What All Great Leaders Have . . .
What differentiates a "star" executive from his or her peers? This is no idle question because experts like Peter Drucker, Jim Collins, and Jack Welch agree that great talent builds great companies. So, finding and assembling a critical mass of the very best people should be the first priority of every business. But how do you recognize a star? What distinguishes them? Over the years, we've heard vague answers such as, "they are people with sound judgment, business smarts, or business acumen."But what do any of these terms really tell us?
Based on eight years of research on intelligence tests and cognitive skills, Executive Intelligence reveals the set of aptitudes that all brilliant leaders share. Dr. Justin Menkes, a renowned leadership expert, verified these findings through hundreds of interviews with senior executives, including thirty of the most celebrated CEOs in the world. Menkes discovered that just as great mathematicians share an exceptional facility for skills such as computation and deductive reasoning, great managers also have a certain set of cognitive skills that are at the heart of business acumen.
Managerial work can be broken down into three subjects: accomplishing tasks, working with other people, and self-evaluation. Within each of these categories there are identifiable cognitive skills that determine how well an executive performs, such as:
TASKS -- the abilities to properly define a problem, identify the highest-priority issues, and assess both what is known and what needs to be known in order to render a sound decision.
OTHERS -- the abilities to recognize underlying agendas, understand multiple perspectives, and anticipate likely emotional reactions.
SELF -- the abilities to identify one's own mistakes, encourage and seek out constructive criticism, and adjust one's own behavior.
Though these cognitive skills play a profound role in determining a manager's success, they are not what most employers focus on when recruiting or promoting executives. Instead, nearly everyone fixates on personality type, style, or other irrelevant characteristics. This book seeks to refocus attention on what really determines leadership aptitude.
What star leaders do is not magic. Their accomplishments are made possible by specific, identifiable skills that can be measured -- and learned. With a clear understanding of Executive Intelligence, managers can develop a means to improve their own performance as well as identify and cultivate the critical mass of talent their organizations so desperately seek.