What we want from our CEOs changes with every economic boom and bust.
In the late ’90s it was the “vision thing.” After the tech bubble burst, it was a focus on growth at all costs. In the shadow of the global financial crisis, we wanted leaders who were comfortable with cost cutting and capital allocation.
Today, in the most global, complex and interconnected world we’ve ever operated in, what we want of our CEOs is not as easy to describe. The world is changing too quickly, and we are all realizing that simple leadership models can no longer keep pace.
In the 30 years since I started my career, we have learned a lot about CEOs and executive behaviors. We have gotten much more scientific about how we assess leaders, and our description of leadership behaviors have become richer and more nuanced.