Gini Dietrich

Two Qualities Every CEO Needs

By: Gini Dietrich | April 7, 2011 | 
109

It’s Facebook question of the week time! I always want to write “Clap! Clap! Clap!” when I say that. Kind of like I always want to say, “Hello. I’m Johnny Cash.” when I get in front of a microphone. But I never do because I’m afraid no one will get it and then I’ll have flopped before I even began.

Wow. That was quite a tangent. Note to self: Stop reading Nitty Griddy.

It is Facebook question of the week time and this week’s question comes from Ces Guerra. Ces is not only a good friend of mine, but also the author of Pill Pushers, which is on its way to the big screen. I’m including his question now, and putting it in writing, so that when he makes it big, he’s constantly reminded that I liked him way before he was a big deal. Well that, and, he says something incredibly kind about me in his question (which is very uncharacteristic).

He asks:

So, I’ve been around quite a few CEOs during the last week. I’ve observed Gini in her role as CEO of Arment Dietrich the past couple of years and appreciate her leadership, creativity and pursuit of excellence. And, because I respect Gini’s opinion so much, I was wondering what her thoughts are on the two most critical roles for a CEO or what two words she would use to describe the model CEO the best and why?

I give you my two qualities in the video below (if you can’t see it in your reader, click here and it’ll magically appear). But, because I’ve only worked for one CEO in my entire career, I’d love to hear your answers to Ces’s question. What are some of the good qualities of the CEOs you’ve worked for and what are some qualities you wish they had? And yes, my team can answer too because I’m curious to know what they’d like me to work on!

Oh, before you go, don’t forget to head over to the Arment Dietrich Facebook wall to ask a question you’d like highlighted here.

About Gini Dietrich


Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro.

  • I agree, Gini. What I’d add – and this is fresh in my mind right now because of @GautamGhosh ‘s awesome “Dear CEO” letter over on my blog today – is empathy. It’s easy to get lonely at the top, as GG says, and have to bear a lot of weight. Being able to empathize with employees, those on the outside, etc., helps to put things in perspective, I think. And perspective is critical to success, IMHO.

  • ginidietrich

    @Shonali @GautamGhosh Great one! It’s hard not to get sucked into your own day, your own mire. It’s REALLY important to be able to set the tone of the day for everyone…and then complain privately once you get home if your day was bad. Not that, uh, I’ve ever had to do that.

  • “Hello. I’m Johnny Cash.” – ginidietrich

  • ginidietrich

    @justinthesouth LOL!

  • ginidietrich

    @justinthesouth I KNOW you have qualities to add to this!

  • Ok, before I even watch that clip, I’ve got to come down here and say HA, HA, HA, HA!!!!!! I love Johnny Cash and I would so get that. Here’s why: I lived in Mexico for about 5 months and taught children conversational English. Each morning, there was this outdoor assembly where a microphone was always front and center. And each morning, they wanted me to say or sing – yes sing something to the entire school. Each time, I wanted to pull a Wayne Newton and sing Danka Shang or finish with Thank you very much (Elvis style). So yes, I would totally get that! I totally cracked myself up each time – much like I’m doing now. 🙂

    Now, off to watch the video and return with my thoughts on that one!

  • Nice to see you separate the two types of CEO’s (entrepreneur/owner versus brought in).

    My belief? The CEO that’s brought in shouldn’t stay more than three years, tops. They’re brought in to do a job and guide a company in a certain direction. Once that’s done, they should move on before they get stale.

    A brought in CEO has no “investment” in your company, so make them like a really sharp consultant – come in, improve, job done.

    To constantly move forward, you have to keep abreast of different needs and practices, and one CEO that’s incumbent (if they’re not the owner/founder) won’t bring that.

  • Great Post Gini and you are correct it is a tough question.

    As my experience as a CEO is a little different in that I was part of the building of the company before I came to work for LawyerLocate.ca Inc as it’s CEO. I think the founder and President Natalie Waddell would say my strength as the CEO of LawyerLocate.ca Inc is my vision of how to market our services and my almost “Preachy” belief in what we do. So in my humble opinion the qualities of Vision, Radical Belief and a Good Sense of humour will make for a Great CEO.

    Something I strive to be!

  • ginidietrich

    @EricaAllison LOL! So my lesson is this: When I’m speaking to an audience with you, @justinthesouth and abbief , I will totally do it!

  • ginidietrich

    @DannyBrown I really like this thinking! Kind of like (most) politicians – you have a term limit. I have to think about that from an entrepreneur’s perspective, though. If I brought in a professional CEO or COO, would I really want to retrain every three years? Sounds exhausting. But I do agree with the idea that new blood and fresh ideas likely matter more.

  • ginidietrich

    @MarkCRobins Good sense of humor is SO important! I would never want to work for a CEO that was dull and boring.

  • @ginidietrich @EricaAllison abbief Deal! Lets make that happen real soon. Abbie is headed this way later this summer so, Gini why don’t you come to NC. You can cycle in the mountains and make this happen.

