In the May-June 2017 Harvard Business Review (HBR), authors Botelho, Powell, Kincaid and Wang wrote an article titled “What Sets Successful CEOs Apart”. What fascinated me about their research and article was that, despite a difference in approach and a slight difference in language, there was a high level of overlap between their findings, our research at Voice Project, and a long history of research in psychology.
Botelho et al describe research involving over 2,000 CEOs, all of whom were assessed using a detailed, structured interview about their career, educational background, history of performance appraisals, patterns of behaviour and decisions, and business results. The core focus of the HBR article was to describe the behaviours that differentiated successful from less successful CEOs.
The researchers highlight 4 capabilities that clearly set successful CEOs apart. The authors described these as:
Enjoy - The 5th Capability
Although the language is slightly different, these 4 characteristics align with 4 of the 5 behaviours I outlined in my earlier article “5 Behaviours to Assess in a Leadership Capability Framework and 360”.
In that article, I described research Voice Project conducted through Macquarie University in which we identified 5 core leadership capabilities. 4 of those 5 core capabilities (Voice, Connect, Innovate and Organise, respectively) overlap with the 4 capabilities identified in the HBR article.
Based on Voice Project’s research, the one additional capability we’d add to the 4 identified by Botelho et al is “Enjoy”.
You might note that at Voice Project we’ve used some poetic licence to label these 5 capabilities in a way that fits the acronym VOICE (Voice, Organise, Innovate, Connect, Enjoy). These are the high-level capabilities that we assess using our VOICE 360 survey.
I should highlight that neither Voice Project nor Botelho et al can claim precedence in identifying these capabilities. We’re simply re-discovering and validating a long history of research in psychology regarding the “Big Five” personality characteristics. The language used in psychology is a little more esoteric (extroversion, agreeableness, openness, conscientiousness and emotional stability). Nevertheless, the overlap is strong. HR and management professionals can benefit greatly from understanding these critical categories of human behaviour and their impact upon the workplace.
For more information about Voice Project’s leadership 360 services, you can email me or contact our office on 1800 8 VOICE or firstname.lastname@example.org.