I established the Leadership Litmus Test to identify the key attributes that great business leaders must have to be successful. For the past ten weeks, I have given out awards to CEOs that best exemplify each of these important qualities. A summary of these awards is the following:
Honesty: Stephen Elop, former CEO of Nokia
Confidence: Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon
Decisiveness: Indra Nooyi, CEO of PepsiCo
Accountability: Howard Schultz, Founder and CEO of Starbucks
Communication: Sir Richard Branson, Founder and CEO of the Virgin Group
Inspiration: Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos
Focus: Carlos Brito, CEO of AB Inbev
Creativity: Kevin Plank, Founder and CEO of Under Armour
Talent Management: Carlos Ghosn, CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance
Sense of Humor: Tim Cook, CEO of Apple
Looking through this incredible list of business leaders, I asked myself the question “Who’s the best?” After thinking about this for a while, I have concluded that this question cannot be answered. Let’s suppose that Jeff Bezos and Howard Schultz traded places. Although both are highly capable, I do not think either would be nearly as successful as they are in their current positions. Why? The answer is that both Bezos and Schultz have built organizations around themselves complementing their skill sets. Imagine Bezos applying his aggressive, cost cutting style at Starbucks. Reflecting back on how Schultz turned Starbucks around, his style was the exact opposite. Similarly, Schultz and his premium brand mentality would get lost in Amazon’s vast web economies of scale and efficiencies.
In order to truly understand leadership, one has to first understand who they are as a person and then find or build an organization that best complements this profile. This process, however, is not an easy one and one that is never finished. As people go through life’s journey, skills sets can change and it is important to revaluate both yourself and your opportunities along the way. The Corvinus Executive MBA Program provides a great opportunity for business leaders to explore new areas of interests and gain perspective on their current positions. Every one of the CEOs on the list above have taken a step back from their busy lives to reflect on who they are and where they want to go. As the famous quote says “Life is a journey not a destination.”
For more information about the Corvinus Global Business blogger, go to https://www.linkedin.com/in/kevinmjackson1.