  • Lisa Gerber

    First, I would pay twice the amount of admission to have you come out deadpan and say , “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.”

    Second, The quality I would add: a desire to mentor your rising stars. Assuming the CEO has great vision and is someone whom employees admire, this creates a very inspiring and motivating workplace.

  • Lisa Gerber

    @justinthesouth @ginidietrich @EricaAllison abbief oh count me in too.

  • @Lisa Gerber @ginidietrich @EricaAllison abbief It is sounding more and more like a fun time!

  • I agree with @Lisa Gerber . Her comment hits me square in the head. Talent development is an underutilized art form that often takes a back seat to other competing priorities in most companies.

    I would like to add one additional quality to the mix. The CEO must be a great communicator. Communicating the vision consistently to the organization is so important.

    I’m not thinking about the “great communicators” as most people think of them, the ones that are great public speakers, for example. Instead, I’m thinking of CEO’s that know exactly the tone and frequency of their communications. It dovetails with @Shonali ‘s great comment about empathy – knowing just what the organization needs, and in what form or communication channel is a lost and dying art. The CEO’s that excel at this are, in my mind, the ones that excel overall.

    I’m reminded of a quote from a great mentor of mine that “communication is what the listener does”. It is indeed.

  • NancyD68

    A good CEO can inspire you to want to be better, but a GREAT CEO makes you better by teaching you or making you think differently. Being challenged to look at things in a different way makes everyone better.

    Sadly, most bosses and many CEO’s want to rule by fear. This is a real shame, and is not how you keep your good employees. There is no worse feeling than working for someone who is a raving lunatic. I have worked for a few of them, and no more.

    Sense of humor is also a must. If you can’t laugh, especially at yourself, you are screwed.

  • I was taught that using humor immediately is risky when you speak publicly, but I guess it really depends on the audience. 🙂

    I think the most important role of a CEO is to inspire others to action. They should do this internally and externally for the companies they lead.

  • Vision….Yeah, I’m feeling that. I’d add a little to it by saying great CEOs see and instill the vision in good times AND the bad. I’ve seen some pretty visionary dudes and dudettes fold up when the going got tough. At the same rate, I’ve seen others become more valient then ever when the stuff hit the fan. Just my thoughts….

    Btw Gini, that first paragraph was quite the ‘Griddy’ prose…and gave me a good snicker 😉

    Well done gal,

    Marcus

  • jackielamp

    “Looks like you’re going to a funeral”….”Maybe I am” (I heart the Johnny Cash reference)

    As a young person, I don’t really know the first thing about being a CEO. However, at one point in time my dad was a CEO and I remember employees at the company literally crying when he finally made the decision to leave. And I thought to myself: How did he do it? How did he manage to successfully lead a company (from a business standpoint), build relationships with employees while maintaining boundaries, and earn the respect of 300 people?

    Then I realized what “quality” it was: He truly cared and truly believed in the company through and through–from the employees to the products/services the company offered. He made time for the warehouse workers (even joining them counting inventory at month-end if need be), took the service truck drivers out for a beer, but then would schmooze the top sales reps too. Everyone mattered to him.

    I know I’m EXTREMELY biased in this case seeing as I’m talking about my dad. But I’ve seen this type of caring and dedication from the CEO that I currently work under as well. He’s an entrepreneur, so I suppose believing in the vision comes with the territory.

    But the bottom line is: if it’s “just another job” to the CEO of a company, well, it’s going to be “just another job” to all your employees as well. Can’t imagine that company being overly successful…

  • ginidietrich

    @Lisa Gerber Well you may see it because the urge is OVERWHELMING. But only when a stand-up mic is in front of me. I don’t have the same urge with a pin-on mic. Maybe they’ll have a stand-up mic at PRSA when I speak in a couple of weeks. If they do, you can bet I’ll do it!

    Too bad we don’t have any rising stars. HAHAHAHAHA!! Totally agree with that. I hope I do a great job of that with @MolliMegasko

  • ginidietrich

    @Sean McGinnis “Communication is what the listener does.” I LOVE that! If that’s true, I’m a GREAT communicator. I’d much rather listen than talk.

    But I really, really, really wish it’d been me to hit you square in the head, though my inclination is usually to kick you in the shins.

  • ginidietrich

    @NancyD68 “If you can’t laugh, especially at yourself, you are screwed.” I think this is one of the most important points made. It is so true! I’m very self-deprecating and we have a culture where we tease one another. I also think it’s great fun when my team makes fun of me publicly. It’s really important to allow people the freedom to engage their leaders in a very human way.

  • ginidietrich

    @hackmanj Why do you think I’ve never done it?!! But, if you’re going to do it, you can’t really use that line in the middle or at the end. It HAS to be at the beginning.

  • ginidietrich

    @Marcus_Sheridan Interesting you say that about leaders who fold when the times get rough. I guess that’s when you really know if they’re cut out to lead, huh?

    I wrote that first paragraph and my first thought was, “Griddy is rubbing off on me!”

