What I Look For In a CEO

I’ve consulted with hundreds of CEOs and executives. And I’ve learned to be selective on the front end to maximize the opportunity for success on the back end. So what do I look for in a CEO? The 3 C’s.


If there’s no will there’s no way. If you’re a CEO, I’m looking for evidence of commitment not just in words but in action. Have you made personal sacrifices in order to win? Have you changed your behavior in some significant way? Have you taken decisive action that was unpopular or uncomfortable?


As a CEO, you need to possess at least sufficient capabilities in all areas critical to your job. That generally means some combination of traits and skills ranging from the analytical and technical to the creative to the interpersonal and intrapersonal.

Controlled Ego

The acid test. Are you in control of your ego or is your ego in control of you? If you’re unable to acknowledge your limitations, unwilling to accept responsibility for outcomes, or reluctant to share credit for successes then, ultimately, you can’t win.

That’s what I look for in a CEO. And that’s what you should look for in any executive.

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