Identifying Trait No. 6: EMPATHETIC. "Live the Golden
Rule," says Jim Goodnight, CEO of SAS, a software developer that
perennially places high in lists of the best places to work. Chief
executive since the privately held company incorporated in 1976,
Goodnight has emerged as a poster boy for a different kind of
leadership that suddenly is coming into vogue because it gets
results. "We worry about our people and our customers, not our
stock price," he says. Even in the worst days of the tech downturn,
"We had no layoffs," Goodnight says. "I do not lay people off."
Most impressively, in 2003 the company's revenues actually
increased by 13.5 percent. SAS's secret sauce: "What we do is
common sense. We treat people as we ourselves want to be
Identifying Trait No. 7: ABSOLUTELY HONEST. Bogus
degrees, trumped-up sales figures, even criminal convictions have
undermined many dozens of CEOs in recent years. Today there can't
even be a whiff of problems with a CEO candidate, because boards,
employees, government agencies, and Wall Street are united in
saying top executives must be blemish-free.
Nobody says dishonesty won't surface again. But recruiters like
Nosal are doing compulsively thorough background checks. "We are
going way beyond the normal references. We do criminal and credit
checks. We are looking to really get to know these CEO candidates
because 21st-century CEOs will be squeaky clean - that's one
ingredient everybody agrees on."
the revolution starts here
patrick byrne is no dedicated follower of fashion; he pursues his
own course. one proof is that he produced that rare bird, a
successful dot-com. his salt lake city-based overstock.com was
founded in 1999.