  • @ginidietrich I guess it depends on whether you want your business to be stale after three years, or keep in front of the game. And how much that’s worth (financially and time-wise). 😉

  • ginidietrich

    @jackielamp When Mr. D and I were dating, I started to notice something he does: He looks everyone in the eye when he speaks to them. From the busboy to the owner of a restaurant. He treats every human being the same. It’s a quality I didn’t have at the time, but definitely have learned from him. In fact, now he makes fun of me that I take the time to respond to everyone.

    It sounds like that’s the quality your dad has…and it doesn’t come across as biased at all because you’re right. When you treat people like humans (and not numbers or head count), you win.

  • ginidietrich

    @justinthesouth @Lisa Gerber @EricaAllison abbief Or, Justin, you can come to Vegas where we’ll all be.

  • @ginidietrich @DannyBrown Amen to term limits, as you aptly put it Gini. There is so much staleness in Washington I can smell the stinch from here in the backwoods of Va….The same applies to CEOs, which is why I thought your comment was spot-on Danny.

  • Mywritingworld

    Qualities of a CEO’s are easily determined with their position. The term CEO stands for, an executive with the chief decision making authority in an organization or business. Generally a CEO that is liked by majority of the people in his/her administration if the CEO cares for the majority of people in decision making.

    But because of the responsibility of being a CEO, it is very hard to be like by many people in the organization. As a CEO makes decisions based on the percentage of the profits and not people’s opinion.

    So I will say as a career goal the best quality of a CEO is to take his/her organization to the top economically and socially

    But I have not been SEO, except the CEO of my home based business for last fifteen years or so,

    so I am not aware of it so perfectly, just a general know how.

    Gini it is my first time here. You have a good conversational post here.

    Thanks for a nice post

    Fran A

  • @Marcus_Sheridan @ginidietrich A certain Santa tells me you have a very Southern twang, mate – look forward to hearing it.

    By the way, BlogWorld submissions until April 10 – get your ass on it. 😉

  • ginidietrich

    @DannyBrown @Marcus_Sheridan I think he did submit, did you not, Marcus??

  • KenMueller

    If you ever come and speak some place for me, you better start off with the Johnny Cash line. I’m a huge fan and any friends of mine would get it. big time.

    CEO qualities – and I say this more from the perspective of having worked for some horrible leaders. Not necessarily the top two, and they fit in with yours a bit would be things like:

    a) a team player – they always want to hire team players, but often that means they want “yes”-men and women, rather than those who truly are out for the good of the company. A CEO needs to be about the overall company/brand, and not just themselves.

    b)in line with that, let your people do what you hired them to do. – I spent 13 years in a job where I was hired as the expert in a certain field. Not just a local expert, but a global expert. People came to us with press requests, and EVERY request went thru our version of the CEO. He had first right of refusal, even though he was decidedly NOT an expert in ANY of the fields we worked in. If he wanted to do the interview with the NY Times, I had to prep him and create talking points. Very dangerous as he would not be able to answer any follow up questions. If you hire someone to do something, let them do it. Micro-managing is soooo 20th century.

    c) desire to learn – if you’re NOT an expert in what your company does, at least try to learn from those who ARE experts. kinda like that show where the boss works among the rank and file. Goes along with the Dear CEO letter over at @Shonali ‘s blog today. be accessible, don’t have that unapproachable aura that so many of them seem to communicate and cultivate.

  • @ginidietrich @jackielamp The best communicators make you feel like you’re the complete object of their affection and attention for those few minutes (something I desperately need to work on). Word on the street is Bill Clinton was (and is) an absolute master of this.

  • Hi Gini… I think another thing a great CEO has is the uncanny ability to know when employees could use a little reward, or when they need a kick in the butt… and they always seem to know the right way of doing each.

    My two cents… it’s hard to go wrong by rewarding your employees with a good lunch. My stomach will follow that leader. 🙂

    –Tony Gnau

  • ginidietrich

    @Sean McGinnis @jackielamp He is the master at it. But, I have a picture with him and the first thing my mom said was, “Look how tight he’s holding you!” Oy.

  • @ginidietrich “Communication is what the listener does” is actually a riff on a Drucker concept, but I agree with it completely. What most people consider to be “great communicators” often-times actually are not – but they appear to be. If we measured what the lister heard and understand and compared that to what the communicator INTENDED them to hear, there might often be gaps.

    By turning the act of communication on its head, the emphasis is placed where it belongs. It ensure we are checking for clarity and understanding. Too often we look to “talkers” and label them as great communicators, when it’s not necessarily true. The gift of gab does not (necessarily) equal a great communicator.

  • ginidietrich

    @Sean McGinnis I think the saying goes that when you ask people about themselves and listen to what they have to say, they think you’re the most brilliant person they’ve ever met.

  • Narciso17

    As You May Know, Gini, One of the Biggest things I *Love* (Aside From Writing in Small Caps) is Tieing In a Point By Using Music…! So, Using the Johnny Cash Reference Got My Ears Perked Up…!…Very Well Done 🙂

    An Important Trait that Every CEO (or Leader) Should Have is the Ability to Not Take Themselves So Seriously. There Are Soo Many Variables and Factors That Play Into an Organization’s Bottom Line – Having a BIG EGO Only Gets in The Way.

