies before one can excel in this all important role:
The list of possible competencies is long and there is no doubt that several, not listed here, could enhance one's success in a CEO position, but these are the core competencies essential to superior performance. To avoid the costly mistake of Coca Cola, organizations would be well served to look beyond education, experience, and special knowledge or skills when vetting their next CEO candidates.
Stephen Blakesley is CEO of Global Management Systems, Inc., and author of "Strategic Hiring - Tomorrow's Benefits Today."Contact Stephen by mail: 14550 Torrey Chase, Ste. 255, Houston, TX, 77014; telephone 281-444-5050; and visit www.globalmanagementsystems.com for additional information.
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