10 Proactive Questions Every Board Member Should Be Asking

Boards only see what they’re presented with and can easily become passive recipients of agendas created by powerful CEOs and senior executives. And corporate failure raises questions as to what the board knew and what more it could have done. Board members can play a transformational role in a company by asking questions that create a space for deep reflection and strategic change — not … [ Read more ]

Robert Rosenberg

As CEO, you are the Communicator in Chief. The responsibility for aligning all the various constituencies in the organization behind company strategy falls primarily to the CEO, but it doesn’t stop there. Just when you think you have communicated clearly to all parties, go back over your message again and again. You cannot make your point too clearly or check back enough times to make … [ Read more ]

Four Common Biases in Boardroom Culture

What behavioral psychology can tell you about the human dynamics of your board.

Why Executive Compensation Clawbacks Don’t Work

Clawback provisions are a common feature in executive compensation packages. They are intended to deter executives from boosting their incentive compensation entitlements by taking decisions that could impose legal or reputational costs on the company. But if executives cash in their compensation and then leave the company clawbacks can be almost impossible to enforce. Requiring incentive compensation for executives to be made in restricted stock … [ Read more ]

Robert Chesnut

CEOs have to be particularly careful about setting ambitious targets and using powerful language to motivate employees. Audacious goals can create fear (what happens if I don’t deliver?), and they may be interpreted as giving implicit permission for bad behavior.

Sally Helgesen, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic

Business scholar Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic demonstrates, women’s confidence almost always aligns with their level of competence — or falls below it — which is not usually the case with men, especially at leadership levels. This is true primarily because the number of overconfident men tends to be relatively high. And overconfidence, and the assertiveness it engenders, can be extremely helpful to someone pursuing a senior position, … [ Read more ]

Martin Reeves, Kevin Whitaker

Companies and shareholders often focus on maximizing short-term returns. In contrast, resilience requires a multi-timescale perspective: forgoing a certain amount of efficiency or performance today for the sake of more-sustained performance in the future.

Do CEOs Matter?

Conditions that underpin the power and impact of chief executives vary widely, with remarkable results.

Should You Reward Your CEO with Stock Options?

Stock options are both widely used and widely questioned. Research demonstrates that, contrary to stock option boosters, this form of CEO compensation is not a panacea, and there exist situations where issuing them is damaging. Indeed, now that the accounting profession has established that stock options are a real cost to business, either these expenditures should lead to real returns to shareholders or they should … [ Read more ]

Simplifying Cybersecurity

Have our institutions become too complex to secure?

How board directors can advance racial justice

Three commitments to help companies promote diversity, equity, and inclusion — and resist the status quo.

Sally Helgesen, Marshall Goldsmith

Successful people are often particularly skilled at coming up with reasons for continuing workplace behaviors that in fact no longer serve them. In What Got You Here, Marshall [Goldsmith] showed how their resistance is often rooted in what he calls the success delusion—the belief that because you’ve been successful, not only do you not need to change, you probably should not change. Because if you … [ Read more ]

Carolyn Dewar, Martin Hirt, Scott Keller

Excellent CEOs form a small group of trusted colleagues to provide discreet, unfiltered advice—including the kind that hasn’t been asked for but is important to hear. They also stay in touch with how the work really gets done in the organization by getting out of boardrooms, conference centers, and corporate jets to spend time with rank-and-file employees. This is not only grounding for the CEO, … [ Read more ]

Carolyn Dewar, Martin Hirt, Scott Keller

Exemplary CEOs combine the reality of what they ought to do in the role with who they are as human beings. They deliberately choose how to behave in the role, based on such questions as: What legacy do I want to leave? What do I want others to say about me as a leader? What do I stand for? What won’t I tolerate? CEOs answer … [ Read more ]

Carolyn Dewar, Martin Hirt, Scott Keller

Of the 50 most value-creating roles in any given organization, only 10 percent normally report to the CEO directly. Sixty percent are two levels below, and 10 percent sit farther down. Most surprising of all is that the remaining 10 percent are roles that don’t even exist. Once these roles are identified, the CEO can work with other executives to see that these roles are … [ Read more ]

What Machine Learning Teaches Us about CEO Leadership Style

Tarun Khanna and Prithwiraj Choudhury use machine-learning technology to look for links between a CEO’s communication style and company performance.

Russell Fradin

When I recently joined the board of a public company, I asked them if they’ve looked at how an activist would attack them. If a company hasn’t, that tells me it’s not on their minds. What do you think the activists would be picking on? If management is not open to that alternative viewpoint, it’s not a good thing.

Short-Term Pain for Long-Term Gain: The New CEO’s Dilemma

CEOs who pivot to a longer view of health and performance make the right moves for their companies, though it’s sometimes their successors who reap the rewards.

The Mindsets and Practices of Excellent CEOs

The CEO’s job is as difficult as it is important. Here is a guide to how the best CEOs think and act.