    It Keeps Leaders From (Among Other Things)

    + Being Nimble

    + Thinking Outside of Their ‘Great Ideas’

    + Asking for Help

    PLUS, It Helps You to Laugh at Yourself. A Good Example of This is Craig Ferguson. He Uses Foul-Mouthed Puppets, Talks Openly About His Drug-Infested Past, Lip-Syncs to Duran Duran, Wear Funny Wigs and Dances Like a Cheeky Monkey. His Tao is Admirable (http://methodandmoxie.wordpress.com/2009/07/14/the-tao-of-craig-ferguson/)…and Certainly One That Shows That Success Can Come From Not Taking Yourself So Seriously.

    My Two Cents,

    Narciso Tovar

    Big Noise Communications

    @narciso17

  • @ginidietrich Thank must be why I like you so much…..I can think of no other reason. 😉

  • AbbieF

    Ha! I always want to sing “Feelings” when I step up to a mic.

    I agree with your two points and would add empathy and good-listener – I think the entrepreneurial CEO may have an easier time with these as he/she has likely needed their boss to empathize with the team and listen to those in the company in order to succeed. My hope is that those are among the traits that the CEO appreciated on the way up and will be the type of CEO that offers that to his/her organization when in the lead position.

  • KarenBice

    HI Gini, good post and video. I’ve worked for and interacted with a few CEO’s. IMO, the CEOs who are successful are those who are able to see beyond their title and position. The qualities that I most appreciate in a CEO, or any leader, are courtesy, communication skills and humor. I’ve worked for leaders who have all three qualities, and I’ve worked for leaders without all three. You can guess which group I prefer to work for…

  • Lisa Gerber

    @AbbieF ok, i would pay triple admission for THAT!!! please oh please do that at CAPRSA!!!!!

  • jackielamp

    @ginidietrich @Sean McGinnis Word on the street is that Bill goes a little too far in making people the “object of his affection”

    (sorry couldn’t resist)

  • ginidietrich

    @Sean McGinnis I think it was because I let you laugh until you cried at my expense!

  • NancyD68

    @jackielamp @ginidietrich @Sean McGinnis As long as we keep him away from the cigars, we should all be safe. (couldn’t resist that)

  • Taking your point of leading people toward a vision a step further, I think CEOs should not only lead towards a vision but believe in the vision themselves; they should have integrity. <–One reason why I love coming here!

    I’d say self-awareness is also really important. Too often people people take themselves or their roles too seriously. I’ve had bosses take jokes too far (even in front of clients) that I couldn’t even make fun of myself. Laugh and learn though, I don’t get into those situations anymore (at least with those people).

  • bdorman264

    I had to chuckle about the Johnny Cash reference because in the right company I will do that line. It stems from me getting talked into a karaoke fund raiser and the only song I was comfortable with was Johnny Cash’s ‘I Walk the Line’. I chose that because I didn’t really have to carry a tune. In my effort to maintain a certain level of ‘coolness’ whatever points I have built up would rapidly be taken away if you heard me sing. Talk, anywhere…anytime; sing, only in my car and shower. Only you get to see my dorkiness, I am cool……..just ask me………….:)

    Good CEO’s – passionate, purposeful visionaries. They assemble the right team, provide direction and then get the heck out of the way. They create the atmosphere they want by hiring the right people in the first place; not only are you on the bus, but in the right seat as well.

    I want my CEO to be a big picture guy; I don’t want him down in the weeds micro-managing every little detail. If you hire the right people you shouldn’t have to do this.

    Good CEO – slow to hire (the right person); quick to fire.

  • TroyClaus

    Great video Gini.

    I agree that having a purposeful vision is very important, however, I also think one of the keys to being a great leader is being resourceful.

    In many instances we are faced with challenges that can be very difficult to make, being resourceful enough to find the answers to the root cause of these problems is incredibly important.

    We also need to remember that when looking to solve these problems, it’s never a case of a lack of resources, it’s a lack of resourcefulness, so dig deeper 🙂

    Cheers Gini,

    Troy

  • @ginidietrich @Lisa Gerber @AbbieF Since we’re sharing what we’d like to do when we step up to the mic (remember that song, btw?)… I’ve always wanted to do a PR presentation that really ROCKS. Like with sound, music, lights, etc. It’s the actress in me that won’t die. Anyone up for that?

  • @ginidietrich That is very cool about Mr. D.

  • Lisa Gerber

    @Shonali @ginidietrich @AbbieF I am so up for (watching) that, but you have to dance too!!!

  • @Lisa Gerber Not only will we dance (note “we”) but it will be choreographed. @ginidietrich @AbbieF

  • ginidietrich

    @TroyClaus Resourceful – great one! And you being here reminds me of another one: Knowing how to make money!

