The biggest turnover in business is
happening in the executive suite. Here's how to recognize
your new leaders.
Can you pick a CEO out of a lineup of wannabes? Can you name five
qualities essential to getting "Chief Executive" engraved on your
We can't, either. And there's a reason for that. The chief exec of
2004 isn't the same breed - maybe not even the same species - as
the leaders anointed 15 years ago.
"Today's CEOs are very different," says John Christensen, coauthor
of the bestselling management tome FISH!. "It's a new day
for leaders," agrees Rick Junius, executive vice president at
career services company Lee Hecht Harrison.
Then there's David Nosal, head of the CEO practice for Korn Ferry
International. For 20 years, Nosal has filled CEO slots - he
doesn't name names, but his clients are megacorporations at home on
the Fortune 500 - and he agrees today's CEOs are a new class. Not
so long ago, top executives were almost always alpha males,
hard-chargers, corporate warriors. Now they're team-builders,
empathetic listeners, peacemakers.
What happened was an intersection of happenstance and societal
shifts. Top jobs fell open at GE, Ford, HP, Lucent, Home Depot, and
Time Warner - just to name a few. Meanwhile, the new century
brought a new zeitgeist, and executives were caught
"The world has changed dramatically in the past five years," Nosal
says, citing a host of shifts - globalization, offshoring,
downsizing, renewed stress on business ethics, and on down the list
of business revolutions. If yesterday's CEOs and CEO candidates had
been prepared, they might still be polishing their brass
nameplates. But the fact is, they read the handwriting on the wall
too late to keep their companies on the leading edge. Their boards
demanded new leaders who could cope.