  • ginidietrich

    @bdorman264 I like these additions…you’re good serious! It’s very difficult to know if you’re hiring the right people (I’ve made LOTS of mistakes in that realm), but I think you’re right…if you follow the hire slowly, fire fast rule, you are more likely to make the right choice.

  • ginidietrich

    @lgdrew I love you for saying we have integrity! Self-awareness is a great one. Knowing where you’re strong and where you’re weak so you can hire the skills you don’t have.

  • ginidietrich

    @KarenBice You prefer the ones without communication skills, humor, and are not courteous?! 🙂 I also see the leaders who see beyond their title are able to roll up their sleeves and help when the going gets tough.

  • ginidietrich

    @Shonali @Lisa Gerber @AbbieF I think this settles it. Shonali has to come to Counselors Academy, Abbie will find a spot on the agenda, and Lisa will get us an audience!

  • ginidietrich

    @Narciso17 I’m Not Sure I Tied In A Point By Using Music, But Thanks For The Vote Of Confidence. This. Is. Really. Hard. To. Do.

    Sense of humor is a big one! Isn’t it funny that so many people think that’s important but many leaders still let their egos get in the way? I guess maybe it’s impossible not to let it when you get to a certain perceived level of success.

  • ginidietrich

    @T60Productions LOL! Good to know your stomach leads you. I’m pretty sure I’ll be able to use that information someday.

  • ginidietrich

    @KenMueller I can only do it if I’m in front of a mic or I’d totally do it in front of your class in a couple of weeks!

    This is one of your best comments, Ken! I think all three of your points tie into team. It KILLS me that you lasted 13 years in that environment. I might have lasted 13 months. More likely 13 days.

  • ginidietrich

    @Mywritingworld Fran, thanks for stopping by! I love it when someone new isn’t afraid to jump into this crazy fray. I wonder if there is a difference between an entrepreneurial and a professional CEO in what you describe? Most entrepreneurs I know tend to care so much about their people that they make financial decisions sometimes too late. But a professional CEO is brought in to do just what you say – watch margins and profit – so it’s easier for them to forget about the human beings. While entrepreneurs can learn some skills from professionals, they certainly can learn some people skills from business owners.

  • ginidietrich

    @Shonali He’s pretty cool…and funny as you witnessed this morning.

  • @ginidietrich @Shonali @Lisa Gerber @AbbieF you’ll are having too much fun with this…. Elvis has left the building!

  • ginidietrich

    @justinthesouth @Shonali @lisa @AbbieF HAHAHAHA! Brackett came back. He NEVER comes back!

  • KenMueller

    @ginidietrich It wasn’t easy, but things did get better in some ways. I’ll have to tell you about it some time. And yes, you WILL do it for my class.

  • ginidietrich

    @KenMueller I can’t wait to hear! And fine. Twist my arm.

  • CesLSU

    Well I’m not going to let this post go without a comment! Thank you Gini for your insights! As I mentioned, I had been in contact with many CEO’s in a short period of time and I got a broad view of many successful CEO’s, and some that may be successful, but not necessarily the way I would want to do it! As you described, successful despite themselves!

    I’ve admired your openness and accessibility as well as your drive and pursuit of excellence. So, I wanted you to narrow it down to the two most important things and you did that! In my view, CEO’s need to be thick skinned to make tough decisions. Thick skinned to take the criticism along with the conflict that ordinarily comes with being at the top. In addition to being thick skinned I think CEO’s need to be charismatic. Charisma is what will attract and drive his or her employees or leadership team to accomplish the vision. So that is kind of a twofer Charisma and visionary in one!

    I enjoyed reading everyone’s comments because leadership is one of my favorite topics! And, thanks for picking my question this week …. What do I win?

  • ginidietrich

    @CesLSU You win the fame you got from being on Spin Sucks today. Duh. I wonder…does having a thick skin equate also to not taking things personally?

  • Hahahaha! What’s funny is that before getting to your mention of me – all I cold think of when you said “Hello I’m Johnny Cash” is how you had told me once that I should do the “Hello my lovelies” with my actual voice! 🙂

    Okay – now I have to go back up and finish reading the rest of the article cause of course I couldn’t wait to come down here and tell you that first haha.

    Oh, note to self: If Gini ever stops reading nittyGriddy – send flaming bag of poo to her house LMAO!!! Sorry for stealing your idea but it was worth it ;).

  • JudyHelfand

    Gini,

    I will add that a CEO (entrepreneur/owner versus or brought in) must be by nature generous. Generous with their ideas, their vision, their time, compassion, knowledge and with the profits. I have worked directly for one and very closely with another and what made them great was their generosity. In today’s world corporations tend to think only of the bottom line for their stockholders…and they can sometimes convince themselves that giving a few shares of stock to the employees will be a good-enough reward. The best CEO in my corporate career was an entrepreneur of what became a multi-billion dollar company. He never forgot the employees: holiday bonus, yearly bonus based on net profit, holiday party, gatherings throughout the year. He always tried to do the right thing.

    Thanks for the conversation.

    Judy

  • ginidietrich

    @JudyHelfand Hi Judy! Thanks for stopping by! Generosity is not one that has been mentioned here; what a great addition. I’m going to bookmark this so I never forget that, as Spin Sucks Pro grows, the little incentives throughout the year make a big difference.

  • ginidietrich

    @Griddy COPY CAT!!!

  • Hi Gini, I think a must for effective CEO’s is to accept full responsibility at all times for the performance of the company.

    Great leaders accept great responsibility and own it.

  • ginidietrich

    @Mark_Harai Are there CEOs who DON’T do that?! Shameful.

  • JudyHelfand

    @ginidietrich Gini, After I hit the post comment button it occurred to me that one of the best examples of a generous CEO was Aaron Feuerstein. Here is an old article about him

    http://www.opi-inc.com/malden.htm and here is a video about him http://youtu.be/9YcWLXBXaD8

    I lived in New England when Mr. Feuerstein made the right decision. We can all learn from him.

    Nice meeting you.

    Judy

  • Before I come back with my thoughts on this – one question: Where the heck is Alfred? I don’t see him in the background. Did JB get to him? Seriously – I want ALFRED back!!!! 😉

  • ginidietrich

    @JudyHelfand I love that the three traits, according to the article, are Conviction, Communication and Courage. Thanks for sharing!

  • ginidietrich

    @Griddy I set him on my desk while I recorded. I didn’t realized you’d be so upset. He’s fine and well!

  • @Griddy Alfred has gone to live with Darth Vader. Said @ginidietrich was too mean… 😉

  • ginidietrich

    @DannyBrown @Griddy Nuh uh! Alfred LOVES me!

  • @Mark_Harai I agree with you. Though I’ve worked for many who never had that attitude. The only thing they took responsibility was the work that had been done, that went well, most of the time it went well because they had not had anything to do with it! Here is to a group of CEO’s on NEVER lead that way!

  • @ginidietrich @Shonali @lisa @AbbieF Yes I did. This is a record for me!

  • ginidietrich

    WARNING: Longish comment – I mean article – ahead! 🙂

    Okay – here are my 9.5 cents on what qualities I think a CEO should have.

    Leadership Skills and team building capablities – A CEO should be able to manage not only the company employees but the board and shareholders as well. He should know how to maintain his relation with each of these groups as well their relations with each other. Also – for one to be able to build teams he or she must have been a team member themselves at some point. I believe in climbing the corporate ladder to getting to where you are. I have seen way too many CEO’s become CEO’s for other reasons than experience, know-how, character and so forth…

    Honest and eithical – This should go without saying and needs no further explanation. Great public speakers and story-tellers – Let’s face it – if you’re a CEO then you have your fair share of speeches to give during your reign. Simply put – you need to rock at this! You should have a sense of humor and be able to deliver a motivating speech (when necessary) or any speech for that matter without a monotonous voice. This part should go hand in had with having charisma and self-confidence. Charismatic power is one of the strongest powers any leader can have.

    Financially savvy – I’m not saying that a CEO should have an MBA or that they should come from a financial background. But the basics are necessary in order to understant and relate to your CFO. A strategic vision – another trait a CEO should possess – usually includes numbers or percentages of some sorts.They should know how to leverage assets – both hard and soft.

    Resourceful – I believe Troy touched upon this already so I won’t go into details. But I will say that CEO’s should be good problem solvers and in order to be that, you need to be able to find solutions however they can for when problems arise – both internally and expternally.

    Good judgement skills and foresight – You need to have a good idea of your company’s future – maybe even be able to predict it in some ways. I’m not saying that you need to be a fortune- teller but you need to have great insight. A person with good jusdgement skills is usually bold to act but they need to be prudent when it comes to raking risks as well. Their decisions don’t only affect them but the entire work force of the company as well.

    Connections – If you’re a CEO – you need to know people. The “right” people. You should have the “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” mentality when necessary. I know how it sounds – but in the real world, that’s how it works. If you’re the CEO of a multinational organization, then you better have international connections and friends as well as the global market experience that comes with that position.

    Strong and performance or results-driven personality – If your vision for tomorrow is in place then you should have what it takes to get there all while remaining honest and humble. Steve Jobs is a name that comes to mind when I think of this trait.

    A CEO should possess self-control and they should know when to admit their mistakes when they make them. Also, as Shonali. said in her letter to a CEO on her blog, they must take their employees into consideration and should make an effort to communicate with them. After all, they are as important if not more so than your consumers. They are your main audience and if you want them to stick by you, you need to stick by them. You need to support them and reward them for their efforts. Positive reinforcement goes a long way.

    Finally (at least for this comment lol) a good CEO should ask for and be willing to listen to feedback – they should also be personable – much like Gini is and did here with this post. CEO’s are no different than normal people and should listen to the feedback of their empoyees if they want to grow both personally and profesionally. Employee perspectives should be heard and taken into consideration. Not only that but they should demonstrate generosity and empathy and place an importance on family. They should care about people and not simply about the money. They should also show that in their everyday actions and operations.

    Okay, obviously I could go on here but I think these qualities are enough for now. I may not be a CEO but to me – these and more are the traits that a successful leader should possess. CEO’s are human and should act like any other human.

    There you go – those are my thoughts as LONG as they may be. Heck, I really should have posted this as an article somewhere haha.

  • ginidietrich

    Apparently @livefyre won’t let @Griddy post this SUPER LONG comment (which I’m way too tired to read right now) so she asked me to post on her behalf. I think she should have just put it on her blog and linked to mine! 🙂

    WARNING: Longish comment – I mean article – ahead! 🙂

    Okay – here are my 9.5 cents on what qualities I think a CEO should have.

    Leadership Skills and team building capablities – A CEO should be able to manage not only the company employees but the board and shareholders as well. He should know how to maintain his relation with each of these groups as well their relations with each other. Also – for one to be able to build teams he or she must have been a team member themselves at some point. I believe in climbing the corporate ladder to getting to where you are. I have seen way too many CEO’s become CEO’s for other reasons than experience, know-how, character and so forth…

    Honest and eithical – This should go without saying and needs no further explanation. Great public speakers and story-tellers – Let’s face it – if you’re a CEO then you have your fair share of speeches to give during your reign. Simply put – you need to rock at this! You should have a sense of humor and be able to deliver a motivating speech (when necessary) or any speech for that matter without a monotonous voice. This part should go hand in had with having charisma and self-confidence. Charismatic power is one of the strongest powers any leader can have.

    Financially savvy – I’m not saying that a CEO should have an MBA or that they should come from a financial background. But the basics are necessary in order to understant and relate to your CFO. A strategic vision – another trait a CEO should possess – usually includes numbers or percentages of some sorts.They should know how to leverage assets – both hard and soft.

    Resourceful – I believe Troy touched upon this already so I won’t go into details. But I will say that CEO’s should be good problem solvers and in order to be that, you need to be able to find solutions however they can for when problems arise – both internally and expternally.

    Good judgement skills and foresight – You need to have a good idea of your company’s future – maybe even be able to predict it in some ways. I’m not saying that you need to be a fortune- teller but you need to have great insight. A person with good jusdgement skills is usually bold to act but they need to be prudent when it comes to raking risks as well. Their decisions don’t only affect them but the entire work force of the company as well.

    Connections – If you’re a CEO – you need to know people. The “right” people. You should have the “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” mentality when necessary. I know how it sounds – but in the real world, that’s how it works. If you’re the CEO of a multinational organization, then you better have international connections and friends as well as the global market experience that comes with that position.

    Strong and performance or results-driven personality – If your vision for tomorrow is in place then you should have what it takes to get there all while remaining honest and humble. Steve Jobs is a name that comes to mind when I think of this trait.

    A CEO should possess self-control and they should know when to admit their mistakes when they make them. Also, as Shonali. said in her letter to a CEO on her blog, they must take their employees into consideration and should make an effort to communicate with them. After all, they are as important if not more so than your consumers. They are your main audience and if you want them to stick by you, you need to stick by them. You need to support them and reward them for their efforts. Positive reinforcement goes a long way.

    Finally (at least for this comment lol) a good CEO should ask for and be willing to listen to feedback – they should also be personable – much like Gini is and did here with this post. CEO’s are no different than normal people and should listen to the feedback of their empoyees if they want to grow both personally and profesionally. Employee perspectives should be heard and taken into consideration. Not only that but they should demonstrate generosity and empathy and place an importance on family. They should care about people and not simply about the money. They should also show that in their everyday actions and operations.

    Okay, obviously I could go on here but I think these qualities are enough for now. I may not be a CEO but to me – these and more are the traits that a successful leader should possess. CEO’s are human and should act like any other human.

    There you go – those are my thoughts as LONG as they may be. Heck, I really should have posted this as an article somewhere haha.

  • Hi Gini,

    I’ve handled internal communications for some large companies and, as such, have worked very closely with several CEOs. The ones who were best, in my opinion, were the ones who truly realized that employees are people–and not inventory.

    The ones whom I respected most realized that internal communications was an opportunity to build trust with the staff and bring everyone into the fold. Those were the ones who employees connected with and wanted to work hard for. Forget the corporate speak. Just remember the staff is human. Mothers, fathers, sons, daughters. You know, people. People with fears, hopes, ambitions, and all that other stuff.

    The ones who saw employees as only people who were there to do their job, never understood the power of communication, honesty, dignity, and leadership. They had the very vocal opinions that employees are just “hired help”, without realizing that it’s a motivated staff or a demoralized one that can make or break a company.

  • @DannyBrown @ginidietrich Tsssss Tsssss. That’s me laughing silently ;).

  • @ginidietrich I bet you didn’t realize I’d notice eh?! haha

    Is Alfred not one of the qualities a CEO should possess? 😉

  • @bdorman264 Bill, really well said! I always strive for the slow to hire; quick to fire method. The reverse is a disaster.

    I also support that getting out of the way part, once you’ve assembled the right team. The CEO should not only uphold the Vision, but be the caretaker of the company culture – very important.

  • @ginidietrich @justinthesouth @Lisa Gerber abbief Hate to break it to you, Gini, but I don’t think I can swing Vegas this year. 2 client collisions, I mean commitments, that weekend. Next year, for sure. So, as a consolation prize, I think a cycling trip with you and Lisa (and Abbie – if she does not cycle, I’m sure I can find something for her to do) in the Western NC mountains is in order! I was once a cyclist and can bring it out of hiding for a visit! We can hijack Abbie’s trip/meet up with Justin! 🙂

  • Ok, back for serious comments:

    I’ve only worked with a mere handful of CEOs in my time, and I have yet to reach that status in my own world. However, much like others have said here, it’s important to have compassion and appreciation for the people that make the company role along. The values I’ve admired most are the ability to inspire and the gift of encouragement to grow – not just within the company or your role, but personally as well.

    Looking at my parents, much like the very funny @jackielamp down below, I witness an incredible ability to create loyalty, inspire action and the desire to go the extra mile, and when the times are tough…do whatever they need to do, no matter the position, to make sure the company stays afloat.

  • bdorman264

    @EricaAllison Thanks Erica, I mean how can a leader be a visionary if he keeps getting down in the weeds, right? Set the vision and let your team implement it.

  • M_Koehler

    A great leader instills confidence. A great leader is someone who is a positive reinforcer. A great leader provides fair and honest criticism when there is a failure as well as genuine appreciation when there is a success. They need to be patient, open, HONEST, humble, compassionate, and thoughtful. Too many of us have to follow out of fear of loss of a job. Certainly that is a motivational factor, but not a positive one or a very good one. I am much more willing to go to bat for and go that extra mile for someone who is going to appreciate the extra commitment and isn’t there just to reap the benefits of others hard work and not share in the success. A CEO or any leader who is only interested in being the one in charge and driving the $300K car and fully taking advantage of those corporate perks is not someone people want to look up to. (yes my CEO has several vehicles like that but that’s a different kind of post). I want a CEO that respects their employees and knows they got there through their own hard work as well as the work of many others.

  • M_Koehler

    And I totally forgot to mention, yes you need to do the “Hello I’m Johnny Cash” bit. If I ever muster up enough courage to do an open mic night, that will be my intro before I launch into song.

  • @ginidietrich There are plenty of douchebad CEO’s out there Gini, as @justinthesouth points out below as well.

    It is shameful.

  • teo

    @EricaAllison I like the comparison to parents. As a dad I want to do my best to not be full of it, and I’d the same from any CEO I work for. Just leave the BS at the big sales meeting, and be able to revert out of sales person mode.

  • Leon

    G’Day Gini,

    My take on this may be a little more prosaic than some others. i believe that above all else, CEOs need to be able to do things:

    1. Be an outstandingly good listener, particularly with people who have some difficulty translating their ideas into words. I go so far as to claim that face to face communications is the core management skill.

    2. Keep all employees totally focussed on the core business and the specific target market of the business.

    We can all wax as lyrical as we like about vision, leadership, people management and similar matters. They are important. But if you aren’t sure precisely “what business you’re in” and who you’re trying to sell to exact;y, the rest of it falls into a cocked hat. And if you don’t listen effectively……….!

    That’s my ten cents’ worth

    Make sure you have fun

    Best wishes,

    Leon

  • ginidietrich

    @teo @EricaAllison Or be rid of the BS altogether!

  • ginidietrich

    @EricaAllison I have zero doubt that, if and when you begin to hire staff, you will be one of the most compassionate and appreciative leaders one would have the opportunity to work for.

  • ginidietrich

    @M_Koehler I wonder, MK, if you would feel differently about the $300K car (who pays that much for a car?!) and the corporate “perks” if the leader communicated well and rolled up his/her sleeves to help in the good and bad times?

  • ginidietrich

    @Leon Leon, I could not agree more about listening! I love it when we have a new business meeting and the prospect spends the entire time talking and answering our questions and then leaves feeling like we’re the smartest person he/she has ever met. And all we did is ask questions and listen.

  • @ginidietrich Awww, Gini. Thanks!

  • M_Koehler

    @ginidietrich Apparently we do, many times over. He has several that are that much as well as some of the other execs. I think a lot of the perks would bug me still. In my case, the salary is obscene as well and one would think that if we paid you THAT much, you could afford some of those perks on your own. I don’t think the amount of work justifies the salary in this case. No amount of work would justify it. One year would be enough to retire, by a Greek island, and never have a worry again then have enough left to do the same for several friends.

  • Pingback: Are business leaders accountable for their actions? « Gen Wise Perspective()

  • AbbieF

    I have a “feeling” there will be plenty of opportunities for singing during CAPRSA. Can’t wait.

  • AbbieF

    @ginidietrich @Shonali @Lisa Gerber Late Night w/Shonali starting Gini, Lisa and Abbie — live at Loews Lake Las Vegas. One weekend and one weekend only, this is a not-to-miss once-in-a-lifetie opportunity.

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